The Best Cities for Parking in the UK

Nabbing a parking spot in the city can feel like a lottery win. With so many cars competing for spaces, you need to be quick to snag a spot, and that’s just a standard space. If you’re looking for parking for electric vehicles, or spaces with disabled access, it’s even harder to find a spot. However, not all cities pose the same challenges for drivers.

Whether you’re looking for EV parking, or you need to find free parking, here we reveal the best cities for parking in the UK.

What Cities Have the Most Parking Spaces in the UK?

According to a study by Moneybarn, Manchester has the most parking spaces in the UK, with a whopping 6,300 spots available as of 2022. Cambridge and Colchester aren’t far behind, boasting 1,491 and 2,653 parking spaces respectively.

However, not all cities are as generous with their parking. Birmingham, Sheffield, Portsmouth, and Glasgow, find themselves at the other end of the spectrum. They offer the fewest number of parking spaces, making it more challenging for both locals and visitors. This, combined with the fact pay and display machines are starting to disappear, make the use of parking apps essential.

Which City Has the Most EV Parking Bays?

Manchester leads the pack in the march towards an electric future, with an impressive average of 24.2 EV charging bays available across its top five busiest car parks. Nottingham trails closely behind as the second-best city for EV bays. The city is decked out with an average of seven EV bays across its most frequented car parks, proving it's ready to cater to the growing trend of electric vehicles. In contrast, other cities only average around three electric bays.

Which City Has the Most Free Parking in the UK?

Huddersfield wins the award for the best city for free parking, boasting 11 streets where you can park without spending a penny. What’s even better is many are conveniently located within strolling distance to the city centre. Many of these free parking zones are near the train station too, making them ideal for commuters.

Warwick is close behind Huddersfield, featuring 10 streets with free parking facilities. Southampton and Torquay also provide plenty of free parking, with nine streets available.

As you might expect, London bags the title for the most expensive city for parking in the UK. Prepare to fork out a whopping average of £53.80 (at the time of writing), for a meagre eight-hour stay.

However, hope isn't lost for thrifty drivers looking to slash their parking costs. While it is rare, there is some free parking London.

The charming borough of Greenwich extends a warm welcome, hosting six streets with free parking. From these strategic spots, you're a mere 30-minute public transport ride away from the heart of the city.

Richmond also has six streets offering free parking. Although a bit farther out, a 45-minute journey will transport you straight to the pulsating centre of the capital. With free parking spots like these, navigating London just got a little less daunting!

Which City Has the Most Disabled Parking Spaces?

Finding a standard parking space can be difficult enough, but disabled spots are even more challenging to locate. That is of course, unless you’re driving in Liverpool. The city boasts an impressive average of 59 parking spaces for disabled users. Best of all, the city council offers a great deal for Blue Badge holders. They can park in these designated spaces, and in several other spots around the city, without paying a penny, all day long.

Despite its status as the UK's bustling capital, London sadly comes up short in terms of providing enough parking options for disabled drivers. It's quite surprising to find that London's most popular car parks only offer an average of 3 dedicated disabled parking spaces.

The city also has some unique rules. For example, the Blue Badge scheme doesn't fully extend here, meaning you can't park in suspended bays or on single and double yellow lines. However, there's a silver lining for those who receive the highest level of disability living allowance. They might qualify for a 'Red Badge,' a special scheme exclusive to London. Red Badge holders can enjoy extra parking facilities, adding a much-needed layer of convenience to city travel.

What Are Some of the Best Cities for Parking in the UK?

As of July 2023, some of the best cities for parking in the UK are:

  • Middlesborough
  • Nottingham
  • Liverpool
  • Huddersfield
  • Manchester

Middlesbrough and Nottingham are the top picks for parking in the UK. Middlesborough is the cheapest city to park in, costing just £1.05 an hour at the time of writing. Car parks in the city are also safer here, with just 38 crimes on average in each car park over the last three months. They've also got plenty of spaces for electric cars, and a good number of disabled spots too.

Nottingham, the city famous for its ties to Robin Hood, is also doing great when it comes to parking. With an impressive average of 44 disabled spots per car park and about 7 spaces for electric vehicles, it's easy to see why Nottingham's giving Middlesbrough a run for its money in the parking game.

On the flip side, Birmingham is one of the worst cities for parking. It has one of the highest crime rates, with the New Street Station car park being worst hit with 180 vehicle crimes in a three-month period, according to the MoneyBarn study. Bristol ranks as the second worse city, averaging 105 vehicle crimes. If you plan on parking in these cities, we recommend taking precautions to keep your car safe!

The Road to Effortless Parking: It Starts with Carmoola

When it comes to navigating UK parking, some cities clearly steer ahead of the pack. The unexpected affordability and accessibility in Middlesbrough, coupled with Nottingham's commitment to inclusive parking, highlights the range of options available. However, it isn’t just the number of spaces available that can make parking tricky. The type of car you drive can also impact your experience.

Newer models come equipped with parking sensors, access to parking apps, and some even park the car for you. With car finance from Carmoola, you can invest in a new, shiny set of wheels with all the features you need. With our flexible plans and expert advice, we're here to help you drive away in the car of your dreams - check out how it works. Or simply download our car finance app now and follow the simple steps to receive the funding you need.