Parking in London is not easy, even for local residents. It is expensive, especially in central London. On top of parking fees, you may need to pay:
- the Congestion Charge; a fee to drive in central London during weekdays
- and/or the ULEZ charge (for older vehicles) applicable daily
Few hotels or AirB&B’s in central London (zone 1) have parking. Even if you stay outside the centre, don’t assume you’ll be able to park for free.
If you need parking, always check your accommodation has a place to park before booking.
If you can travel to London without your car then do. It will save a lot of problems. If you are travelling to London for the day, park in outer London and continue your journey by tube into central London.
On-street parking in London
Many streets in London are Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ). These are areas reserved for residents who pay an annual fee to park in front of their own homes. Other streets have double yellow lines where you can’t park at all at any time.
Non-residents/visitors can park in Controlled Parking Zones at certain times of the day.
The timings vary, but will rarely be more than 4 hours at a time during the day Monday to Friday (if at all).
There are no restrictions in the evening, usually between 6.30pm and 8.30am.
On Saturday some areas allow free parking. In other areas it’s free after 1.30pm or 6.30pm.
You can park for free all day Sunday. This is a general guide — check the CPZ signs by the side of the road before you park.
Some residential streets in outer London (zones 4-6) have no parking restrictions. They will usually be at least a 5-15 minute walk from a tube or train station though.
How to pay for on-street parking in London
Some parking areas are available to non-residents.
Most council’s in London only accept payments for parking online or via apps. Either:
Use Ringgo in central London. For Kensington & Chelsea and Lambeth use PayByPhone.
You might not see a parking meter, but there will be signs by the road telling you who to book through.
Traffic wardens & parking fines
Pay very close attention to the signs indicating when you’re allowed to park. If you’re late returning to your car there could be an £80–£120 fine. Illegal parking means you risk having your car towed away AND a £250 fee to retrieve it.
Call the TRACE service on 0207 747 7474 if your car is missing.
Tube station car parks
These car parks can be cheaper than private car parks. And as you’re right next to a tube station, it is easy to continue your journey into central London. You’ll also avoid paying the Congestion and ULEZ Charge.
How to find a tube station car park
NCP manage the tube station car parks on behalf of Transport for London.
You can search their website for car parks in a particular area.
Most tube station car parks cost from £7 per day Monday–Friday, £3 on Saturday/Sunday. Unfortunately, only some allow pre booking.
Best tube stations to park for central London
The best station depends on which direction you’re driving from. The stations listed below are all the largest in the general area. See the NCP website for all London tube station car parks.
Best tube station car parks from the M1
Stanmore (zone 5)
Best tube station car park from the M40
North Ealing (zone 3)
Best tube station car parks from the M4/A4
Osterley (zone 4)
Hounslow West (zone 5)
Richmond (zone 4) Pre booking available
Best tube station car park from the A12 or M11
Newbury Park (zone 4)
Best tube station car park from the A2/A20
North Greenwich station (zone 2/3).
Even if you are not planning on shopping in one of the two London Westfields, they’re a convenient place to park.
They are secure, undercover and close to a tube station. Parking and payment is automated. Register online with your car registration number and credit/debit card. The barriers will then open automatically and payment is deducted from your card.
The most convenient driving from the M40, M3 or M1.
Tube station: Shepherd’s Bush (central line)
M11/A12 North East (Westfield Stratford)
Tube station: Stratford (Elizabeth line, central line & DLR)
Private & council car parks
Council run car parks
The car parks owned and managed by the City of London Corporation are generally cheaper than private car parks.
Baynard House car park, close to Blackfriars tube station, is £4.20 Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.
Private car parks
NCP, the UK’s biggest car park operator, occasionally has parking deals at central London car parks if you pre-book.
The car parks are not cheap, but very convenient for shopping, sightseeing or visiting the theatre.
To find other private car parks in London, try Just Park.
Park in someone’s drive
A cheaper alternative to private car parks is to park in someone’s drive or garage.
JustPark lets homeowners advertise their driveways.
It can be useful for parking outside central London, close to a football stadium, concert venue or near Heathrow airport.
Last updated: 23 June 2022