My dad is a walking encyclopedia of free car parking spaces around his home. He knows all the errant nooks and crannies in which he can just about squeeze his Rover 75 - most just outside town center, perilously close to bus stops, or on streets where many residents are sans-automobile or have a garage.
However, my dad has picked up his knowledge over many years of trial and error - the hard way. But obtaining the 'free parking knowledge' is now much easier - thanks to everyone’s best friend, technology.
A number of parking apps are now available that pinpoint those rare parking places that won’t cost you a fee - or get you shouted at by an irate resident.
They also help you find low-cost parking options, as well as more costly offerings from firms like NCP.
However, it should be noted that free parking spaces are becoming less common, in part because there are so many cars on the road, partly because the revenue it raises is crucial for cash-strapped councils and partly because some parking apps have made it easy for residents to rent spaces out.
The following apps also help ensure you don’t end up blocking roads by cruising around at a snail's speed as you seek out a space. Perhaps more importantly, depending on which app you use, you'll know how much parking will cost and may even be able to pay for it through the app.
It goes without saying - but we'll say it anyway - that you should never use one of the following apps (or any app) while driving your car. You'll need to find somewhere to pull over first - which, we realise, goes back to your initial problem!
This app is consistently highly-rated thanks to the fact it identifies on- and off-street parking; and even electric charge points. It's well-liked for its intuitive interface which details various parking zones and offers full navigation - including how to find your car again! And if it’s a paid space, you can pay using the app.
Previous versions of Parkopedia didn’t let you pay for parking through the app - but the new premium version does. The upgraded version also lets you see live parking bay availability. The app offers a lot of detail on parking spaces and it's easy to sign up.
Justpark gives you a plethora of parking spaces and useful information - including free/low cost options. It has improved greatly over recent versions. You can also register your driveway/parking area in order to make a little extra cash - but then, arguably, you’re contributing to the extinction of that rare beast, the free parking space!