I don’t know about you, but the family and I are really enjoying being able to go out to places again. Even once the big parks started to open up earlier in the summer, we didn’t really want to take the boys – at least, not for very long anyway.
I’m so much more relaxed now if we go out, because I know the cafes are open to get a drink or an ice-cream (take-away and contactless payment, but that’s fine by me). And I’m not constantly watching the clock to make sure we get home before one of them needs the loo!
On Thursday, we went out to Harewood House with Tim’s brother – a beautiful spot if you’re ever up near Leeds. We booked our tickets and paid on their website (you can do that for a lot of National Trust properties now as well), then all I needed to do was show the woman on the gate my phone. In the gardens, there were one-way paths laid out, so we didn’t have to worry about squeezing past people. And the cafes and ice-cream carts took contactless card payments. A thoroughly lovely and stress-free day.
And we weren’t the only ones looking for a relaxing day out in the sunshine. This week, we have a special guest appearance in the newsletter from Claire, who’s going to tell you about a great little app she found for a trip to Harrogate.
Over to you, Claire…
Last weekend I met my big sister in Harrogate for a socially-distanced sandwich and coffee. It was the first time I’d been on a long journey since March, and I was a bit concerned about using the parking meters (and my purse was pretty empty, after sitting for months in an abandoned handbag). So I had a look on the Harrogate parking website, to see if it had any contactless options for car parking – and it did! It mentioned that you can now pay for your parking anywhere in town using an app called AppyParking – all through your mobile phone. Instead of the traffic wardens just checking you’ve paid and displayed, they also now have the ability to look up your car registration number and check if you’ve paid through the app.
You need to set the app up before you start, but it’s not complicated – first download AppyParking from your app store. When you first open it, you need to agree to let it use your phone’s location services, so that it all works properly. You’ll then need to set up an account using an email address and password, and click a link in an email from them to confirm it’s all working.
When I was planning my journey I made sure the car park I wanted to go to was covered (you can do this by looking in the menu for City coverage and use the map to check which car parks you can use). I also made sure the app had all the details it would need – the registration number for the car I was driving, and my payment card details. Good to go.
At the car park, I opened the app on my phone and chose the car park I was in, then tapped “Start session”. It asked how many hours I needed and that was that. Near the end of the time, it asked me if I wanted to extend the session. I didn’t want to, but it’s a handy feature (much easier than abandoning the queue and running across town to stick an extra hour on!). When I got back to my car I just tapped “End session” on my phone before I drove off and that was that. Easy! Then when I got home I found an emailed receipt for the parking charge (plus a small fee for using the service – it was 20p for my car park, but it’s 30p in most of Harrogate – probably more in big cities).
AppyParking works in Harrogate, but also in 46 other towns and cities over the country – London, Cambridge, Warwick, Kirklees… to mention a few. So it’s not everywhere, by all means, but it’s definitely worth a look if you’re going to be travelling somewhere where you’ll need to use a car park, and you either don’t like carrying cash around or just don’t want to go near the Pay & Display machines!
Thanks for that, Claire – what a great idea. Saves a lot of faffing about, anyway.
That’s all from us for this week.