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Off-street and on-street parking

There is a range of options when parking in town and cities, including on-street parking and off-street car parks. Car parks previously managed by TransportNI are now run by local councils. NSL Traffic Attendants still patrol the car parks and issue Penalty Charge Notices (parking tickets) to illegally-parked vehicles.

Off-street car parking

In car parks where charges apply, it is local councils' responsibility for setting tariffs, lighting and their upkeep.

This could mean that previous car park charges no longer apply. You should note local car park signage and local council websites.

Council Total number of car parks Total number of spaces
Antrim and Newtownabbey District Council 11 1,482
Ards and North Down Borough Council 43 3,062
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council 49 3,952
Belfast City Council 28 1,873
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council 37 3,564
Derry and Strabane District Council 29 1,895
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council 38 3,105
Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council 12 972
Mid and East Antrim District Council 27 3,176
Mid Ulster District Council 23 1,990
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council 37 2,759

Motorcycles are permitted to park free of charge in all car parks; however they must be parked wholly within a bay where such is marked out. Trailers are not permitted in car parks.

On-street car parking

While the majority of on-street parking in Northern Ireland is free, there are three Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) where on-street charges apply (see link below for tariffs). They are:

  • Belfast (approximately 1,660 on-street parking spaces)
  • Lisburn (approximately 240 on-street parking spaces)
  • Newry (approximately 440 on-street parking spaces)

Whether using pay and display machines in a charged car park or CPZ, you must ensure that the ticket you buy is sufficient for the length of your stay. Display the ticket clearly on your car windscreen or dashboard.

You will need to have change for the ticket machines (see also cashless parking) - these take any sterling coins from five pence to two pounds (they do not accept copper coins). However, the machines can only accept a maximum of 25 coins for each transaction.

Additionally, pay and display machines in most border towns accept Euro coins.

Motorcyclists are also expected to pay and display in CPZs and must, therefore, consider how best to display their ticket clearly whilst safeguarding it at the same time. Many motorcycle online forums provide advice and recommendations on how to achieve this. Motorcyclists may, however, wish to use the cashless parking option which removes this concern.

Cashless parking

The Parkmobile Cashless Payment System is now available in all pay and display off-street car parks and on-street charged car parking locations in Northern Ireland.

This system provides an alternative method of paying for your parking other than using coins at the pay and display machines.

You will need to register your details with Parkmobile. Once registered, you can pay for and manage your parking using your mobile phone, mobile app or online.

You do not have to estimate your parking time, as you control when you start and stop your parking. However, there may be restrictions on the length of time you are permitted to park - see local signage for details.

There is no need to show a pay and display ticket on your vehicle, as Traffic Attendants can check if parking has been paid using Parkmobile.

You should note that there will be a 15p transaction charge per parking event.

Details of how the service operates is provided on the pay and display machines at each location. You can get more information from the poster below:

For more information on cashless parking, please visit the Parkmobile website:

Car parking charges off-street and on-street (non-charging days)

Parking charges normally apply in all off-street and on-street controlled parking zones (Belfast, Lisburn and Newry) from Monday to Saturday; and on Sundays in November and December in all Londonderry charged car parks and in the Mall and Abbey Street car parks in Coleraine, except on 1 January, Easter Monday, 12 and 13 July and 25 and 26 December or days in lieu, when there is no charge.

The only exception is Ballymena Town Centre Multi-Storey car park, which operates in conjunction with the opening hours of the Tower Centre and charges may apply on some of these dates.

See link below for details of non-charging days 2011-2016.

Please note that although parking charges do not apply on these dates, all other parking restrictions remain enforceable.

More useful links