Located in the heart of London’s West End, Covent Garden is a popular attraction and destination for Londoners, Brits, and international tourists alike. It’s rich in history, has a vibrant and diverse culture, and boasts a wide variety of entertainment and shopping options.
Covent Garden started out as a garden, from which it got its name. Over many years, it slowly transformed into the thriving cultural centre it is today. Widely known for its lively street performances, trendy boutique shopping outlets, and upscale restaurants, Covent Garden receives millions of visitors each year. One of the most visited attractions in Covent Garden is the Royal Opera House, which is home to the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera. It also regularly hosts some of the most famous operas and ballet performances from around the world. Truly a must-see if you find yourself in Covent Garden. Another super-popular attraction is the famous Covent Garden Apple Market. It’s located smack-dab in the centre of the district and is constantly bustling with tourists and vendors selling everything from handcrafted jewellery, artisanal cheeses, stunning artwork, organic produce, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Those looking for more conventional retail therapy are spoilt for choice in Covent Garden which is home to high-end fashion brands like Burberry, Chanel, and Dior.
If shopping, history, or culture isn’t exactly your scene, we’d still recommend visiting Covent Garden if for nothing else than the culinary delights on offer. There are restaurants serving delicacies from pretty much every country, nationality, or culture we can think of. Genuinely, it’s hard to walk more than a few steps without stumbling across dozens of highly-rated restaurants serving something spectacular! Other excellent reasons to visit Covent Garden –we could talk about this all day but will start wrapping it up– include taking a walk through the historic 17th-century Piazza, seeing a show at one of the many different theatres, or winding down with a drink at Charles Dickens’ old haunt, The Lamb & Flag Pub.
Covent Garden really does have it all!!! Except for one thing...
Like pretty much every other area of central London, finding affordable and convenient parking options can be the worst part of the trip. Covent Garden is extremely built up, has limited streetside parking options, and is in both the ULEZ and Congestion Charge Zone. All of these factors combined can quickly sum up to a nightmare scenario for drivers, where even a quick trip can end up being both costly and frustrating. This guide will help you find the more affordable parking options –although there really aren’t that many– as close to your destination as possible. We’ll also take a look at possible options for free parking, although these will involve parking outside of Covent Garden and making use of public transport.
Free Parking in Covent Garden
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Free, unrestricted streetside parking
ParkingScout prides itself on finding free and unrestricted streetside parking in locations around the UK. To date, we’ve managed to document and pin thousands of locations across the UK where you can legally and safely park your car at the side of the road, absolutely free of charge.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, this simply isn’t an option in Covent Gardens. The only available streetside parking is either on a pay-and-display basis or only available to Covent Garden residents. To make matters worse, Covent Garden doesn’t use the commonly-found ‘free overnight parking’ system found in other areas of the country. Parking restrictions are enforced around the clock and often have 4-hour time limits, further complicating the parking situation.
Nearby free overnight and weekend parking options
As described above, free overnight and weekend parking options are impossible to find in Covent Garden. There are, however, reasonable options that are within a 20 to 30-minute metro ride away. While these options might not be convenient for someone travelling to Covent Gardens for a short visit during daytime hours, the savings to be had by taking this option could easily buy you and your mates a round of beers at the pub if you’re planning on staying the night in Covent Gardens.
Free overnight and weekend parking in Clapham
If you’re approaching Covent Gardens from the south, finding free parking in Clapham and taking the metro for the final stage of the journey is a good option. These spots are free to park in after 18:30 Monday through Friday, as well as all day on Saturday and Sunday. From here, you can make your way to the nearest metro (walking distance provided) and make the trip to Covent Garden. On average, the metro ride to Covent Gardens will take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on which station you start at.
● Saint Alphonsus Road SW4 7BL – 0.2 miles to Clapham Common
● Fitzwilliam Road SW2 0DN – 0.6 miles to Clapham Common
● Lambourn Road SW4 0LS – 0.6 miles to Clapham Common
● Hannington Road SW4 0LZ – 0.6 miles to Clapham Common
● Killyon Road SW4 6JX – 1.0 mile to Battersea Park
● Brayburne Avenue SW4 6AD – 1.0 miles to Battersea Park
● A3216 SW8 3RY – 0.8 miles to Battersea Park
Free overnight and weekend parking in Islington
If you’re heading to Covent Garden from the north, consider parking your car in Islington and taking the metro down to Covent Garden. Depending on where you get on the metro, the final leg of the journey will take you about 30 minutes or so to complete. While this might feel like a while, keep in mind that if you’re unlucky enough to get caught up in traffic, you’ll still end up saving a lot of time. The locations below offer free streetside parking after 18:30 and on Saturdays and Sundays. The distance provided is the walking distance to the nearest metro.
● Corinne Road N19 5EZ – 0.2 miles to Tufnell Park
● Lady Margaret Road NW5 2NP – 0.2 miles to Tufnell Park
● Cornwallis Road N19 4LP – 0.4 miles to Upper Holloway
● Kiver Road N19 4PE – 0.3 miles to Upper Holloway
● Davenant Road N19 3NW – 0.2 miles to Upper Holloway
● Hilldrop Crescent N7 0HX – 0.6 miles to Kentish Town
Closest Paid Streetside Parking
If you find yourself absolutely having to park in Covent Garden, there are a few streetside options available, however, they’re not cheap or easy to find! Pay-and-display streetside parking will run you a standardised £12 or £13 for a two-hour stay, depending on location. The distances attached to the streetside parking locations below are to Covent Garden Metro. The metro is located very centrally, with all of Covent Garden, including all of the attractions, being less than 1 mile away.
● Tavistock Street WC2E 7DD – 0.2 miles
● Wellington Street WC2E 7DB – 0.2 miles
● Exeter Street WC2R 0JE – 0.2 miles
● Southampton Street WC2E 7HE – 0.2 miles
● Chandos Place SW1A 1AG – 0.3 miles
● Bedford Street WC2E 9HA – 0.3 miles
● West Street WC2H 9DN – 0.2 miles
Cheapest Paid Car Parks
Paid car parks in Covent Garden seem to also follow the more expensive is better rule for parking so prevalent in Covent Garden. The average cost of a two-hour stay is very close to £20, with some car parks charging upwards of £30 for two hours. Here you’ll find a list of the most affordable car parks within the Covent Garden borders.
● Bedford Hotel WC1B 4HD – £8.00 for 2 hours
● Car Park Covent Garden WC1A 1JR – £10.00 for 2 hours
● NCP London Covent Garden WC2B 5NT – £12.00 for 2 hours
● Q-Park Covent Garden WC2N 4DU – £16.00 for 2 hours
Renting someone’s private driveway is becoming an increasingly popular option in areas with expensive or inconvenient parking. This option is becoming especially popular with regular commuters who know when they’ll be where. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with a one-time driveway rental as there really are good options available. It’s important to note that the driveway owners set their own prices, and these can vary greatly within a certain area. If you’re considering this option, we recommend that you plan and reserve your driveway well in advance, as the cheaper options are snatched up fairly quickly!
Driveway rental options within Covent Gardens range wildly in price, with some going for as little as £6 for two hours, and others matching car park prices at about £20 for two hours.
If you’re willing to add a quick metro ride or a short walk to your trip, consider looking at driveways just outside of Covent Garden. Waterloo, Mayfair, Soho, and especially Greenham Cross have driveways for rent at a cost ranging from as little as £2.50 up
Version 1.0 to £16 for a two-hour stay, with the cheaper options typically being a 15 to 20-minute walk to Covent Garden.
If you’re interested in this option, consider downloading the JustPark app on Android or iPhone.