Can we please get down on bended knee and beg you not to bring your car to London. Please. It’s gruesome enough for Londoners who have to wrestle with traffic, one way streets, speed cameras, roadworks, the congestion charge, cyclists and road rage. If you visit London you are much better off using the massive transport infrastructure rather than driving in London.
Drive on the left
However, if you absolutely insist on driving in London, be aware of some basics. Firstly, drive on the left. Can we say that again? Drive on the LEFT. Contrary to myth and mirthful jollity, Britain is not one of only two or three countries that refuse to be sensible and drive on the right; up to a quarter of the world’s drivers tootle merrily along on the left hand side. However, for anyone unused to this quaint tradition your first few hours can be a little frightening.
Parking on the street
Finding and paying for parking in central London is tricky and expensive. Even if you are lucky enough to stumble across an available parking space, you will need to pay attention to the many parking restrictions and zones. The best option is to research parking spaces or car parks near to your destination before you visit London – see links below for more information about this and parking in London in general.
Street signs explain the various parking zones. Some streets have a pay and display scheme, where you will need to buy a ticket and display it on the wind shield. Other boroughs offer phone parking, where you can pay for the parking via your mobile phone. You will usually need to create an account for this service, though.
You can sometimes park for free on single-yellow-lines after 18.30 on weekdays, and the entire day if you visit London on weekends but you will need to check each individual road sign to make sure this is the case.
London parking attendants are strict and vigilant and fines are expensive. In some cases your car may be clamped and worst case scenario the car will be removed from the street – not ideal when you visit London.
Parking in large car parks
If, against all advice, you are absolutely committed to driving in London, covered parking garages are fairly widespread and it is usually possible to find one close to the many convenient homes that we offer in central London.
There are numerous parking garages throughout the capital. Rates vary significantly, depending on the neighbourhood. To find a local garage google your area or the street you will be staying on to find the nearest facility. Two well known providers are NCP and Q-Park. You may also search on an aggregator such as Parkopedia.
Parking at private homes
The congestion charge
London has a congestion charge which goes into force from Monday to Friday from 7.00am to 6.00 p.m and most of central London falls under this zone. You have to pay £10 when driving in London between these times, and on the same day of entering the zone. You will be fined if you do not pay. Paying the charge is possible in convenience stores, at petrol stations or online.
Please note that The London Agent is not endorsing any of the above mentioned private companies; we mention them only as examples of what is available.