A guide to UK toll roads and bridges

A guide to UK toll roads and bridges
There are 23 tolls, or toll roads, in the UK; 18 of which are river crossings.

If you spend a lot of your time travelling around the country it's highly likely that you'll encounter one of the toll roads in the UK, which isn’t a motorist’s favourite pastime.

To help make this process as easy as possible our guide offers everything you need to know about toll roads from where they are, to why you have to pay them and how much they will cost you to use.

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UK Tolls – need to know info

Paying for road tolls in the UK is hardly popular with motorists but there are justified reasons for setting charges even though it might not feel that way when we're forking out a few quid to cross a bridge. 

What are toll roads?

A toll road is a public road that charges motorists a fee to use; you'll literally have to pay to continue driving along a road, or crossing a bridge, or even a particular area.

Why do I have to pay tolls?

Toll road fees go towards road maintenance costs and also to help fund construction work and road improvements - and it's the UK's network of motorways and bridges that make our road trips quicker and more efficient.

Can I avoid tolls?

If you're setting off on an unfamiliar journey it's worth using our RAC route planner beforehand to check whether you'll need to account for any UK tolls and ensure you have the means to pay.

You can use the route planner to try and plan around toll roads also, however, you might find in many instances the time spent avoiding them isn’t worth the cost of paying.

Want to protect yourself against any losses after an accident? Get legal expenses insurance for just £15 a year with RAC Legal Care Plus.

Where are the UK tolls?

Some of them are well known - the M6 Toll just outside Birmingham and the Dartford River Crossing are two prime examples - but there are also some truly obscure UK tolls.

Let's take a look at the most expensive toll roads in the UK, and some of the most common tolls that catch drivers out, so you know where they are and how much they cost. This handy toll road map details the 13 major tolls and bridges in the UK:

How much are UK tolls?

Each UK toll and bridge has its own pricing tariff, which varies depending on the type of vehicle you're driving. If you're driving a motorcycle, you'll usually pay a lower fee than if you're driving a van or HGV.

The time of day can make a difference too - it can be cheaper to pass through a toll during night-time hours than peak time. Before travelling, it's best to consult each individual toll pricing chart so you're prepared.

The current rates (correct as of time of writing, July 2023) for cars crossing these tolls roads in the UK, during peak time, are: 

Name of tollCar crossing charge
M6 Toll - West Midlands£8.60
M25 - Dartford River Crossing£2.50
A4 - Batheaston Bridge£0.80
A15 - Humber Bridge£1.50
A19 - Tyne Tunnels£2.20
A38 - Tamar Bridge£2.60
A41 - Mersey Tunnels - Queensway£2.00
A59 - Mersey Tunnels - Kingsway£2.00
A57 - Dunham Bridge£0.50
A3025 - Itchen Bridge£1.00
A533 - Mersey Gateway Bridge£2.00
A533 - Silver Jubilee Bridge£2.00

Toll trivia: did you know?

In September 2016 the BBC reported that nearly 3.5m fines had been issued to drivers for non-payment of crossing charges since the toll booths were removed at the Dartford River Crossing.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge - a Grade 1 listed structure - first opened to the public on December 8, 1864.

Horses crossing the Cleddau Bridge Toll in Pembrokeshire are charged 35p.

Scotland abolished all of its toll roads in 2008.

The M6 Toll was built to carry 72,000 vehicles a day - but now has to cope with up to 145,000 on a daily basis!

Swinford Bridge in Oxfordshire, a privately owned toll bridge, was sold at auction for £1.08m in 2009. The charge for a car to cross is just 5p.

The Aldwark Toll Bridge in Yorkshire was hit by an iceberg in the 19th Century and needed to be rebuilt.

Shrewsbury's Kingsland Bridge has a 1p 'no obligatory charge' for pedestrians and cyclists.

There's more to RAC than just breakdown cover:

UK toll roads - FAQs

  • How much are the tolls on M6?

    New prices for the M6 toll were put into place on January 13 2023. The cost for the toll ranges from £2.60 to £14.40. This can vary due to type of vehicle and the time and date you make your journey. Learn more here.

  • Is the M6 Toll worth it?

    The M6 Toll cuts about 25 minutes from your journey at an average cost of £5-6 per journey. Although it may not be worth it everyday, if you are in a rush and need to cut time from your journey, then it can be worth the price.

  • How do I pay the M6 Toll?

    There are two main options when paying for the M6 toll. The first is using the toll booths on the motorway itself. You can use your bank cards or fuel card to make this payment.

    The second option is one that is issued to you after travelling through the toll. To pay your notice online, you can also pay via mobile text link, or call the customer services team.

  • How does tag work on M6 Toll?

    To travel through the M6 toll, you can pay by credit, debit or fuel card. However, you can also use the TAG system - an electronic pre-paid device. It gives you 5% off every trip, and means you’ll save on journeys if you regularly use this road.

  • Can you pay cash on the M6?

    The M6 toll does not accept cash - only bank cards, fuel cards, or through the pre-paid TAG system.

  • Where does the M6 Toll road start and finish?

    The M6

    toll lasts for 27 miles along a stretch of motorway from the M6 (Junction 3a)/th M42 (Junction 9) and through the Midlands, re-joining the M6 at Junction 11a (near Cannock).

  • What fuel cards can you use to pay M6 Toll?

    All Keyfuel and Allstar Fuel cards are accepted on the M6 tolls. If you have another one then contact the M6 Toll team.