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UK staycations – where to stay for free EV charging


Are you one of the thousands of EV drivers planning your next UK staycation? With the summer season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan your holiday and the destinations, attractions and beauty spots you’d like to visit. But if you’re travelling longer distances, making sure you’ve got the best charging points exactly where you need them, means one less thing to worry about. 

And what’s better than enjoying a cup of coffee outside in the sunshine while your car is charging – for free! So, if you’re wondering where to charge your electric car for free while chasing your summer adventures, we’ve got the answers for you. 

Where’s best to charge your electric car while you’re on holiday in the UK?

When considering getting an electric car, some people might be a little worried about powering up when they’re out and about or on holiday in the UK. But with electric cars gaining more and more popularity and the charging infrastructure growing daily, this is a myth we’re about to bust. 

Public charging points are being installed in the UK’s cities and more remote areas at unprecedented levels, and over the last decade, their number has evened out against the number of petrol stations. 

Osprey has a great interactive map of all their public chargepoints (below), but if you need something while you’re on the move, an app like Zapmap will allow you to locate over 59,000 chargers nationwide.

Major cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham now have thousands of charging stations, including many fast chargers that can top up an EV battery in under an hour.

Plus, with government initiatives and private sector investments, the charging infrastructure continues to grow daily, making it easier than ever for electric car drivers to find a charging point, whether in bustling city centres or the beautiful rural countryside. 

And finally, let’s not forget about the charging points installed in car parks across supermarkets, shopping centres, hotels and workplaces – but more on those further down! 

Electric car plugged in a rapid charging point

How to find the best free electric car chargers when driving to your staycation?

Looking at what matters when travelling longer distances if you are trying to cut costs, free electric car charging is a good place to start! 

You may be surprised that there are lots of free electric car charging points all around the UK. According to recent research2, from nearly 60,000 charging devices recorded by Zapmap, more than 2,300 of them are free to use. That means around 4% of charging stations in the UK won’t cost you a penny when you’re out and about. 

But where do you go to find a free electric car charger? Let’s take a look:

UK Regions

The South East prides itself on the highest number of free electric car chargepoints, followed by Scotland, Greater London, South West and North West. 

Areas like the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland and East Midlands don’t have as many free options, but they still have plenty of paid-for chargers. 

Here’s the breakdown of all available chargepoints in the UK, including both free and paid:

Geographical Area in the UKNumber of EV charge devices
Greater London19,834
South East7,309
West Midlands5,129
South West4,386
East of England4,146
North west3,940
Yorkshire and the Humber3,087
East Midlands2,844
North East1,791
Northern Ireland577

Source: Zapmap charging points data

Public spaces, supermarkets and car parks

The best place to head for free electric car charging, according to Zapmap’s study are public car parks as they offer the highest number of free electric vehicle chargepoints, with 433 chargers found all around the UK. You can also find free chargers in car dealership forecourts, retail car parks and workplace car parks. 

Although behind other leading trends for chargepoint locations, supermarkets are investing in their EV infrastructure (although not all of them are free!). If you are visiting a town for the day, you could leave your car charging at a supermarket, but bear in mind that the free charging may be slow and you may have restrictions on the length of time allowed to stay in the car park.

Take a look below:

SupermarketNumber of EV chargepoints

Source: Zapmap – Super charged: More than one-in-10 UK supermarkets now offer EV charging

Destination charging at attractions in the UK

And finally, with the summer season in our sights, tourist attractions and popular holiday destinations are preparing for the busiest time of the year. But with an increasing number of electric car drivers in the UK, they must provide charging provisions for visitors, especially if they have travelled a long way otherwise it may put visitors off coming!

Many popular destinations, such as theme parks, museums, zoos and National Trust properties now offer free electric car charging to encourage customers to visit them. 

Similarly, many hotels, B&Bs and leisure areas have the option to charge your electric car for free, with ZeroNet charity playing a key role in improving the free charging network. 

Man texting on phone while charging electric car

Hotels with EV charging UK

When you’ve finally arrived at your holiday destination, or maybe you need somewhere to rest for the night before continuing your journey again later, if you have an electric car, you’ll undoubtedly have your next charge at the back of your mind. This is why it’s important to plan ahead and choose a hotel with EV charging ready and waiting for you.

There are countless chains and unique accommodations across the UK, but we’ve pulled together some great options for you to consider.

According to Premier Inn’s website, they have 91 connections across the UK, where Travelodge has over 140 EV points either on site or nearby.

Zapmap reveals that Holiday Inn has 76 and Best Western has 59 connections. At the other end of Zapmap’s list is Marriott with just 4 and Radisson Blu with 9 connections.

From Devon to the Isle of Wight, to London or Edinburgh – Airbnb could also have the perfect house or apartment rental with EV charger for you. Their site allows you to filter on properties that only include EV chargers. You’ll need to check individual listings to see if EV charging is complimentary or charged for.

Travelodge EV charging locations

Travelodge has a dedicated page on their website listing all of the 140+ hotel locations, from Birmingham and Exeter, to London or Swansea – all with electric car charging either onsite or nearby (some free, some paid).

Premier Inn EV charging locations*

Here are all 91 of Premier Inn’s hotel locations with an EV connector (likely not free) – take a look at Premier Inn’s website for the most up-to-date version.

Aberdeen City CentreGloucester Business ParkNorthampton West (Harpole)
AlnwickGloucester (Little Witcombe)Nottingham Castle Marina
AviemoreGranthamOldham (Broadway)
Balsall Common near NECGreenockOxford South (Didcot)
Barrow-in-FurnessHastingsPaignton South (Brixham Road)
Bishop AucklandHaylePeterborough North
Bristol Cribbs CausewayInverness Centre (Millburn Rd)St Albans / Bricketwood
Burton on Trent CentralIpswich SouthRamsgate (Manston Airport)
Burton on Trent EastIpswich NorthRugeley
Cambridge North (Girton)KetteringSeaton
Cannock SouthKilmarnockStafford North (Spitfire)
Cardiff WestKings LynnStirling City Centre
Carlisle (M6 Jct 42)Leeds South (Birstall)Solihull (Hockley Heath, M42)
Cheltenham North WestLincoln (Canwick)Solihull South (M42)
Chesterfield NorthLlanelli Central EastStourbridge Town Centre
Clacton-On-Sea (Seafront)LiskeardSunderland A19/A1231
Derby SouthLittlehamptonTamworth Central
Derby EastLivingston (M8, Jct 3)Tamworth South
Dunbarton / Loch LomondLondon EnfieldTaunton Central (North)
Dundee WestLondon RainhamTaunton Ruishton (M5, J25)
DunfermlineManchester (Sale)Tewkesbury
Dunstable/ LutonManchester Trafford Centre NorthThetford
Durham NorthManchester (Denton)Ulverston
Edinburgh (South Queensferry)MatlockUttoxeter
Falkirk CentralMerthyr TydfilWare
Felixstowe Town CentreMilton Keynes (Willen Lake)Wigan (M6 Jct 25)
Gillingham Business ParkMonmouthWolverhampton North
Glasgow (Braehead)Newark
Glasgow EastNewcastle-under-Lyme
Glasgow (Cumbernauld)
Glasgow Pacific Quay (SECC)
Glasgow (Paisley)

*Information correct as of June 2024.

Spending time off in holiday cottages across the UK is becoming increasingly popular, as they usually offer their visitors a peaceful setting in the countryside while providing an extra space to walk a dog or enjoy outdoor games.

So, if you’re an EV driver looking for a more independent, quiet location for your next staycation, below we’ve listed some of the popular UK holiday cottage websites offering free EV charging to their visitors:

Happy women having fun on a road trip in convertible

Things to remember about EV charging while you’re on holiday

  1. The best way to spot free charging stations is by using apps like Zapmap or PlugShare that provide real-time data on charger locations, availability, and compatibility with individual electric car models.
  2. If you’re relying on your accommodation or hotel for charging your car, double check on its exact location and any charges or fees that may be incurred for charging your electric car.
  3. Whilst the majority of chargepoints support the most common connector types you should always check your electric car is compatible with the point you’ve chosen. 
  4. Don’t forget that some chargepoints have time limits to ensure they’re used fairly and offer availability to as many drivers. 
  5. Once your car is charged, move to free up the space for others. Some locations have policies against leaving cars parked at charging points longer than necessary, especially at busy sites.

If you want to dive deeper into the world of electric car charging, we have an Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging, check it out!

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