Which UK towns and cities have the best parking provision?
In the UK, cars are an essential part of daily life. Whether that’s commuting to work, doing the weekly shop, or picking the kids up from school. Yet, finding a parking space can be challenging.
For those looking to buy a new car, whether outright or through car finance, convenient parking is a crucial consideration.
To address this, Moneybarn explored NCP parking data to uncover which major towns and cities excel or struggle with parking accessibility. They’ve also analysed average parking costs to reveal the most budget-friendly parking destinations.
The UK towns and cities with the most available parking
45.75 parking spaces per 1,000 cars
Cambridge has the most parking spaces (45.75) per 1,000 cars of any major town or city in the country, moving up from the runner-up to the city with the most parking since our last study. Over 400 extra NCP spaces are available in Cambridge this year, compared to last year, meaning visitors should have plenty of parking options.
44.84 parking spaces per 1,000 cars
Swapping places with Cambridge is the north-western city of Manchester; although they are no longer at the top, there are more spaces per 1,000 cars this year in Manchester than last year. There are over 1,000 more spaces since last year, with an average of 283 spaces per car park.
36.28 parking spaces per 1,000 cars
Glasgow has the third most parking spaces per 1,000 cars. The biggest city in Scotland has 17 NCP car parks, with almost as many total spaces between them as in Manchester (where there are ten more car parks). However, Glasgow has nearly 40,000 more cars than Manchester, meaning over eight fewer spaces per 1,000 cars.
The UK towns and cities where it’s most difficult to find parking
0.45 parking spaces per 1,000 cars
Like last year, Chester has the fewest parking spaces per 1,000 cars, meaning visitors to the historic city could struggle for parking spaces. The city has just 86 total NCP car parking spaces, compared to almost 200,000 licensed cars.
1.15 parking spaces per 1,000 cars
Exeter stays in the same position in the rankings and still has just 1.15 parking spaces per 1,000 licensed cars. It is one of the largest cities in Southwest England but has just one NCP car park with 74 spaces.
1.69 parking spaces per 1,000 cars
London has the third-fewest NCP car parking spaces per 100,000 cars in the country. The city has 4399 parking spaces for over 2.6 million licensed cars, equating to just over 1.6 spaces per 1,000 cars.
The cheapest UK towns and cities to park your car
Average daily parking cost of £3.85
Bolton is the cheapest town in which to park for a day. The average cost is £3.85 between two NCP car parks in the city centre, making it reasonably priced for those travelling into the largest town in England.
Average daily parking cost of £5.20
The Midlands city of Wolverhampton has the second cheapest car parking, with an average daily cost of just £5.20, which is over £20 more affordable than nearby Birmingham.
Average daily parking cost of £5.95
Prices in Derby are £0.75 more expensive than Wolverhampton on average, but at under £6, they are the third cheapest of any major town or city in the country.
The most expensive UK towns and cities to park your car in
Average daily parking cost of £36.26
At the other end of the spectrum is the capital city, where the average daily parking cost in an NCP car park is £26.26, an average taken from 15 car parks across the city.
Average daily parking cost of £32.95
The south coast city of Brighton is a hotspot for tourists wanting to visit the beach and enjoy the other seaside attractions. Parking is comparatively quite expensive in Brighton as the average cost is almost £33 for the day.
Average daily parking cost of £29.95
Another capital city completes the top three most expensive cities to park in. Parking in Edinburgh will cost you just under £30 on average across its two NCP car parks.
Moneybarn wanted to find out which UK towns and cities had the best parking provision and which offered the cheapest parking rates. To do this, they used National Car Parks (NCP) data to reveal which major towns and cities have the most NCP car parking spaces and the average cost for a working day (08:30-17:30 on a Monday). All NCP data is correct as of 17 October 2023.
Moneybarn compared this with data we gathered in August 2022, which was gathered with the same methodology.
To calculate the average price, they calculated the mean average from the starting parking price at every NCP car park in the town or city. 11 cities were lacking data and were removed from this section.
They also used government data (VEH0105) from the Department of Transport and the DVLA, revealing the number of registered cars in each area and calculating the car parking spaces per 1,000 cars. Please note, the area covered by this data is the local authority area in which the city is located, and as a result there may be more vehicles than there are in the actual city limits.