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While you're staying in Woolacombe during the summer you'll probably drive to the beach from time to time. We've learnt the hard way over the years about the different places to park, including the pros and cons of each, and thought we should share the wisdom. If you want to get the best out of your day at the beach, read on...

The Esplanade

Type: Pay and Display.
Location: Esplanade Road is the main road running from the north end of Woolacombe Beach to Combesgate Beach.
Time limit: 4 hours.
Pros: A short walk to the beach. The only parking with close access to Barricane Beach and Combsegate Beach.
Cons: A time limit of 4 hours can mean your day is limited. You have to get there early.
Watch out: The first few spaces near the north end of Woolacombe Beach are for taxis only, and limited to 30 minutes.

Town centre

Type: Free.
Location: Parts of West Road and South Street, by the shops.
Time limit: 30 minutes during the daytime.
Pros: Quick access to the shops and restaurants.
Cons: A time limit of 30 minutes means you can't use these for the day. Restrictions are lifted in the evening so these spaces are useful for the restaurants at dinner time.
Watch out: Parking wardens patrol during peak season and will ticket you if they catch you going over 30 minutes.

Marine Drive

Type: Pay on entry.
Location: The car park is the long road behind the sand dunes at Woolacombe beach.
Time limit: All day. Parking closes at 10pm.
Pros: Cheap. Access to much quieter parts of the beach and the stunning walks through the dunes. You can leave and re-enter on the same day as long as there is space.
Cons: It can be hard work lugging all your beach equipment up and down the dunes.
Watch out: The car park is locked at night by means of a barrier so get out before it comes down!

The Golf Course

Type: Pay on entry.
Location: The car park is on Barton Road (a one way street) to the side of the Red Barn pub.
Time limit: All day. Parking closes at 10pm, and sometimes 11pm.
Pros: The cheapest car park for all-day parking near the main beach. Stays open longer than the other car parks. You can leave and re-enter on the same day as long as there is space.
Cons: The gravel surface can be a little hard on bare feet!
Watch out: The car park is locked at night by means of a barrier so get out before it comes down!

Esplanade Car Park

Type: Pay on exit.
Location: The car park is the main one above Woolacombe beach. The entrance is right next to 'Big Al's Little Place' (great for a post-surf ice cream!)
Time limit: All day. Parking closes at 10pm.
Pros: Close to the main beach.
Cons: No re-entry once you've exited, without paying the parking fee again.
Watch out: You can't get back in for free so make sure you're really ready to leave! The car park is locked at night by means of a barrier so get out before it comes down.