Durham is a city in the northeast of England with a population of 500,000. It’s located just 18 miles south of Newcastle upon Tyne, on the river Wear. It’s also the birthplace of Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Rowan Atkinson, AKA Mr Bean.
Durham is an absolute must-see for history buffs with its magnificent castle and cathedral, both dating back to the 11th century during the times of William the Conqueror. Interestingly, the college and university are actually a part of the castle, dating back to 1833. The castle is surrounded by the river’s meander on three sides and was built to defend against any invading Scottish armies. The cathedral’s also on the list for Harry Potter fanatics, as the cathedral was used as a filming location for two of the movies.
The east coast of Durham is only a 30-minute drive away from the city, where you can scour the shore for interesting gemstones, and check out the quaint little port in Seaham. Hiking the coastal paths, bird watching and exploring the cliff tops are highly recommended.
Make sure you see the huge botanical gardens, go for a row on the river Wear, and try one of the fantastic restaurants like the 13th century Cellar Door. You should also check out the Full Moon Market for some amazing different varieties of street food, including vegan options.
Being such a tourist magnet, with over 3 million visitors a year on top of the high population does make parking somewhat difficult. There are also a lot of regulated parking zones. If you don’t know the city’s layout and you want to save yourself some money it will take you ages to find free parking on residential streets, and you might end up having to walk much longer than necessary to get to the centre. Check out our map of free and paid parking below and park in Durham. You could potentially save £15 a day.
Free Parking in Durham
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Free, unrestricted residential street parking
A great alternative way to park for free is to find residential streets without parking restrictions. This is usually a guaranteed way of parking for free without actually breaking any rules. Without knowing where to go, you could struggle to find a decent street in a good location. We’ve put this list of free parking spots together and done the hard work for you. This includes postcodes and distances from the city centre (Railway station) and various other attractions along the way. The list also includes different areas of the city, as well as different entry points.
It goes without saying that you need to follow the rules, and respect parking etiquette. Be respectful about noise, especially in the evenings. Make sure you don’t park too close to other cars, don’t park in front of any driveways and make sure you check the street signs for any special rules. Parking on residential streets is at your own discretion
There are some decent parking options in the north of the city which are very convenient if you’re driving in from the Newcastle on Tyne direction. You can walk through Aykley Heads Recreation Ground, and Wharton Park on your way to the centre. You can also drop by the train station if you need to pick up a friend. The University Hospital of North Durham is also en route.
- Kirby Avenue DH1 5AY – 2 miles
- Redhills Lane DH1 4AW – 0.6 miles
- Saint Monica Grove DH1 4AS – 0.6 miles
- Saint Bede’s Close DH1 4AB – 0.6 miles
East Durham makes perfect sense to park in if you’re coming in from the coastal direction, or from Sunderland in the northeast. There are paid and residential options available at a reasonable walking distance from the centre, and the most scenic option would be to take a tiny little detour and walk along the river Wear towpath towards the centre.
- Heaviside Place DH1 1JG – 0.9 miles
- Long Acres DH1 1JF – 1 mile
- Churchill Avenue DH1 1PX – 1.1 mile
- Edward Street 1DH 1PU – 1.1 mile
- MacKintosh Court DH1 1PY – 1.2 miles
- Young Street DH1 2JU – 1.1 mile
- Edge Court DH1 2JY – 1.1 mile
There aren’t any free residential parking options in the south, as it’s a big university campus area but there’s a park-and-ride. However, If you’re driving up north from the Darlington or Middlesbrough directions, it would be a shame to miss the very reasonably priced Botanical gardens. There’s also the Oriental museum on the way to the centre too, but both of those have very small parking lots for visitors only.
When parking on residential streets, please remember to be courteous. Park as close to the curb as possible, avoid parking in front of driveways and make sure to have parking permits clearly visible (wherever required).
These curb-side parking spots are free overnight and on Sundays, however, make sure to pay at the parking meter and have the ticket on display.
- North Road DH1 5TW – 0.4 miles
- South Street DH1 4QP – 0.4 miles
- Margery Lane DH1 4QU – 0.5 miles
- Claypath DH1 1QE – 0.4 miles
- Neville Street DH1 4EY – 0.2 miles
- Allergate DH1 4ET – 0.3 miles
- New Street DH1 4DH – 0.2 miles
- Sutton Street DH1 4DA – 0.3 miles
Restricted Parking Zones (Available Sun & Overnight)
Between 8 am and 6 pm, only permit holders are allowed to park on these streets. However, non-permit holders are permitted to park overnight and on Sundays. Please make sure to return to your car by 8am to avoid a parking ticket. The distance indicated is to Durham train station, which is centrally located and within a 10 minute walk of most of the downtown area, including Wharton park, Durham Castle & Cathedral, as well as shopping zones.
- Obelisk Lane DH1 4RP – 0.4 miles
- Albert Street DH1 4RJ – 0.4 miles
- Springwell Avenue DH1 4LY – 0.5 miles
- North Crescent DH1 4NE – 0.5 miles
- Fieldhouse Lane DH1 4LT – 0.6 miles
Park and Ride Services in Durham
- Belmont Park and Ride DH1 1BA – northeast of Durham
- Howlands Park and Ride DH1 3TQ – south of Durham
- Sniperley Park and Ride DH1 5AA – northwest of Durham
Cheapest Paid Car Parks
If you’re not trying to save money, and want to dive straight into the centre of Durham without any walking, there are several paid options. They range between £10-£15 a day. Here’s a list we’ve put together of all of the best paid parking options, starting with the nearest ones to the centre.
- Sidegate Car Park DH1 5SY – £1.60 for 2 hours
- Southfield Way Parking DH1 5SE – £1.90 for 2 hours
- Walkergate Car Park DH1 1SW – £2.00 for 2 hours
- Prince Bishops Car Park DH1 3UJ – £2.10 for 2 hours
- Durham Station Long Stay Car Park DH1 4RB – £6.25 daily rate (best value)
- The Riverwalk DH1 4SL – £1.80 for 2 hours
Free short-term parking (2h or less)
Various light commercial areas and shopping malls offer up to 2 hours of free parking for their customers or visitors. These include:
- Tesco Extra DH1 2XA
- Dragonville Retail Park DH1 2WP
- Durham City Retail Park 2RP
- The Sands Car Park DH1 1SF
- Lanchester Road Hospital 5RD
- Arnison Centre 5GD