Finding adequate parking for your rental car in the UK can be a chore, depending on where you're attempting to find parking. Attempting to park on the street in a large urban center can be a logistical nightmare, as meters may not be accurately marked with maximum parking time or the appropriate amount of payment required to park for a certain amount of time. Additionally, one way street grids, strange road markings, high parking prices, and urban congestion zones make parking in the many cities and towns of the UK tricky at best.
For the above reasons and the general lack of street parking in the United Kingdom, you'll often be searching for car parks and garages as an alternative to parking on the street, where convenient, free, and safe parking is more-or-less non-existent. While reasearching trends in seasonal crowds for big cities like London may help you judge the best time to travel to England, it is safe to assume that parking will be relatively difficult in downtown areas throughout the UK at any given time.
If you do manage to find parking on the street, you're subject to a wide variety of strict parking regulations in the United Kingdom. If you overstay your allotted maximum parking time, you'll likely return to your car to find a ticket, a clamp, or worse, that your vehicle has been towed and impounded, depending on the nature of your infraction. If you parked in a no-parking zone, handicap, or loading zone (see our guide to road signs in the UK for more info), it's likely your rental car will be either towed or clamped. For these reasons, we recommend utilizing the many parking garages and lots found throughout the UK, and utilizing "park and ride" programs in urban areas, when appropriate.
Parking fines and tickets are no fun at home, but they tend to be even more troublesome while driving abroad, especially when driving a rental in London or other large city. If you neglect to pay parking fees, you'll likely receive a ticket that you'll then have to pay either by check, credit/debit card, or cash at a police or parking bureau office. If you do receive a parking ticket or any other type of infraction, it's recommended you immediately contact your rental company and arrange a payment plan if you're not planning on paying the fine up front.
Parking in the UK can be tricky at times, especially in urban areas. The secret to finding parking in the UK is understanding the local road signs and the street plan, so we recommend reviewing our driving tips for the UK section of this travel guide, as well as utilizing other third-party resources such as Parkopedia to find convenient parking spots while you're touring the UK.