With the nation set for a summer of sun, many of us will be heading for a day of sea, sand and maybe even a seaside fish and chips or ice cream, if you’re lucky. From tourist favourites such as Devon and Cornwall, to stunning coastlines in Wales or Northern Ireland – it’s safe to say there are many different options if you’re looking for a day at the beach in the UK.
However, with the cost of driving rising year on year, and fuel and parking costs seeing massive increases over the past few months alone, a day at the coast can be an expensive day out. Not only do you have to factor in the price of snacks, drinks, beach equipment and souvenirs, but you also must consider how you’re going to get there and where you’re going to park.
So, where in the country is cheapest to park your car for the day, while you enjoy the beautiful coastlines that the UK has to offer? We’ve analysed the cost of beachfront parking in over 160 seaside cities and towns to find out, to help you maximise your beach trip budget.
The Seaside Towns Where You Can Park For Free
Our research found that 26 seaside towns and cities had free beachside parking – making them perfect options if you’re looking to save your pennies for an extra bucket and spade.
England had the most seaside towns with free parking, with 10 cities and towns in the country offering beachside parking completely free of charge. Eight towns in Wales, six towns in Scotland and two seaside towns in Northern Ireland also had free parking close to the beach.
|Rank||City/town||Cost of parking|
|13||New Brighton, England||Free|
|17||Portrush, Northern Ireland||Free|
|18||Portstewart, Northern Ireland||Free|
|24||Trebarwith Strand, England||Free|
The Top 20 Cheapest Seaside Towns To Park In
While not all seaside towns offer parking completely free of charge, there are lots of destinations up and down the country which offer a safe space for your vehicle for less than £1 an hour – leaving you with a healthy budget to spend on beach fun.
The seaside village of Lympstone in Devon topped the list of cheapest seaside towns to park in, costing just 40p for an hour. Located slightly north of Lympstone up the English coast was second place Clacton-on-Sea and fourth place Melcombe Regis, where it will cost you 50p an hour to park your vehicle along the seafront. Seaside towns in Wales featured frequently in the top ten, with Fishguard, Milford Haven and Rhos-on-Sea all costing just 50p an hour to park in.
|Rank||City/town||1 hour cost (minimum cost)|
|4||Melcombe Regis, England||£0.50|
|5||Milford Haven, Wales||£0.50|
|9||South Shields, England||£0.60|
|10||Lyme Regis, England||£0.70|
|16||Canvey Island, England||£0.80|
|17||Chapel St Leonards, England||£0.80|
The Top 10 Seaside Towns With The Cheapest All-Day Parking
Looking to spend all day down at the beach? As well as looking at the cost of parking per hour, we also researched the cost of spending all day parked by the sea, with towns and cities across Wales, England and Scotland being revealed as the cheapest seaside towns for all day parking, costing less than £3.50 for a whole day.
Wales dominated the top three cheapest locations, with all day parking in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, costing just £1.50 for a day, or £2 if you were to spend the day at the beach across the coast in Fishguard. A whole day spent in Hornsea, Yorkshire would cost you just £2.90 and rounding off the top five was Roker, a seaside town in Sunderland.
|Rank||City/town||All day parking cost|
|1||Milford Haven, Wales||£1.50|
If our research has inspired you to take a trip to the seaside on a sunny day, ensure you’ve read through our top tips for driving in hot weather to stay safe on the roads.
We analysed the cost of parking in 167 seaside towns and cities, in the summer season (1st April – 31st October), using the following sources: