The Worst Places to Park in Britain

Angry driver


It’s pushing on for 6.15, maybe even 6.30 if you’ve had to nip to the shops or the petrol station. As you turn the final corner towards your house with the early evening sunshine piercing your eyes, you’re glad to be reaching the end of another long day. Anticipating the peaceful evening ahead, your heart sinks or perhaps ignites the furious little devil inside you the moment you realise there’s nowhere to park. Can you believe it? Jerry from number 33 has taken your space right outside your house again. Why can’t he park in front of his own home? Hell hath no fury like a residential driver scorned!


You contemplate moving your spouse’s car a fraction of an inch further up the drive, and just maybe you’ll be able to squeeze yours on too. Or you decide you’re too tired to deal with any more hassle and you perform a quick and over-exaggerated parallel park opposite number 33 to bring your disgruntlement to their attention. Either way, the whole experience leaves you with a rather bitter taste in your mouth, taking the enjoyment away from your spaghetti bolognese.


Have we accurately described a common weeknight occurrence of yours? Thought so. Here at Hopewiser we understand the annoyance of not being able to park outside your house after a day in the office. Therefore, we have looked into whether anything can be done to prevent this problem in the future and which areas in the UK are the worst for parking issues.


Recently, residents of Swansea have been angered by returning students and drivers working nearby who park their vehicles outside their homes. In response to the aggrievance, home owners are reported to have been placing obstacles outside such as bricks and bollards to reserve the spaces for themselves. Some would regard the road immediately in front of a house as their divine right, whilst others don’t seem to understand what all the fuss is about.


Car headlight


The police became involved after the dispute escalated into a series of face-to-face rows over where people should and shouldn’t leave their cars. What do you think the outcome was? Well, believe it or not the officers have warned residents that “parking outside your home is a privilege, not a right”. Therefore, you don’t actually own that section of concrete in front of your property, and when it comes to drivers parking there it is pretty much on a first come, first serve basis. Sorry, we know that’s not what you want to hear, but it is what it is. If you think about it logically, every driver pays road tax so really they have the right to park wherever they like. If we’re digging ourselves a hole here then we do apologise, please don’t shoot the messenger.


In this particular instance, the police requested that residents work together to resolve the issue and also stated: “Residents are reminded that they do not have ownership of any part of the road and that using items to save themselves a space is unlawful and unacceptable and would be deemed as obstructing the highway”.


According to another article that explores the same topic, parking in front of somebody else’s property is only illegal if it obstructs the driveway, and the authorities are subsequently within their right to issue a fine. However, should a stranger decide to plonk their car actually on your driveway then the council are practically powerless to stop them because it’s classed as private property. Imagine coming home to find a random car in your driveway!


It isn’t just the residents of suburbia that get a raw deal when it comes to parking. City and town centre dwellers are just as frustrated, if not more, at the fact that they don’t even have parking spaces to argue over. Why is this? Those darn double yellows.


Double yellow lines


Samantha Moore of Brixham, Devon, lives with her family above the sweet shop she owns, and is no stranger when it comes to car parking woes. They pay Torbay district council £50 per year for an off-peak parking permit which allows them to park in a town-centre car park between the hours of 3pm and 10am. Whilst this suits the family during the week when Mrs Moore and her husband are out at work, the weekends are a nightmare and they are left to scour the whole of Brixham just for somewhere to leave their vehicle.


They are often left with no choice but to leave it in residential areas, which at times has resulted in rude notes being left under the windscreen wipers amongst other damage to the car including dog waste being smeared on the windows. Additionally, the parking situation has also impacted upon Samantha’s livelihood due to the council doubling parking charges near her shop from 50p for 30 minutes to £1. The detrimental impact that restricted parking must have on small businesses as a whole is awful.


Research conducted by the Direct Line Group in 2016 revealed just where the worst places to park in Britain are. Birmingham was ranked as the worst place for parking with the average time spent looking for a space being an outstanding 47 minutes! This must produce a lot of angry drivers. Manchester was ranked second with an average time of 45 minutes, and surprisingly London came in 5th at 42 minutes. We thought London would be the worst place of all! Also featuring in the list was Edinburgh, Liverpool, and Newcastle. Given the fact that these cities are major tourist and shopping hubs, it doesn’t really set off alarm bells in our minds when we hear about how long it takes people to find a parking space.


Have you experienced parking problems in any of the areas that we’ve mentioned today? Or perhaps there are other locations that are notorious for residents? Either way we’d love to hear what you have to say on the subject. If you happen to avoid driving for this very reason then our free app, Proximity, is a great way to find your nearest public transport links. That way you won’t be worried about racing home tonight to get the last parking space. Download today from the App Store or Google Play.


Manchester tram