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We're planning a road trip through England and Scotland next month and we'll have a car rental.

While the plan is to focus on the rural parts, we do want to spend a day in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Is daily street parking in those two cities available and safe or will we need to find a parking garage to leave the car all day?

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    On street parking in both cities is safe but expensive during the hours of 8:30am - 6:30pm Monday to Saturday (it’s free on Sundays). Available on street spaces can also be hard to find in the city centre, for example some zones are permit only for local residents. edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20276/parking_spaces/567/…. You may do better to look at Park & Ride options google.co.uk/… – Traveller Sep 24 '18 at 22:01
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On-street parking is available, and safe, in both Glasgow and Edinburgh; however it’s expensive in and near the city centres (except on Sundays when it’s free), it’s often very hard to find a spot anywhere near the “touristy” areas, and many spaces are time-limited so you wouldn’t be able to leave your car in a single spot anyway. Ground and multi-storey car parks are also available in both cities, often with the option to book a spot in advance, but they also tend to be very expensive.

An interesting alternative is park and ride in both cases.

Edinburgh has seven park and ride car parks all around the city, five of which connect to bus or tram services, the other two connecting to train or coach services. They all have ticketing facilities so you can buy tickets before boarding without needing the exact fare (as you would on a bus). Bus and tram day tickets are reasonably priced and will allow you to use public transport to move around the town; if you park at the Ingliston park and ride you can also take the tram into town (don’t worry about the zones, the standard day ticket is valid all the way to the park and ride; it’s only the last leg to the airport which requires a special ticket). It can take quite a while to ride the bus into town, but on a weekday it will usually be less than it would take you in your car. The buses in from park and rides are mostly standard bus services, and you can get off at any bus stop (except on express services) — depending on which park and ride you start from, this can provide easy access to the zoo, Fountainbridge, the Royal Mile, the West End, the East End etc. Do make sure you know in advance which buses you can get to go back to the car park, and when they run. I’ve never used the Newcraighall park and ride, mentioned by vclaw, but it does seem like an interesting option if you’re coming from the East, with a ten-minute train ride into Waverley Station.

Glasgow has three park and ride car parks connecting to the subway, many more connecting to trains; you can also try your luck with on-street parking near a subway station. In the subway park and ride system, you pay a fixed price for all-day parking and a return ticket to the town centre. Since it’s a subway, on a small loop, it doesn’t take long to get anywhere close to a subway station. The trains around Glasgow are affordable (certainly by UK train standards), quite frequent and take you right into the city centre.

  • Also Newcraighall park and ride, for the train to Edinburgh. – vclaw Sep 25 '18 at 0:16
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Speaking for Edinburgh specifically on many city centre streets there is a 4 hour maximum stay meaning you would need to move the car to another space after 4 hours. The cost of parking on the street in the centre can be more expensive (up to £4.20 an hour) than parking for the day in a multi-storey car park (from around £18 a day).

Parkopedia is a good tool for finding the best place to park. It also shows where there is unrestricted (i.e. free) street parking.

Not all street parking in Edinburgh is free on a Sunday, although you can find streets where there is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.

Will you be staying overnight in Edinburgh or just visiting for the day? If the former and you want to mention the street or area you'll be staying I can recommend parking there.

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