If you’re travelling into London, the last thing you want to do is spend even more money on your visit. Parking in London can be super expensive, especially in central London. But, good news! We’ve rounded up the best spots for free parking in London, so that you don’t need to pay over the odds for parking in the city.
The best places for free parking are general on-street parking areas. However these can be tricky to navigate as they are usually Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) for residents in the area. Luckily, we’ve got all the tips here in this blog post so that you can navigate these zones using apps and websites so that you don’t have to get your wallet out.
On Street Parking
Let’s dive right into the free on street parking in London. There are some streets with no parking restrictions at all (you can find these using the Find Free Parking website). But these restriction-free streets are usually out of the centre of London, and might be quite far from your final destination.
That said, you might wish to park in an area on the outskirts of London, and then travel into the city using The Tube or the train- both of which operate a very frequent service in most areas of London. Honestly? This is what most Londoners will do.
And if you’re willing to pay a small amount on your parking? We’ve got a guide to cheap parking in London too which covers some off-street parking options.
Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ)
You can get on-street parking on streets in central London, but these are often designated ‘Controlled Parking Zones’ a.k.a CPZs. Residents will pay an annual fee for a parking permit that allows them to park their own cars close to their home.
The good news is, most of these CPZs have time restrictions. There are certain times of the day, and times of the week where non-residents who do not hold a permit are allowed to park there for free.
Often, you’ll find that you can park in CPZs on the weekend, or during the working day without infringing on the rules of the Controlled Parking Zone.
Use the appyway app
To find free on-street parking in London close to your destination, use the appyway app. You can check out their kerbside maps to plan your journey.
The best thing that you can do to score a free parking space in London is to plan your journey ahead of time. If you turn up in London without doing your research beforehand, you’ll likely get overwhelmed with options and end up paying for expensive off-street parking.
Park at the supermarket
Granted, there aren’t lots of large supermarkets in central London, but go further out of Zone 1, and you’ll definitely find some. Many big supermarket chains offer parking for up to 2 hours (but do make sure you don’t go over this time limit!).
Some stores will have a policy that you need to buy something from the supermarket to park there, so just pop in at the start of your journey to pick up a bottle of water or a similar small purchase if needed.
No line spaces
If a parking space has no yellow lines, it usually means that you can park there. Just make sure that the lines haven’t faded over time!
If you see a no line space, check around the parking spot to see if you can see any parking signs, parking meter, or any other sign that says you should pay to park, or require a permit to park there. Don’t see anything? You’re free to park there!
Free EV parking
Electric cars and electric vehicles are encouraged in London. In fact, you don’t pay ULEZ charges if you are driving an electric vehicle, which makes them an attractive choice for Londoners.
But it doesn’t stop there. You can also find free parking for electric cars in certain London boroughs and neighbourhoods. Boroughs such as Westminster, Richmond Upon Thames, Hammersmith & Fulham and others all offer some free parking for electric cars.
You may also find that you can get a free parking permit if you are a resident in a London borough that has a generous electric vehicle parking policy. Check with your local council to find out if it’s something that they offer.
Where can I park for free in London?
You can park for free using on-street free parking spaces, and in Controlled Parking Zones during specified hours in which you do not need a permit.
Is London parking free on weekends?
Some parking in London is free at the weekend and on bank holidays, but not everywhere. Always make sure that you check any signage around your parking space to make sure that you are not infringing on parking zone rules, or car park fees.
The last thing you want to do is get a parking ticket when trying to avoid paying for parking in London! It’s an expensive mistake.
Where can I park and ride into London?
You can park and ride in several locations throughout London- this is a popular choice among commuters that travel into central London for work.
Park and ride is usually a paid parking option, and the NCP manage the tube station car parks on behalf of TFL (Transport For London). Most NCP tube station car parks charge around £4–7 per day Mon–Fri, £2–£3 Sat and £1–2 Sun.
You’ll also avoid paying congestion charges at many of these park and ride car parks, and they are usually secure and fitted with CCTV which can be a safer option than free on-street parking options.
Is there an app that shows free parking in London?
Yes! There are several apps and websites that can help you to find free parking in London. These include appyway – you can use their kerbside maps to help you plan your journey and find free parking spaces.
You can also try using the Find Free Parking website which details (you guessed it!) free parking in London which you can track ahead of your journey to the city.