Updated March 2018 – this is our rolling guide to airport parking in the UK, something our reporters at Snow.Guide know lots about.
The UK is blessed with such a wide selection of regional airports that most of us are within an hour’s drive of one that has flights to the Alps in winter.
Most ski flights are early morning affairs and those dark mornings don’t make things any easier. This guide provides information on the car parking facilities we have used during the winter when flying out of the UK – if you’ve got any good recommendations then feel free to contact us with your tips as we don’t cover all UK airports.
So many flights and so many destinations. Here, the major airlines such as British Airways, SWISS, Lufthansa and SAS, carry enormous amounts of skiers throughout the winter to the Alps and Scandinavia.
One tip – SWISS still don’t charge for ski carriage which we really appreciate! Even airlines that are linked to specialist ski operators now charge extra for ski carriage, which we think is bonkers.
Parking wise, there’s lots of options but the official Heathrow Parking offers the most comprehensive package, but it tends to be the most expensive. SWISS and Lufthansa operate out of Terminal 2 now and BA terminal 5 and they have a dedicated Business parking option, or there’s short stay parking available at the terminal itself.
Another good option for Heathrow is NCP Heathrow Parking. For Terminals 2 and 3 they have their ‘Flightpath’ location, which is really close to the airport, just on the perimeter road. There’s an upgrade option to park close to the bus stop and allow for a flexible booking and generally prices here are much lower than the Heathrow Official parking. For Terminals 4 and 5, they use the Hilton Hotel site that is about a 20 minute bus journey, so it’s a bit of a longer haul.
Purple Parking also have a large operation at Heathrow with multiple options for different budgets Purple Parking. There’s a Park & Ride on the edge of the Northern Perimeter Road that’s about a ten minute journey – but it’s efficient. There’s also a Meet & Greet service at all terminals.
Time saving: Short term
Hassle saving: NCP
Money Saving: NCP and Purple Parking
We find parking at Gatwick very simple and the official on-site parking is very convenient if you want to use the short stay car park, although there’s a real premium on price and any long stay trips would end up being very expensive.
There are many airlines operating ski flights out of Gatwick including Easy Jet, Tui (formally Thomson and the airline for Crystal Holidays), British Airways, Norwegian and Air Transat for Canada.
A great option for ski holidays is Cophall Parking – they are Gatwick specialists and although they are based offsite, the operation is really efficient and the bus journey takes around ten minutes, with regular departures. Prices are highly competitive and it’s a good value option, especially for trips of one week or more. They also operate a meet & greet terminal service too. Cophall Parking
The best luxury option is the valet parking, located in the short term car park right by the terminal buildings. Park your car, leave your keys at reception and return with a clean car – all just a few minutes walk from the check in desk.
Time Saving: On-site short stay car park
Hassle saving: Valet Parking and Cophall Meet & Greet
Money Saving: Cophall Parking
Birmingham Airport might not be large, but it’s a hassle free (most of the time), modern place to use for winter ski flights.
There’s quite a few airlines to choose from including Tui, SWISS, Ryanair and Jet2.
The official airport parking is all operated by the NCP group.
The short term parking right next to the terminals is great for very short trips and you simply walk two minutes from car to terminal, but of course costs accordingly – although prices are lower than at the London airports and the difference between the short term and the long term is less than you might expect. The long term option requires a short bus ride of about five minutes.
There’s also a Valet Parking option, also operated by NCP – park on ground level, hand your keys over and walk into the terminal. Really convenient.
Time Saving: Short Stay parking
Hassle saving: Valet Parkeing
Money Saving: Long Stay
The South West region is a hotspot for skiers and snowboarders, so Bristol Airport is well geared up to handle them, despite its slightly tight space and annoyingly exposed runway that does tend to get winter weather issues – well, it certainly has during the 2018 winter.
The main ski airline is Easy Jet.
There’s a few different car parking options, most of them operated by the airport. These include, Meet & Greet (about a 50 metre walk from the terminal), Premier (about 150 metre walk), Long Stay (either a 3/4 minute walk or the same on a bus) and the Silver Zone, that is just offsite and includes a 5 minute bus ride that is easy and efficient.
This winter, we also tried Goblin Parking at Goblin Farm. It was nearly half the price of any official airport parking. The location is a little tricky to get to with a five minute drive down a single lane road – not easy at 5am, in the snow and the dark, but once there we were taken swiftly to the terminal and on return, collected efficiently too. We would use it again and although it takes more time than the official Bristol car parks, it was worth the saving. Goblin Parking