Most Expensive Cities to Park in the UK

One thing that most of us begrudge paying for are hefty car parking charges, especially in the current climate where the cost of living is constantly on the rise.

Free Parking Spots conducted a study and compared how much it costs to park in council run car parks across UK cities, and in some circumstances, were staggered by just how much the public are expected to pay to visit local shops or commute to work.

As car park prices fluctuate depending on their location (some car parks are closer to the amenities so you end up paying a premium), these prices are based on the average cost to park for a 5 hour period, when comparing all council owned car parks within each city.

Bristol has claimed top spot as the most expensive city in the UK to park, with an average cost of £18 for a 5 hour stay using a council car park, followed closely by Brighton (£16.78) and then Oxford (£16.16).

According to Essential Living, the cities that are the most expensive to live, seem to correlate well with the cost to park in council run car parks, with the exception of Milton Keynes.

It’s worth pointing out that both Edinburgh and Westminster are actually the most expensive cities in the UK to park in, but both councils only offer on-street parking and don’t have any council owned car parks, so we haven’t included them in this study (we will do a study on on-street parking in the future).

When it comes to the cheapest cities to park in, Ely in Cambridgeshire comes out top as they offer free parking across all their council run car parks at all times of the day. Ripon in North Yorkshire sits in 2nd place with an average cost of just £2.33 for 5 hours of parking.

Cities Ranked (expensive to cheapest)

These prices are based on a 5 hour stay in a council run car park. Data was taken from each council website in March 2023.

Bristol – £18.00

Brighton – £16.78

Oxford – £16.16

Cambridge – £13.15

York – £13.06

Winchester – £12.76

Manchester – £11.76

Canterbury – £11.50

Bath – £10.20

Nottingham – £9.34

Colchester – £9.30

Norwich – £8.57

Truro – £8.56

Chelmsford – £8.13

Exeter – £7.80

Birmingham – £7.78

Lincoln – £7.63

Portsmouth – £7.27

Liverpool – £7.09

Leicester – £7.00

Coventry – £6.80

Salisbury – £6.77

Hereford – £6.75

Sheffield – £6.66

Lancaster – £6.45

Southend on Sea – £6.33

Milton Keynes – £6.22

Durham – £6.11

St Albans – £6.05

Gloucester – £6.00

Southampton – £5.98

Peterborough – £5.95

Leeds – £5.86

Plymouth – £5.75

Sunderland – £5.50

Chester – £5.42

Worcester – £5.42

Wakefield – £5.12

Stoke on Trent – £5.10

Preston – £4.85

Hull – £4.70

Chichester – £4.60

Wells – £4.50

Derby – £4.16

Wolverhampton – £4.05

Bradford – £3.92

Lichfield – £3.86

Carlisle – £3.77

Doncaster – £3.76

Salford – £3.62

Newcastle Upon Tyne – £3.58

Ripon – £2.33

Ely – Free