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Cheapest And Dearest City Centre Car Parks: The 2014 Update

Niamh Spence is pricing up city centre car parks

Written by . Published on January 31st 2014.

Cheapest And Dearest City Centre Car Parks: The 2014 Update

CAR PARKING in the city centre is always a hot topic.

Even mentioning the subject of car parks over the past few days seems to have every Tom, Dick and Harry giving me tips on where the cheapest little back street car parks are, the city centre peripheral hot spots and the extortionate ones to avoid.

I’m a hive of car park knowledge and I don’t, and can't, even drive.

Do you park next door to House of Fraser and save yourself the leg exertion, or park over the river and save yourself the pennies instead?

Yet armed with this knowledge and a guide from a Confidential predecessor I set off on a wander from our Spinningfields offices to see how expensive and how cheap our city centre car parks are. Isn’t it funny how the office newbie always gets the outside jobs in this weather?

City Centre ParkingCity centre car parking map via Parkopedia

King Street West's NCP car park behind House of Fraser (or Kendals as it’s still known) is still one of the most extortionate. If you’re unfortunate enough to leave your car there for an overnight stay you’re looking at £25 for the privilege. Ouch.

Still thankful for small mercies, when Confidential last looked at car park prices it was £25.50. At least you’re saving fifty pence. Ta for that.

Even two hours costs £7 and up to four hours will see you parting with £15; a hefty price to pay just to park your car for the afternoon.

King Street's hefty price listKing Street's hefty price list

Next up for expensive rates is the Exchange Station car park, just beyond Harvey Nichols and over the River Irwell from the Cathedral. £7 again for two hours and £25 for 24 hours. However if you’re only nipping into town for some quick errands then it’s only £3 to park for up to an hour.

Exchange Station prices...slightly weatherbeaten.Exchange Station prices...slightly weatherbeaten.

So far so good…or not so good for our bank balances it would seem.

The NCP Market Place car park, just off Blackfriars Street, is a two minute walk to Harvey Nichols and the Arndale and is a suprising contender for one of the cheaper city centre spots. 

Market PlaceMarket PlaceWith many just opting for the Arndale's attached car park out of ease and, let's face it, sheer laziness, Market Place does get forgotten about. Whilst only a few pounds lower than King Street and Exchange Station, it's still cheaper for being relatively the same distance from the shops, restaurants and city centre attractions.

When one suspicious member of the public quizzes me on why at 9.15am on a Wednesday morning I'm skulking around a dimly lit carpark with a camera, I tell her I'm not a would-be car thief in high heels but instead writing an article about cheap car park prices. She replies, "Oh this is a good one, always got spaces."

There you have it, insider knowledge.

So spaces galore and cheap(ish) prices, Market Place will charge you a fiver for two hours parking, £9 for four hours, £13 for six hours and £18 if you leave your car for a 24 hour stay.

Another option for cheap car parking is to cross over the River Irwell and into Salford. Yes, I know that stops being city centre strictly speaking but with some of these car parks only a five minute stroll to Deansgate there are many realising the value of leaving their car a tiny stroll away.

Greengate was one of our cheapest car parking hot spots and still reigns supreme over city centre prices. Costing just £2 for four hours or £2.50 for twelve hours Monday to Friday and £2 for 24 hours at weekends, it's a bargain compared with others. Plus it's only a ten minute walk, at most to Harvey Nichols and the main shops.

Also bargainous is the adjacent Norton Street car park which will only cost you £2.20 for four hours in the week and £1.20 for the same on weekends.

Not the most conventional of directions...Not the most conventional of directions...

Norton Street pricesNorton Street prices

So there you have just a brief overview of the city centre car park prices. Do you park next door to House of Fraser and save yourself the leg exertion, or park over the river and save yourself the pennies instead?

Of course there are plenty of other car parks in the city centre as well as the rise of zombie car parks up by Ancoats, in the Northern Quarter and just about anywhere, however if in doubt over the cheapest then simply ask someone. Everyone knows a good one.

Confidential’s car park price guide:

Prices are for a full day, unless specified otherwise.

King St (NCP) - £25.00 (£7.00 for two hours)

Exchange Station - £25.00 (£7.00 for two hours)

Market Place (NCP) - £18.00 (£5.00 for two hours)

Greengate - £3 (Monday to Friday), £2 (Weekends)

Norton Street - £3 (Monday to Friday), £2 (Weekends)

You can follow Niamh on Twitter: @missnspence

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJanuary 31st 2014.

A handy summing up making people aware of the options. Shame you didn't put the price guide on a google map (or similar interactive map). One can only assume these prices are set by the market. If they appear expensive to some then that's only because others are willing to pay those prices. Space in a city centre comes at a premium. All the more reason not to sell out our public spaces and turn city streets into cheap parking spaces so that a small minority can pay a couple of quid to get in everyone's way while others circle around searching for that elusive cheap (or free) parking space.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoyFebruary 3rd 2014.

"...prices are set by the market". Are you joking? The city centre is a monopolistic stitch up thanks to the City Council joint venture with NCP and its onerous short term street parking policy. The same NCP who conceived the 'zombie car parks' business model now being pursued by desperate Councillors from a City Council in financial partnership with them...

ShybaldbuddhistJanuary 31st 2014.

Rochdale Rd just past the Marble Arch. Big fenced off car park £2 all day in the week, £1 all day at the weekend. 5 min walk from the NQ. That'll do for me!

Stephen DouglasJanuary 31st 2014.

The parking zones on parkopedia are now woefully out of date - try this: www.manchester.gov.uk/…/8…

crisbyJanuary 31st 2014.

The UMIST multi storey car park at the bottom end of Sackville Street is £2 flat rate at weekends. A long way from Deansgate but closer than Salford if you're heading for the other end of the city centre.

JoanJanuary 31st 2014.

Car parking for long stays in certain locations is expensive for a reason. They don't really expect many people to pay £25 for a day or £15 for four hours. They actually want most people to wish to avoid that, thus leaving those spaces free for those shoppers who want a quick visit only. Differential pricing works. The M and S car park does this brilliantly: free to pick up your shopping, and a rapid incline in cost as you overstay your welcome. Shoppers who want a longer visit will be willing to walk a little further. It makes sense.

Stephen MoranFebruary 1st 2014.

The arena car park is £2 at weekends, but you have to leave by 5pm.

AnonymousFebruary 2nd 2014.

As someone who commutes into Manchester Mon-Fri, I stopped paying car park charges about 2 years ago and park a little way out on an un-yellow lined road. 15 mins walk from there to my office. I reckon even at £2.50 a day, I've saved over £1,000 - half the price of a holiday. Yay! Why fill the pockets of NCP or other parasitic, over-charging car park operators?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 3rd 2014.

Why not you know forsake the car fullstop?

JeffFebruary 3rd 2014.

Probably parking in Hulme... I'll be glad when the residents parking scheme comes into effect shortly so refuse collectors and delivery vans can get down my road.

AnonymousFebruary 3rd 2014.

I was just thinking that Jeff. Esp ever since they put restrictions on Jackson Crescent. Just pushed the problem onto the rest of Hulme. So sorry above anon.

JeffFebruary 4th 2014.

Yes, I live just off Jackson Crescent & the commuter parking is a nightmare. The new parking scheme is in consultation until the 14th of feb and is looking to being in residents only bays which have a 3 hour maximum wait without a permit. Should help ease the problem for us. I suppose it does say a lot about how the regeneration of Hulme has worked as there's no way commuters would have left their cars there a decade or so ago.

AnonymousFebruary 3rd 2014.

Sigh, if only more people used the perfectly good tram,bus and train options instead, we may not need so many bleeming car parks

3 Responses: Reply To This...
LeeFebruary 3rd 2014.

£6.50 for a daily commute from Alty, which typically isn't working properly for 1 day out of 5, where you don't get a seat and stand crammed in like a sardine, is hardly 'perfectly good'. In fact, compared to the£4 commute cost in petrol to sit in my warm car with heating / radio, and park for free in Hulme, it's outrageous.

AnonymousFebruary 4th 2014.

Hmmmmmmm gosh I wonder why I drive into Manchester for work instead of enjoying a bus ride that would take me that least four times as long... Tricky one that. The tram stop is a walk and a bus ride away before I even have to wait for it, the Salford line crawls into Manchester and is unreliable, and the bus straight in is a grim and VERY time consuming way to travel.

AnonymousFebruary 4th 2014.

The driving situation in Manchester is not helped by the ludicrous changes made to Deansgate last year aimed at reducing the number of cars in the city centre but actually serving to increase congestion in the city centre and clog up the ring road which wasn't exactly dreamy already

AnonymousFebruary 3rd 2014.

Perfectly good tram, bus and train options? Really? I'm sorry but for all the money spent (and being spent) on public transport those options are in the main still smelly, dirty, overcrowded, expensive and not always practical for a lot of Manchester workers..

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 3rd 2014.

What a parochial attitude

tbboy87February 3rd 2014.

Bit of a rubbish investigation! why didn't you check the northern quarter??? That's cheap all over…. the most expensive i've seen is dale street and thats £6.50 for 24 hours mon-fri! £4 after 1pm and £5 on weekends. OR port street car park - £4.50 all day! £3 after 1pm! Go 2 minutes more to behind the stay city apartments where its £4 for 24 hours! Or 3 hours free parking in urban exchange! Just walk in to aldi and walk out again then go shopping! Easy AND free! All of which are only 10 minutes walk to the arndale… or 5 minutes to the heart of the nq (oldham st, oi polloi etc) I know you mention the northern quarter at the end but all of the above i would say are just as close to get to the arndale and market street than the others!!!

JRawlyFebruary 4th 2014.

When I go to town, I do try to avoid driving into the centre. However, when I do, I generally park in Charles Street using the multi-storey there. Tariffs Up to 3 hours £3 3-6 hours £5 6-10 hours £8 10-24 hours £10 4pm-midnight £2 (must leave before midnight, including Friday or the day rate will apply) Saturday and Sunday £2 all day Generally my jaunts into town are restricted to the weekend or after 4pm so I think £2 is a great price

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