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The best and worst universities for parking in the UK

It’s that time of year again. Students across the UK are packing their bags and heading off to university, or returning after their summer breaks. But with train fares becoming increasingly expensive, many freshers will be wondering whether it’s worth keeping their car with them for the whole term. So which universities are the most car friendly?

A number of cars parked in a car park

What's on this page?
University parking league table: How does yours compare?
The cost of student parking

 

In a recently conducted survey, we found 48% of students have had issues parking on their campus. And, in hindsight, 35% of student drivers would’ve left their car at home before going to university.

To investigate further, we asked 152 universities to provide data on their student parking availability. 75 universities responded to our Freedom of Information request.

University parking league table: How does yours compare?

We’ve collated the results to find the best and worst universities for parking in the UK. 

University parking league table: How does yours compare?

We asked about parking:

  • Availability: How many parking spaces do you have available to students on campus?
  • Proximity: What are the distances (in miles) from halls of residence to the main university campus?
  • Cost: If there is parking available on university campuses and halls, are there any parking charges?
  • Security: Are the parking spaces at the university campuses and halls secured at night and on weekends? If so, how?
University Halls less than 2 miles away? Parking available? Free parking? Parking secured? League
Harper Adams University
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
A
Heriot-Watt University
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
A
Loughborough University
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
A
Northumbria University
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
A
Roehampton University
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
A
University of the Highlands and Islands
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
A
University of London - Royal Veterinary College
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
A
University of Wales - Trinity Saint David
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
A
Cardiff University
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
Edinburgh Napier University
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
B
Manchester Metropolitan University
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
Newcastle University
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
Queens University Belfast
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
St Mary's University Twickenham
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University College Birmingham
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of Aberdeen
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
B
University of Birmingham
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of Dundee
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
B
University of Exeter
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of Glasgow
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
B
University of Leeds
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of Liverpool
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of London - King's College London
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
B
University of Manchester
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
B
University of Northampton
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of Nottingham
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of Sheffield
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of South Wales
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of Strathclyde
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
B
University of Sunderland
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
B
Wrexham Glyndwr University
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
B
Aberystwyth University
No
Yes
No
Yes
C
Bangor University
No
Yes
No
Yes
C
Cardiff Metropolitan University
No
Yes
No
Yes
C
Oxford Brookes University
No
Yes
Yes
No
C
Robert Gordon University
No
Yes
No
Yes
C
Swansea University
No
Yes
No
Yes
C
University of Bristol
No
Yes
No
Yes
C
University of London - St George's
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
C
University of St. Andrews
No
Yes
Yes
No
C
University of Stirling
No
Yes
No
Yes
C
University of Winchester
Yes
Yes
No
No
C
University of York
Yes
Yes
No
No
C
Bishop Grosseteste University
Yes
No
No
No
D
Durham University
Yes
No
No
No
D
Glasgow Caledonian University
Yes
No
No
No
D
Imperial College London
No
No
No
No
D
London Metropolitan University
No
No
No
No
D
Queen Margaret University
Yes
No
No
No
D
University of the West of Scotland
Yes
No
No
No
D
University of Abertay Dundee
Yes
No
No
No
D
University of Cambridge
Yes
No
No
No
D
University of Edinburgh
No
No
No
No
D
University of Leicester
No
No
No
No
D
University of London - School of Economics
No
No
No
No
D
University of London - Queen Mary
Yes
No
No
No
D
University of London - Royal Academy of Music
Yes
No
No
No
D
University of London - Royal Holloway
Yes
No
No
No
D
University of London - University College London
Yes
No
No
No
D
University of Oxford
No
No
No
No
D
University of Reading
Yes
No
No
No
D
Ulster University
NO
Yes
No
Yes
F
University of Bradford
NO
Yes
No
Yes
F
Leeds Arts University
NO
No
No
No
F
London South Bank University
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - Birkbeck
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - City
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - Courtauld Institute of Art
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - Goldsmiths
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - Institute of Cancer Research
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - London Business School
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
NO
No
No
No
F
University of London - School of Oriental and African Studies
NO
No
No
No
F

KEY

Universities are given a league grade based on the 4 parking criteria:

A = all 4 criteria met

B = 3 criteria met

C = 2 criteria met

D = 1 or 0 criteria met

F = Universities with no halls of residence

Universities with no halls of residence marked as NO

Perhaps unsurprisingly, our results show parking in London is a headache for students. 0 out of 25 London universities offer student parking, with some halls located over 5 miles from campus. The choice for students in London is simple: pay a fortune for private parking or don’t keep your car at all.

The UK’s top universities generally provide very little student parking. Oxford University, Cambridge University, Durham University and the University of St. Andrews rank no higher than a C on our list, with not one of them offering secure parking overnight or on weekends. 

Drama, music and art universities also ranked poorly. The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama And The Royal College of Art all provide little parking availability for students.

The University of Warwick came out on top for number of parking spaces, with 5,395 spaces allocated to students. This is closely followed by the University of Nottingham and Ulster University with 5,001 and 4,936 spaces respectively.

The cost of student parking

Our survey showed that 38% of students didn’t receive any money from family or friends to help with the cost of running a car at university.

Parking ticket machine with parked cars

Owning a car is already expensive, but it’s made more difficult for students that are relying on their loan to pay for petrol, parking and insurance. Of the 75 universities that responded to our request, 41% offered no free parking at all.

If you’re planning on taking your car to university this year then it’s worth making sure you have the cheapest student car insurance. To help you get the best deal, we compare student car insurance quotes from insurers across the UK. Get a quote in less than five minutes.

Top tips: What to consider before taking your car to university

Are you thinking about taking your car to university? Read these top tips to help you decide:

  • Parking costs at your university. Regularly driving from halls to campus can see the price of parking quickly add up. Find out if there’s free parking available at your university using our parking league table.
  • Parking availability at your halls and campus. Are parking spaces limited? You don’t want to spend hours searching for free spaces every time you need to park. Use our parking league table to make sure there’s plenty of spaces available at your university.
  • Insurance prices vary depending on where you park. Where you leave your car will affect the price of your insurance. Make sure you’re not overpaying on your insurance by comparing cheap car insurance for students with Confused.com.
  • Car security is always important. Where are you going to keep your car overnight? Check if parking is secure to make sure you don’t leave your car at risk.
  • Petrol costs are already sky high so you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping trips to a minimum. Be wary if you become the designated driver to your flat-mates, the short trips will soon add up!

  • Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

    “Heading off to university is one of the most memorable moments in life and can be many young people’s first time away from home. It’s unsurprising that students want to bring their cars to university, to be able to drive home easily, and visit friends and family - but for many this ends up being a major logistical and financial burden.

    “Not only can car park charges be financially challenging, but other factors too, such as types of parking and car park security need to be thought through before taking your car to university. This is on top of the running costs, such as fuel, tax and car insurance - which typically is more expensive for younger drivers.

    “Those students that do decide to take their car are also required by law to update their driving license, vehicle logbook (V5C), vehicle tax and address on their insurance when they leave home - even for a short period of time. Not doing so could mean facing fines of up to £1,000.

    “To help those going into higher education we’ve compiled a breakdown of what student parking facilities look like across a number of universities in the UK in our new University Parking Report.”

    Methodology