3 October 2023

London tops the list… for the most expensive city in the UK to park!

Parking in London

It has felt like donkey’s years since the pandemic, and yet we are only three years on from the pandemic which gripped us and everyone else around the world. As we slowly emerge into this new normal, we at SketchLabs have even noticed a shift in how we work, what we want from our workplace and even the embracing of hybrid solutions

Not at all bad things when you consider our latest research…  

That’s right, London is top of the list again but this time, for something a little different. Parking costs. 

As employees head back to the office, many will be taking the car to work, but just how much does it cost in the nation’s capital? Let’s investigate further. 

The Most Expensive UK Cities to Park

It may be no surprise to see just how much it costs to park in the capital but the amount between London and the rest of the UK as well as the cheaper spots not only raises eyebrows but will make any motorist feel like they would have to give up the finest selections in supermarket own produce! 

So where do the cities rank and just how much are people expected to pay on average? Here are the results. 

London: Unsurprisingly, the capital city takes the top spot as the most expensive place to park in the UK. The study reveals that the average cost of parking for a full-time employee in London is a staggering £5,102 per year. On an hourly scale, Londoners pay an average of £6.05 for parking.

Birmingham: Birmingham follows closely behind as the second most expensive city for parking, with an average annual cost of £2,746 for full-time employees. However, the cost per hour in Birmingham is significantly lower at £3.25, which is half the cost of London.

Manchester: Manchester ranks third, with an average yearly parking cost of £2,532. The hourly rate for parking in this bustling city is £3.00.

Portsmouth: Portsmouth claims the fourth spot, with an average parking cost of £2,421 per year for full-time workers. The cost per hour stands at £2.90.

Leeds: Leeds also shares the fourth position with Portsmouth, boasting an average annual parking cost of £2,421. The hourly rate is identical to Portsmouth, at £2.90.

The Least Expensive UK Cities to Park

On the other end of the spectrum, Coventry and Bradford emerge as the most affordable cities for parking in the UK.

Naturally, the further we move away from the nation’s capital we can see a big difference in pricing. Take Liverpool for example which ranked 4th in our research. The average cost is £3.50 cheaper than the average for London. 

Coventry: Coventry takes the top position for the least expensive city for parking, with an annual cost of £2,191 for full-time employees. On an hourly basis, the parking rate in Coventry is £2.60.

Bradford: Bradford shares the same affordable parking rates as Coventry, with an annual cost of £2,191 for full-time workers. The hourly parking fee is also £2.60.

Sheffield: Sheffield follows closely behind, with an average yearly parking cost of £2,313. The hourly rate for parking in this city is £2.70.

Liverpool: Liverpool ranks fourth among the least expensive cities for parking, with an annual parking cost of £2,216 for full-time employees. The hourly parking rate is £2.65.

Southampton: Southampton rounds off the list with an annual parking cost of £2,402. The hourly parking fee in this city is £2.85.

The full list of parking costs can be found below;

Highest to lowest
RankCityAverage parking costs (per hour)Average cost of parking for a full-time employee

The Impact of High Parking Costs

The study also highlights the significant impact of high parking costs, especially in cities like London and Birmingham. In London, the cost of parking for a full-time employee is nearly equivalent to the average annual household food bill, with workers spending £5,102 per year on parking compared to £5,343 on food.

With ULEZ and other factors in play, making London an attractive location for business investment becomes more complicated. A wider issue needs to be addressed for the future of business investment, motorists and workers. 

Addressing the Issue

Mark Knops, our CEO says that this, “emphasizes the need for government and business collaboration to alleviate the burden of high parking costs on workers”. He suggests “introducing schemes to encourage alternative modes of commuting such as walking, cycling, or public transport. Additionally, businesses can play a role by offering financial assistance for parking or promoting carpooling and vanpooling as alternatives.”

As millions of workers in the UK transition back to the office, the cost of parking has become a significant concern. Our study sheds light on the most and least expensive cities to park, with London and Birmingham topping the list as the most expensive. These findings underscore the need for innovative solutions to make commuting to work more affordable and sustainable for employees across the country.