Parking Rules in the UK 2024

It can be hard to remember where you can and can't park. These are the updated parking laws UK residents should be aware of and stick to at all times.
So you’ve mastered the art of parallel parking, but how savvy are you when it comes to the parking rules in the UK? If you’ve ever had the misfortune of thinking you could get away with leaving your car on double yellows while you pop into the Post Office — only to be slapped with a penalty charge notice on your windscreen a few minutes later — we feel your pain. 

To avoid this happening to you again, we’ve put together this handy Parking Guide to make the complicated parking laws in the UK easy to understand. That way, you’ll know where you can and can’t park wherever you are in the country.

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Or you could avoid the studying and just rent out someone’s parking space – it’s cheap and easy to do. Just use Stashbee to search thousands of parking spaces all around the country. But more on this later!

Do You Know These Common Parking Rules in the UK?

Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this you probably need a refresher! Whether you are a newly qualified driver or you can’t remember the last time you even saw a copy of the Highway Code, we’re here to help. By reading the following guide, you won’t have to book time with a driving instructor just to get up to scratch and save yourself a fine – or worse.



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Residential Street Parking Laws in the UK 2024

There are so many signs and lines to contend with on the road and some lesser-known rules that can be hard to wrap your head around. Our goal today is to provide you with a one-way ticket to not getting a ticket.

On the topic of weird laws, did you know that it’s illegal to ask a stranger for money for a parking meter? It’s also against the law to sleep in your car when you’re tipsy! Who woulda thought it! Well now you know.

Understanding Single Yellow Line Parking Rules and Other Road Markings

Yellow lines, red lines, white lines… what does it all MEAN? Here are the rules when it comes to these parking markings:

  • Double yellow lines: no waiting, loading, or unloading at any time. Simple as that.
  • Single yellow lines: no stopping there between certain hours, so keep an eye out for adjacent signage with specific instructions. If you can’t see any signage, it’s best to follow the same rules as you would for a double yellow line and avoid parking on yellow lines.
  • Red lines: indicate a ‘red route’, which means that stopping to park, load, or even let someone hop out of the passenger seat, is strictly prohibited. These lines are often found where stopping would be dangerous - not usually a concern in residential areas but you never know. Exceptions apply to licenced taxi drivers and Blue Badge holders.
  • Solid white lines: (usually found along the edges of country lanes without pavement) just point out the boundaries of the road. They also indicate that parking is not permitted. However, the authorities do like to keep you on your toes, so this isn’t always the case. If you see a solid white line along the side of the pavement in a residential area, you actually can park there, as long as there is no other signage that says otherwise.
  • Yellow zig zags: are often found outside schools, hospitals, and emergency services stations. They highlight where stopping or waiting is strictly prohibited.
  • Cycle lanes: are becoming more and more common across the UK. The Highway Code notes that motorists must not drive or park in these areas.  


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Avoiding Penalties for Parking Near a Kerb

For drivers in the UK, parking near a curb at some point is unavoidable. Keep these rules in mind to avoid fines, or worse:

  • Make sure you always hug the kerb like you would your dear old Nan.
  • If you leave your vehicle parked over 50cm away from the kerb, you could face an on-the-spot fine. Avoid that wide berth, baby.
  • If you see a dropped kerb, steer clear (pun intended). These gaps in the pavement gives vehicles access to a driveway. They also allow emergency services to access private properties.

Parking Near Junctions, Corners, or Hills

So you’ve spotted a perfect car-sized gap along the kerb, with no road markings to indicate that you shouldn’t park there. But have you considered your visibility to other road users? For safety reasons, it’s illegal to park within 10m of a junction, unless road markings indicate otherwise.

Can You Park on a Bend?

No. You also shouldn’t park near the brow of a hill or a humpback bridge, as oncoming traffic may not see your parked car until it’s too late. The same goes for parking near a bend in the road, capisce? Rule of thumb: if it’s dangerous, it’s probably illegal.

police academy parking GIF

Parking on a Pavement Law in the UK

Parking on a pavement is never a good idea, whether fully or just partially. Though common on many narrow roads in the UK, it will leave you vulnerable to a pavement parking fine of £100 from the local council.

Scotland has implemented a ban on pavement parking and dropped kerbs, which came into effect in December 2023. And don’t even get us started on the penalties for parking on the pavement in London. It’s against the law in the capital. 

Is it Legal to Park Outside Someone’s House?

Short answer: yes. Unless the vehicle is blocking a driveway or a wheel is over a dropped kerb. Unless parking controls exist, homeowners can’t shotgun parking outside their homes.

The main exceptions to this are: 

1) The homeowner has a parking permit
2) It’s a private road.

Can You Park on a Private Road?

This is considered a form of trespassing and counts as nuisance parking. And you don’t want to be a nuisance, do you? It can actually lead to whoever owns the road suing for financial compensation – sounds stressful.

Additional Parking Laws to Consider

Another consideration, when you’re parking, is to avoid parking bays designated for specific road users - i.e. accessible bays for Blue Badge holders, taxi bays, electric car bays, motorcyclist parking spots, and so forth. You should also make sure to check for signs that announce residential bay parking restrictions in controlled parking zones.

Read on to get a handle on these and to earn the (totally fictitious, but still AWESOME) Stashbee Parking Pro seal of approval.

Blue Badge Parking Rules

If you are a Blue Badge driver, you can park in single and double yellow lines at all times, as long as there are no other signs telling you otherwise. In London, there are no loading restrictions on the single and double red lines either.

If you’re not a Blue Badge driver, here’s what you need to know: Blue Badges are assigned to people with disabilities (or health conditions) to help them park as close as possible to their destination.

Your best bet when it comes to respecting blue-badge drivers is to avoid parking too close to them. Giving them space will allow them to manoeuvre in and out of their parking bay. You should definitely - repeat, definitely - not park in spaces reserved for Blue Badge drivers if you aren’t a Blue Badge driver, as this is an easy way to land in hot water and make you wholly unpopular with the general public and with Stashbee!

Parking Laws for Electric Cars

Speaking of the capital city, the recent ULEZ expansion — which came into effect on 25 October 2021 — is worth keeping in mind for parking and general driving. Aside from on Christmas day (thanks, Santa!), petrol cars, motorbikes, vans, minibuses (up to 5 tonnes) and specialist vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes) that exceed the legal limits for pollution are now subject to a daily fee for driving in the ultra low emission zone. Gone electric? Nice one! Since they are zero-emission, these vehicles are ULEZ fee exempt!

Electric car drivers should note that they will mostly still be subject to the same parking laws as petrol drivers. Different boroughs do have different rules for parking electric cars, with some even giving discounted fees as an incentive (and a thank you) for contributing to their sustainability goals. Some London boroughs are going the extra mile already and offering free parking for electric vehicles.

The number of parking spaces specifically reserved for electric vehicles is increasing all over the country. These typically have an adjacent sign saying ‘Electric Vehicles Only’ or a “car and plug”-type icon on them. There is still no general consensus around parking fees related to charging times. There is, however, consensus around fines applying for non-electric vehicle owners parking reserved spaces for electric ones. So just don’t.



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Parking at Night

There are quite a few different rules related to parking at night, but the bottom line is simple - be careful! The laws include some of the standard ones we’ve covered already, alongside a few others:

  • When parking at night, never leave your car facing against the direct flow of traffic at night, unless it is a formally recognised parking space.
  • Remember that all cars must have their parking lights illuminated when left on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or more. There is a slight exception to this for vehicles lighter than 2500kg, carriages, motorcycles or pedal cycles, all of which may be parked without lights if they are at least 10 meters away from any junction, close to the kerb and facing in the direction of traffic flow. Other vehicles and trailers should not be left on the road at night without lights, ever.
  • When it’s dark and foggy, your best bet is to avoid driving altogether. When you simply can’t, always have your parking lights or sidelights on.
  • Seen a hill that tickles your fancy for parking? By law, you should always stop close to a kerb, with your handbrake firmly applied, and in a forward gear to avoid rolling backwards.


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Controlled Parking Zones

The BPA (British Parking Association) has done their work and outlined four types of parking zones in the UK. We won’t go through all of them here, but you should at least be very familiar with one type, namely Controlled Parking Zones. CPZ’s — heavily clad with signage of course — are essentially groups of roads where waiting, loading and unloading is restricted for some, or all of the time.

A single yellow line in a CPZ means absolutely no waiting during the time of operation, which will be detailed on one of the signs. Double yellow lines in CPZ zones don’t allow waiting at any time, even if there are no signs telling you so.

The same goes for school entrances within these zones. Drop your kids off on a double yellow line at your own peril! Stick to the bays specifically designated for this, unless your child is in that “I don’t want to be seen with my parents” phase, in which case you should always let them out of the car a few blocks away from their destination.

The Penalties for Illegal Parking

A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) are usually between £50-£70, depending on how serious the offence.

For example, parking on a double yellow line is a more serious offence than overstaying your welcome at a pay and display ticket has expired. And so it incurs a smaller fine.

Usually if you pay your parking fines within 14 days of receiving them within receiving them, you get 50% off – looks like Christmas came early.

If you go down the (unadvisable) route of ignoring PCNs, you’ll get charged more and more. If the scarier and scarier letters don’t convince you to pay up, you risk having your vehicle clamped and towed away. 

If you believe you were wrongfully charged, it’s advised to pay the fine and then dispute it. This’ll ensure you avoid potential late fees.

Where to Park: The Cheapest Parking in the UK

With all the UK parking laws we’ve explained in this guide, you’re hopefully going to avoid parking fines, wheel clamping and towings.

For extra peace of mind, you could just turn to a Stashbee parking bay rental instead. We offer a cheap way to leave your car in a guaranteed spot, where you won’t have to worry about getting a fine. Perfect whether you’re just heading off to work, running an errand, or you’re on holiday somewhere new.

Find parking


Choose from thousands of local parking spaces

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Updated 21st Feb 2024

Written 13th Jan 2021