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Five ways to dodge rip-off parking fees at Britain’s top attractions: We reveal the worst offenders from Silverstone to Glasto and how YOU can avoid being held hostage

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The amount I was charged for parking when I went to see Peter Kay Live at the O2 in London earlier this month was no laughing matter.

The car park charged me £40 – more than the £35 for a basic ticket.

Such sky-high charges are becoming common practice – with venues appearing to cynically exploit a captive audience who have often not planned ahead so have nowhere else to go. We uncover some key offenders and reveal FIVE great ways you can dodge their fees.

Toby Walne was charged £40, more than the £35 for a basic ticket, to park when seeing Peter Kay at the O2

Toby Walne was charged £40, more than the £35 for a basic ticket, to park when seeing Peter Kay at the O2

The worst offenders

Silverstone in Northamptonshire has one of the most expensive car parks – £60 for its official Car Park 1 for the Formula 1 Grand Prix on July 7. Another is the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset with a ‘pledge to reduce carbon emissions’ by charging £55 for a car pass between June 26 and 30. The Championships tennis at Wimbledon in London between July 1 and 14 wants £40 for a day space – same as the O2 – while the Co-op Live venue in Manchester that opened in May is demanding £25. Research by holiday property provider Last Minute Cottages has found theme parks are also increasingly keen to cash in on customers who feel they have no choice but to pay, though prices are lower. Alton Towers in Staffordshire charges £20 for its advance booked ‘express parking’ by the entrance, while Thorpe Park in Surrey and Legoland in Berkshire both demand a £10 fee. Legoland parking used to be free until 14 years ago.

Silverstone has one of the most expensive car parks, at £60 for its official Car Park 1 for the Formula 1 Grand Prix on July 7

Silverstone has one of the most expensive car parks, at £60 for its official Car Park 1 for the Formula 1 Grand Prix on July 7

Book in advance

Book a day in advance with the O2 for a £10 discount and pay £30. Discounts are not available on the day in a bid to stop people trying to save money by booking online on their way to the venue. Legoland offers a £2 discount by charging £8 if you book in advance. Venues such as Wimbledon are only available if you book in advance – so you must book ahead to get just a space with no discount.

Walk from another car park

Leave the house half an hour earlier and you are not only giving yourself time for delays, such as traffic jams, but providing an opportunity to park further away for less.

The Silverstone School Parking donates proceeds to the local Silverstone Primary school and local village charities. You pay £27 to park on a village grass car park (plus a £2.70 booking fee). You then take a 25-minute walk to get into the Formula One Grand Prix paddock.

For Glastonbury the main option is to park on site but just a 15-minute walk away is Ashcombe Park that wants £50. The main appeal is that it enables a quick getaway.

The O2 wants people to use its official Car Park 1 for events but other nearby official spots, Car Park 2, 3 and 4, allow pay-and-display for up to four hours at a cost of £11 and are just a ten-minute walk away from the arena. Alton Towers offers cheaper off-site parking for £10 – though you must factor in a 25-minute walk to the venue.

Park and ride

Silverstone offers a free shuttle service from Car Park 2 that costs £40. You can also pay £16 for a return park and ride shuttle service from either Milton Keynes, Northampton or Banbury train stations taking 25 minutes. Parking at Milton Keynes station is £5.70 for the day.

Visitors to the O2 can park at Stratford Multi-Storey car park can pay £10.20 for four hours, then take a 15-minute ride on the tube to North Greenwich, five minutes from the venue. The journey is £1.80 off-peak each way. The newly opened Co-op Live venue in Manchester has a ten-minute tram service from the city centre to the venue that runs every six minutes costing £3.80 each way. You can park at the Manchester city centre Q-Park Deansgate North for a four-hour stay costing £9.

There is also a park and ride service to Legoland from the Legoland Windsor resort and Windsor town that costs £2 each way and takes 15 minutes.

Book a private space

By tapping in a postcode, apps such as JustPark reveal car parking locations on a map

By tapping in a postcode, apps such as JustPark reveal car parking locations on a map

Smartphone apps such as JustPark and YourParkingSpace enable you to find homes close to a venue that have car park spaces they hire out.

By tapping in a postcode they reveal car parking locations on a map, along with prices charged. You pay in advance online via the app and never have to see the homeowner. The apps work best in locations with lots of houses nearby. You can park a 20-minute walk away from the O2 on Tunnel Avenue for £6 using JustPark. A 20-minute walk from Co-op Live on Dysart Street costs £11 on the same app. You can park on a drive in Queens Road for £10.88 and take a 20-minute walk to the tennis courts at Wimbledon by booking via YourParkingSpace. For £5 you can pay for a spot on Corderoy Place that is a 15-minute walk to Thorpe Park. That £5 also pays for a place on Perrycroft, a ten-minute walk from Legoland. Both of these options were found on YourParkingSpace.

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