The list of postcode areas in the United Kingdom is a tabulation of the postcode areas used by Royal Mail for the purposes of directing mail within the United Kingdom. The postcode area is the largest geographical unit used and forms the initial characters of the alphanumeric UK postcode.There are currently 121 geographic postcode areas in use in the UK and a further 3 often combined with these covering the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man.
Each postcode area is further divided into post towns and postcode districts.There are on average 20 postcode districts to a postcode area. The London post town is instead divided into several postcode areas.
The single or pair of letters chosen for postcode areas are generally intended as a mnemonic for the places served.Postcode areas, post towns and postcode districts do not follow political boundaries and usually serve much larger areas than the place names with which they are associated. For example, within the PA postcode area the PA1 and PA78 postcode districts are 140 miles apart; and the eight postcode areas of the London post town cover only 40% of Greater London. The remainder of its area is covered by sections of twelve adjoining postcode areas: EN, IG, RM, DA, BR, TN, CR, SM, KT, TW, HA and UB.
|Postcode area||Postcode area name||Code formation|
|DG||Dumfries||Dumfries and Galloway|
|EC||East Central London|
|IG||Ilford||Possibly Ilford and Barking|
|KA||Kilmarnock||Possibly Kilmarnock and Ayr or Kilmarnock|
|KT||Kingston upon Thames|
|NE||Newcastle upon Tyne|
|NW||North West London|
|SE||South East London|
|SM||Sutton||Possibly Sutton and Morden, the two post towns that are within the SM area|
|SW||South West London|
|WC||West Central London|
The Crown dependencies (which are not part of the United Kingdom) did not introduce postcodes until later, but use a similar coding scheme. They are separate postal authorities.
|Postcode area||Postcode area name|
|IM||Isle of Man|
Glasgow, like London, was divided into compass districts: C, W, NW, N, E, SE, S, SW. When postcodes were introduced, these were mapped into the new G postcode: C1 became G1, W1 became G11, N1 became G21, E1 became G31, S1 became G41, SW1 became G51, and so on. As NW and SE had never been subdivided they became G20 and G40 respectively.
Norwich and Croydon were used for a postcode experiment in the late 1960s, which was replaced by the current system. The format was of the form NOR or CRO followed by two numbers and a letter, e.g. NOR 07A.
When Ireland was a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland a postal district system was introduced in 1917 by the British government. The letter "D" was assigned to Dublin. Upon the establishment of the Irish Free State and later, the Republic of Ireland, the Irish government retained the designation and today it forms part of the Eircode system. Interestingly, the postcode was never reassigned within the United Kingdom after Irish independence and there is no "D" postcode area in the UK to this day. Modern postcodes used in Dublin, and Ireland, are more precise than those of UK cities, even though they superficially resemble them.
Note that a number of non-geographic postcode sectors are also contained within geographic postcode areas.
GIR 0AA is a postcode created for Girobank in Bootle. It remained in use by its successors when Girobank was taken over by Alliance & Leicester and subsequently by Santander UK.
The BF postcode area was introduced in 2012 to provide optional postcodes for British Forces Post Office addresses, for consistency with the layout of other UK addresses. It uses the national non-geographic post town "BFPO" and, as of 2012, the postcode district "BF1".
The non-geographic postcode area BX has been introduced for addresses which do not include a locality: this allows large organisations long-term flexibility as to where they receive their mail. This postcode area is used by Lloyds Banking Group (BX1 1LT) and parts of the HM Revenue and Customs like VAT Central Unit (BX5 5AT) and Pay as You Earn (BX9 1AS). Lloyds Bank also use BX4. After splitting from Lloyds, TSB Bank uses BX4 7SB, the latter part of which, when written, looks similar to "TSB".
The non-geographic postcode area XX is used by online retailers for returns by Royal Mail.
|Amazon.co.uk||XX10 1DD (Scottish Distribution Centre) |
XX50 1DD (ditto)
XX30 1FF (South West Distribution Centre)
|John Lewis||XX10 1EE|
|Monsoon Accessorize||XX40 1EP|
|Biocentre (COVID-19 testing)||XX40 4FL|
|AstraZeneca (COVID-19 testing)||XX40 8AZ|
Certain British Overseas Territories have postcodes:
| Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha: |
Tristan da Cunha
|BBND 1ZZ||British Indian Ocean Territory|
|BIQQ 1ZZ||British Antarctic Territory|
|FIQQ 1ZZ||Falkland Islands|
|PCRN 1ZZ||Pitcairn Islands|
|SIQQ 1ZZ||South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands|
|TKCA 1ZZ||Turks and Caicos Islands|
|BFPO 57 / BF1 2AT(Akrotiri) |
BFPO 58 / BF1 2AU (Dhekelia)
|Akrotiri and Dhekelia|
|List||British Virgin Islands|
These were introduced to prevent mail being sent to the wrong place, e.g., for St Helena to St Helens, Merseysideand Ascension Island to Asunción, Paraguay, and many on-line companies will not accept addresses lacking a postcode. Such mail is treated as international, not inland, so sufficient postage must be used.
A postal code is a series of letters or digits or both, sometimes including spaces or punctuation, included in a postal address for the purpose of sorting mail.
Postal codes used in the United Kingdom are known as postcodes. They are alphanumeric and were adopted nationally between 11 October 1959 and 1974, having been devised by the General Post Office. A full postcode is known as a "postcode unit" and designates an area with several addresses or a single major delivery point.
The London postal district is the area in England of 241 square miles (620 km2) to which mail addressed to the LONDON post town is delivered. The General Post Office at the control of the Postmaster General directed Sir Rowland Hill to devise the area in 1856 and throughout its history has been subject to gradual periodic reorganisation and division into increasingly smaller postal units, with the early loss of two compass points and a minor retraction in 1866. It was integrated by the Post Office into the national postcode system of the United Kingdom during the early 1970s and corresponds to the N, NW, SW, SE, W, WC, E and EC postcode areas. The postal district has also been known as the London postal area. The County of London was much smaller, at 117 square miles (300 km2), but Greater London is much larger at 607 square miles (1,570 km2).
The W postcode area, also known as the London W postcode area is a group of postcode districts covering part of central and part of west London, England. The area originates from the Western (W1) and Paddington (W2-14) districts of the London postal district.
The postal counties of the United Kingdom, now known as former postal counties, were postal subdivisions in routine use by the Royal Mail until 1996. The purpose of the postal county – as opposed to any other kind of county – was to aid the sorting of mail by differentiating between like-sounding post towns. Since 1996 this has been done by using the outward code of the postcode instead. For operational reasons the former postal counties, although broadly based on the counties of the United Kingdom, did not match up with their boundaries: in some cases there were significant differences. The boundaries changed over time as post towns were created or amended.
The E (Eastern) postcode area, also known as the London E postcode area, is the part of the London post town covering much of the east of Greater London, England as well as Sewardstone, Essex. It borders the N postcode area to the west, equally north of the tidal Thames. Since closure of the East London mail centre its mail is sorted at Romford Mail Centre as for IG and RM postcode areas.
A post town is a required part of all postal addresses in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and a basic unit of the postal delivery system. Including the correct post town in the address increases the chance of a letter or parcel being delivered on time. Post towns in general originated as the location of delivery offices. As of 2004, their main function is to distinguish between localities or street names in addresses not including a postcode.
In the United Kingdom, the postcode lottery is the unequal provision of services such as healthcare, education and insurance prices depending on the geographic area or postcode. Postcodes can directly affect the services an area can obtain, such as insurance prices. Despite having many non-postal uses, postcodes are only determined based on Royal Mail operations and bear little relation to local government boundaries. More broadly, there is an unequal provision of services around the country, especially in public services, such as access to cancer drugs in the healthcare system or quality of education. These are more likely to be a result of local budgets and decision-making than actual postcodes.
A "postal address" in the Republic of Ireland is a place of delivery defined by Irish Standard (IS) EN 14142-1:2011 and serviced by the universal service provider, An Post. Its addressing guides comply with the guidelines of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the United Nations-affiliated body responsible for promoting standards in the postal industry, across the world.
The BT postcode area, also known as the Belfast postcode area, covers all of Northern Ireland and was the last part of the United Kingdom to be coded, between 1970 and 1974.
The S postcode area, also known as the Sheffield postcode area, is a group of postcode districts in England, which are subdivisions of eight post towns. These cover most of South Yorkshire, parts of north Derbyshire and north-west Nottinghamshire.
The NW postcode area, also known as the London NW postcode area, is a group of 13 postcode districts covering around 13,895 live postcodes within part of northwest London, England. It is the successor of the NW sector, originally created as part of the London postal district in 1856.
The SE postcode area covers a broad radial swathe of the south-east of the London post town from the Albert Embankment to West Heath and the nearest edges of Sidcup and Selhurst. It loosely corresponds to the Boroughs named after Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich plus indicated parts of those named after Croydon (north), Lambeth (east), Bexley (west) and Bromley.
The NE postcode area, also known as the Newcastle upon Tyne postcode area, is a group of 61 postcode districts in north-east England, within 34 post towns. These cover most of Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, plus a very small part of northern County Durham.
The N (Northern) postcode area, also known as the London N postcode area, is the part of the London post town covering part of North London, England.
The G postcode area, also known as the Glasgow postcode area, is a group of postcode districts in central Scotland, within five post towns. These districts are primarily centered on Glasgow itself, and West Dunbartonshire, plus parts of the council areas of Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire and Stirling.
The JE postcode area, also known as the Jersey postcode area, is a group of postal districts covering Jersey.
The SW postcode area, also known as the London SW postcode area, is a group of 29 postcode districts of a broad radial swathe of southwest London, England covering around 19.890 live postcodes as far as Mortlake, Streatham and Raynes Park. The area straightforwardly succeeds a shorter-lived South Western (SW1–SW10) and Battersea (SW11–SW20) split between its components of the London post town.
Postcodes in Australia are used to more efficiently sort and route mail within the Australian postal system. Postcodes in Australia have four digits and are placed at the end of the Australian address, before the country. Postcodes were introduced in Australia in 1967 by the Postmaster-General's Department and are now managed by Australia Post, Australia's national postal service. Postcodes are published in booklets available from post offices or online from the Australia Post website.
Postcode area boundaries: