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Like any town or city that was built thousands of years ago, parking in Edinburgh is certainly no joy. Public transport in the capital is some of the best in the UK, and visitors and locals are encouraged to catch a bus, tram or train into the city. But, if you must bring your car into Edinburgh, the different areas around the capital have different rules and regulations, so make sure to check out the signs.
Edinburgh Airport has a plethora of options available for visitors and travellers and choosing the right one could save you a pretty penny! Our guide will describe the differences and let you decide the best option.
And, of course, check the signs and the rules! Don’t get caught out. Our traffic wardens are a special breed of eagle eyed enforcers!
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Parking Guide Edinburgh
Park and Ride in Edinburgh
The best way to get into the centre for shopping and work is actually to leave the car and use public transport to get into town.
This may mean leaving the car at home or your hotel – or using one of the Park and Ride facilities on the outskirts of the city.
The concept is simple.
Park at one of the seven free car parks listed below and hop on a bus, tram or train into the town.
You can read our guide to Edinburgh Bus Station here.
- Ingliston (Tram, Skylink 200, 300, 400)
- Hermiston (Lothian 25, X25, 34, 35, 24, N25, N34)
- Newcraighall (Scotrail)
- Ferrytoll (Various Stagecoach Services from Fife, Dundee and the North)
- Sheriffhall (Lothian 33, 49)
- Straiton (Lothian X37, 47, X47, 67)
- Wallyford (Lothian 44, 44A, N44 & Scotrail)
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Paying for Parking in Edinburgh
On street parking is generally paid for throughout the city.
There are traditional meters that you pay using coins. A ticket will print which should be stuck in your windscreen.
→ Fun fact: some tour guides say that J.K. Rowling paid for parking at a city meter when she was writing her final book. This, however, is confirmed as total fiction. Check out our guide to the top Harry Potter spots in Edinburgh.
Parking in Edinburgh City Centre
In general, parking in Edinburgh’s City Centre is the most expensive to use. Edinburgh’s City Centre was never designed to accommodate cars, and this is reflected in its parking provisions.
The general rule of thumb is that parking in the City Centre is expensive and for a short period. Most parking meters will only allow you to buy a maximum of 4 hours parking and it is illegal to ‘feed the meter’ to extend your stay.
If you can find a rare parking space, parking on the very central streets such as George Street, Queen Street and Market Street will cost you the most – £4.60 per hour.
A cheaper option would be to park on London Road, which is around a 10-minute walk from Waverley Station. You can park here all day for £5.
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Parking for Edinburgh Castle
The easiest way to visit Edinburgh Castle is actually to park up and use public transport to get into the centre.
Park at one of the Park and Rides on the outskirts and get the bus or tram into the town.
Any bus or tram to Princes Street is suitable for castle visits. Buses that take you to North Bridge will bring you even closer.
The closest car park to the Castle is NCP Castle Terrace.
Free Parking in Edinburgh
Parking in Edinburgh is free on Sundays before 12:30 and on the following holidays:
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
- New Year’s Day
- Easter Monday
Parking on these days is likely to be busy so it is best to avoid street parking in Edinburgh on these days if possible.
Parking in Central Zones (generally the City Centre and West End) is free between 18.30 – 6.30 Monday to Saturday.
Parking in Peripheral and Extended Zones (such as Bruntsfield, Marchmont, and the New Town) is free between 17:30 – 8:30 Monday to Friday and all day on Saturdays.
Always check the parking information signs as parking zones, prices and times can vary from street to street.
Parking in Leith
The good news is that, beyond the Centre, parking is largely free in Edinburgh.
The bad news is that because it’s free, it can be a bit tricky to find a parking space sometimes.
Once you’re about a third of the way down Leith Walk, restrictions don’t apply. This is good news for anyone visiting the Shore!
Just Park Edinburgh
Just Park is a UK based parking app that lets you choose a space, review the price and pay for it with your credit card.
Prices start at £3 per day compared to £3+ an hour for on street parking.
Driveway renters can make from £400 a month renting their space to the app.
Parking at Edinburgh Airport
There are lots of different options to consider if you’re jetting off on your holidays from Edinburgh Airport or are picking up a friend or family member.
Long stay parking is always much cheaper if you book in advance, so make sure to do this before you arrive at the terminal to avoid hefty price increases.
You might also like our guide on the best ways to get to and from Edinburgh Airport.
Pick Up and Drop Off
If you’re just dropping off or picking up, make sure you head toward the short stay car parks which are clearly signed.
Both of these car parks are pretty pricey so keep an eye on arrivals and only head to the airport when you need to. Don’t pay to wait around!
The paid drop off takes coins and contactless card at the exit barrier.
Cheap Parking at Edinburgh Airport
The cheapest parking option for travellers heading on a flight from Edinburgh is the Plane Parking car park – but it’s also the least convenient.
Plane Parking is the budget version of long stay parking at Edinburgh Airport.
Park your car and keep your keys. Then wait for the free, 24-hour shuttle bus to ferry you to the terminal. This takes about ten minutes.
The Most Convenient Airport Parking – Multi-Storey
For the most convenient experience, the multi storey is your best option. For relatively short stay parking at Edinburgh airport, leaving your car at the multi-storey is simplest.
Simply park up and walk the 1-minute walk straight to security. (Yes, the’ve built a bridge so you can bypass check in if you’ve already got your boarding pass and only have hand luggage.)
This option isn’t cheap though – starting at £70 for one day and £180 for four days.
Valet Parking at Edinburgh Airport
Want to drop your car off and stroll into the terminal? FastPark is a great option for travellers who have a lot of luggage and don’t want to take a shuttle bus to the terminal.
Drive into the FastPark booth and the 360º cameras will photograph your car. Then drop your keys off and walk the 1-minute journey to the terminal.