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 three 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.
United Kingdom postcode areas
|Postcode area||Postcode area name|
|IM||Isle of Man|
Defunct postcode areas
London NE and S
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
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 UK 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, superficially resemble UK postcodes but are specific to individual addresses.
Note that a number of non-geographic postcode sectors are also contained within geographic postcode areas.
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, and for COVID-19 test samples.
|Amazon||XX10 1DD (Scottish Distribution Centre)|
XX50 1DD (Scottish Distribution Centre)
XX30 1FF (South West Distribution Centre)
|BT Group||XX10 1BT|
|John Lewis||XX10 1EE|
|Marks & Spencer||XX10 1SS|
|HP / Cycleon Retail Returns||XX40 1EH|
|Monsoon Accessorize||XX40 1EP|
|Biocentre (COVID-19 testing)||XX40 4FL|
|AstraZeneca (COVID-19 testing)||XX40 8AZ|
|Biocentre (COVID-19 testing) Scotland||XX50 5FL|
Certain British Overseas Territories introduced single postal codes for their territory or major sub-sections of it. These are not UK postcodes, even though many are formatted in a similar fashion:
|Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha:|
|British Indian Ocean Territory||BBND 1ZZ|
|British Antarctic Territory||BIQQ 1ZZ|
|Falkland Islands||FIQQ 1ZZ|
|Pitcairn Islands||PCRN 1ZZ|
|South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands||SIQQ 1ZZ|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||TKCA 1ZZ|
Other overseas territories have introduced their own more extensive postcode systems:
|Overseas Territory||Further information|
|Bermuda||Postal codes in Bermuda|
|Cayman Islands||Postal codes in the Cayman Islands|
|British Virgin Islands||Postal codes in the British Virgin Islands|
|Montserrat||Postal codes in Montserrat|
Mail to Overseas Territories is treated as international if posted in the UK.
- List of postcode areas in the United Kingdom by population
- List of postcode districts in the United Kingdom
- Postcodes in the United Kingdom
- UK Postcode Regions by Population
- Address Management Guide (5th ed.). Royal Mail Group plc. March 2007. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- HMSO, The Inner London Letter Post, (1980)
- Office for National Statistics (1999). The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom (PDF) (2000 ed.). London: The Stationery Office. "UK Postal Areas", map opposite p. 5. ISBN 0-11-621098-2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Manger, Warren (26 August 2014). "40 facts about the postcode to mark 40th anniversary as vital part of daily life". mirror.co.uk. mirror.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "History of the UK Postcode - Modern Origin". postcodearea.co.uk. postcodearea.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "Postcodes in the UK - Jonathan Rawle's Website". jonathan.rawle.org. Archived from the original on 29 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- Amazon Help [@AmazonHelp] (24 October 2016). "@MarkWickson This postcode is a non-geographic code used by us for returns carried by Royal Mail to our returns center Dunfermline, SCT. ^SW" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Anguilla Has a Postal Code, AI-2640". The Anguillian. 12 October 2007. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010.
- "First postcode for remote UK isle". BBC News. 7 August 2005. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008.
- "Rammell welcomes new Postcode for the Falkland Islands". Merco Press. 19 May 2003.
- Turks and Caicos Islands. Bureau International UPU.
Postcode area boundaries:
- Office for National Statistics - Postal geography
- OpenStreetMap - Postcode map
- Strowger net: postcodes of the UK
- UK Business Lists - Map of UK Postcodes
- Direct Marketing Lists UK postcode map
- Business Lists UK postcode map
- FREE Vector UK Postcode Maps
- PostcodeArea - Demographics, maps, crime rates, house prices and local information for all UK postcodes
- Strange Maps - Frank Jacobs - Diagrammatic Map