If you drive your car into central London then you have to pay a daily fee, called the ‘Congestion Charge’. The idea behind it is to reduce traffic and encourage people to use public transport instead.
You’ll know you’re entering the congestion zone when you pass a big red ‘C’ on a street sign, or painted on the road surface. As soon as you cross the sign a traffic camera will automatically snap your number plate and you’ll be duty bound to pay.
A map of the congestion charge zone can be found here: tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge.
Its northern edge currently runs along the Marylebone Road, Euston Road and Pentonville Road. Its western boundary runs down the Edgware Road and Park Lane. Its eastern edge runs along City Road, Great Eastern Street, Commercial Street, Mansell Street and Tower Bridge Road. Its southern edge runs along Vauxhall Bridge Road, Kennington Lane and New Kent Road.
The current congestion charge fee for journeys made between 7 AM and 6 PM, Mon-Fri, is £11.50 (or £14 if you wait until the next day to pay). If you set up an account with TFL and pre-pay then you’ll only have to pay £10.50.
Weekends and journeys made between 6 PM and 7 AM are always free.
You can pay online at the Transport for London website.
Telephone payment can be taken at 0343 222 2222.
There’s also a congestion charge app which you can download from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.
The two main car breakdown services in London are:
AA: Telephone 0870 550 0600, or 0800 887 766, or visit theaa.co.uk
RAC: Telephone 0844 891 3111, or visit rac.co.uk
Search for a car park by area:
Find a car park near a train station:
Find a car park close to a tourist attraction:
Make sure you pay attention to any car parking restrictions because you could be looking at a fine of £200–300 to get it released.
If your car has been towed away with no information on where it has been towed to, then try ringing the Tracing Section at 0207 747 4747.