Walk NI’s Guide to Parking in the Outdoors

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Pete Snodden tries to park his car

Parking can be stressful. We’ve all been there – the gang packed into the car, ready for whatever insane combination the Northern Irish weather has planned and playing a depressingly long round of ‘Musical Chairs’ in the car park, waiting to leap into action at the glimmer of a reverse light.

Shouts of “Are we there yet?” and “I want to go home” from disgruntled passengers, which exasperates things because everyone knows you can see parking spaces better with no noise. By the time you’ve successfully swerved into a space ahead of the car in front of you, you’re almost ready to leave for home again.

Don’t believe us? Check out our latest video with Cool FM DJ, Pete Snodden, doing a recreation of a family day out that many of us can identify with! https://fb.watch/5LdGNd9rCD/ 

Thankfully, at WalkNI we’ve come up with a guide to help avoid these stressful situations and get you there efficiently, get you parked up without any problems, setting the tone of your day enjoy the outdoors responsibly.


  1. Go Early

It’s similar to getting the towels down on the sun loungers when you’re on holiday. The earlier you go, the better your space and once you’re parked you don’t have to worry.

Clock on a bench

Pack the car the night before so all you have to worry about in the morning is getting yourself out. Going early puts your mind at ease, knowing you’ll not have to wait in queues or spend half an hour circling the car park for spaces. If things don’t work out and you realise you’re going to be late – we suggest looking at our next piece of advice…

  1. Have a Plan B

It’s not always possible to get out at the crack of dawn. Kids can have tantrums, spouses have tantrums, cars have tantrums. If your go to destination is full up and you don’t fancy sitting in a queue of 80 cars (surprisingly this is not an exaggeration) always have a backup option.

Traffic jam with standstill cars

Your originally planned site might be really attractive, but there really is enough outdoors to go around for everyone. We promise you’ll find another site relatively nearby. Need inspiration? Check out destinations on websites like Walkni.com and Outmoreni.com

  1. Park in designated spaces

We have to be blunt with this bit of advice. Do not park anywhere that isn’t a designated car parking space for the outdoors. Spaces are placed there for a reason and if you park elsewhere, you could be blocking an entrance or cause even more congestion and confusion for other drivers. After all, if one person has parked there, it must be okay for others to park there – right? Nope, wrong. But you won’t have to worry about this, as you’ll be there nice and early! Right guys?

No parking sign in a field

  1. Don’t Park in Front of Farmer’s Gates

Imagine heading out your front door to go to work. You walk towards you car when you notice someone has parked across your driveway, blocking your way out. You’d understandably be annoyed and likely have some choice words for the driver when they showed up again.

Farmers gate in front of blue sky

This is what it feels like for farmers when people enjoying the outdoors park in front of their gates. A gate is literally intended to allow farmers access to their fields; if you’re blocking it, you’re stopping him or her from doing their job.

  1. Remember Emergency Services

Emergency services are there to protect us all. If fire roads are blocked, car parks jammed or there are vehicles sticking out randomly on the road to an outdoor site, it could potentially prevent emergency services from getting to where they need to be on time, risking other people’s lives.

3 emergency service staff on a hillside

  1. Alternative Transport

Sometimes it’s nice to avoid the car altogether – why not take the bus or train to your destination, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, walk or cycle there. It will free up space for others who can’t use these options. There are so many places connected by public transport, it makes it easier to ditch the car and avoid the car park space altogether!

Bus on a road

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