List of counties of the United Kingdom

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This is a list of the counties of the United Kingdom. The history of local government in the United Kingdom differs between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the subnational divisions within these which have been called counties have varied over time and by purpose. The county has formed the upper tier of local government over much of the United Kingdom at one time or another,[1] and has been used for a variety of other purposes, such as for Lord Lieutenants, land registration and postal delivery. This list is split by constituent country, time period and purpose.

Colour key in tables below
Green: Current official status
Yellow: Historical or superseded status

England[edit]

Changes between the 1990s and 2009 subdivided the short-lived non-metropolitan counties of Cleveland and Humberside into unitary authorities, but the former county names continue for fire services and police forces (see Non-metropolitan county § List of non-metropolitan counties). Similarly the short-lived county of Avon provides part of the area and name of Avon and Somerset Police and its area is roughly that of the Avon Fire and Rescue Service.

The historic counties of Yorkshire, Cumberland, Westmorland, Huntingdonshire and Middlesex are the five defunct ceremonial counties which were historically counties. With their abolition as ceremonial counties, Yorkshire is divided for that purpose into the East Riding of Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire, Cumberland and Westmorland were combined with a former exclave of Lancashire to form Cumbria, Huntingdonshire merged into Cambridgeshire, and the vastly greater part of Middlesex became part of Greater London.

Contemporary reference to the Isle of Ely and nearby Soke of Peterborough has been very rare since the early 20th century and they have scant public resonance. The counties marked in italics below are neither ceremonial nor historic.

The list does not include the 61 county boroughs (1889–1974) or the 18 counties corporate (before 1889), each of which was an administrative county for a single town or city, within a larger "county-at-large".

County Current
ceremonial
[2]
From 1974[3] Postal
1974–1996
[4]
1889–1974 Before 1889
Metropolitan Non-metropolitan County Administrative
Avon Yes 1974–1996 Yes
Bath and North East Somerset UA 1996+[5]
Bedfordshire Yes Yes 1974–2009 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bedford UA 2009+[5]
Berkshire Yes Yes[6] Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blackburn with Darwen UA 1998+[5]
Blackpool UA 1998+[5]
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole UA 2019+[5]
Bournemouth UA 1997–2019[5]
Brighton and Hove UA 1997+[5]
Bristol Yes UA 1996+[5] Special post town Yes County borough County corporate
Buckinghamshire Yes Yes (and UA 2020+) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cambridgeshire Yes Yes Yes Yes 1889–1965 Yes 1889–1965 Yes
Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely Yes 1965–1974 Yes 1965–1974
Central Bedfordshire UA 2009+[5]
Cheshire Yes Yes 1974–2009 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cheshire East UA 2009+[5]
Cheshire West and Chester UA 2009+[5]
Cleveland Yes 1974–1996 Yes
Cornwall Yes Yes (and UA 2009+) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cumberland Yes Yes Yes
Cumbria Yes Yes Yes
Darlington UA 1997+[5]
Derbyshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Derby UA 1997+[5]
Devon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dorset Yes Yes (and UA 2019+) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Durham (County Durham) Yes Yes (and UA 2009+) Yes Yes Yes Yes
East Suffolk Yes Division
East Sussex Yes Yes Yes Yes Division
Essex Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gloucestershire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Greater London Yes County[7] Yes Yes 1965–1974
Greater Manchester Yes Yes
Hampshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Halton UA 1998+[5]
Hartlepool UA 1996+[5]
Hereford and Worcester Yes 1974–1998
Herefordshire Yes UA 1998+[5] Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hertfordshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Humberside Yes 1974–1996
Huntingdon and Peterborough Yes 1965–1974 Yes 1965–1974
Huntingdonshire Yes 1889–1965 Yes 1889–1965 Yes
Isle of Ely Yes 1889–1965 Division
Isle of Wight Yes Yes (and UA 1995+) Yes Yes 1890–1974
Kent Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kingston upon Hull UA 1996+[5]
Lancashire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Leicestershire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Leicester UA 1997+[5]
Lincolnshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lincolnshire, Parts of Holland Yes Division
Lincolnshire, Parts of Kesteven Yes Division
Lincolnshire, Parts of Lindsey Yes Division
London Special post town Yes Yes The Metropolis[8]
City of London Yes County corporate
Luton UA 1997+[5]
Medway UA 1998+[5]
Merseyside Yes Yes Yes
Middlesbrough UA 1996+[5]
Middlesex Yes Yes Yes Yes
Milton Keynes UA 1997+[5]
Norfolk Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Northamptonshire Yes Yes 1974–2021 Yes Yes Yes Yes
North East Lincolnshire UA 1996+[5]
North Humberside Yes
North Lincolnshire UA 1996+[5]
North Northamptonshire UA 2021+[5]
North Somerset UA 1996+[5]
Northumberland Yes Yes (and UA 2009+) Yes Yes Yes Yes
North Yorkshire Yes Yes Yes
Nottinghamshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nottingham UA 1998+[5]
Oxfordshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Soke of Peterborough Yes 1889–1965 Liberty
Peterborough UA 1998+[5]
Plymouth UA 1998+[5]
Poole UA 1997–2019[5]
Portsmouth UA 1997+[5]
Redcar and Cleveland UA 1996+[5]
Rutland Yes UA 1997+[5] Yes 2008+[9] Yes Yes Yes
Shropshire Yes Yes (and UA 2009+) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Somerset Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Southampton UA 1997+[5]
Southend-on-Sea UA 1998+[5]
South Humberside Yes
South Gloucestershire UA 1996+[5]
South Yorkshire Yes Yes Yes
Staffordshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stockton-on-Tees UA 1996+[5]
Stoke-on-Trent UA 1998+[5]
Suffolk Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Surrey Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sussex Yes Yes
Swindon UA 1998+[5]
Telford and Wrekin UA 1998+[5]
Thurrock UA 1998+[5]
Torbay UA 1998+[5]
Tyne and Wear Yes Yes Yes
Warrington UA 1998+[5]
Warwickshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
West Midlands Yes Yes Yes
Westmorland Yes Yes Yes
West Northamptonshire UA 2021+[5]
West Suffolk Yes Division
West Sussex Yes Yes Yes Yes Division
West Yorkshire Yes Yes Yes
Wiltshire Yes Yes (and UA 2009+) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Worcestershire Yes Yes 1998+ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yorkshire Yes Yes
Yorkshire, East Riding Yes UA 1996+[5] L[10] Yes Division
Yorkshire, North Riding L[10] Yes Division
Yorkshire, West Riding L[10] Yes Division
York UA 1996+[5]

Northern Ireland[edit]

County Current
lieutenancy[11]
Postal
before 1996[4]
1899–1973 Before 1899
County Administrative
Antrim Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Armagh Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
City of Belfast Yes Special post town Yes CB[12] Yes Part of counties Antrim and Down
Down Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fermanagh Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Londonderry Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
City of Derry Yes Special post town Yes CB[12] Yes Part of County Londonderry
Tyrone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Scotland[edit]

County Lieutenancy Registration[13] Postal
before 1996[4]
1890–1975 Before 1890
City of Aberdeen Yes Special post town Yes 1900
Aberdeenshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Angus (Forfarshire) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Argyll Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ayrshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Banffshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Berwickshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bute Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Caithness Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Clackmannanshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cromartyshire Yes
Dumfriesshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dunbartonshire (Dumbarton) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
City of Dundee Yes Special post town Yes 1894
East Lothian (Haddingtonshire) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
City of Edinburgh Yes Special post town Yes Yes
Fife Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
City of Glasgow Yes Yes Special post town Yes 1893
Inverness-shire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kincardineshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kinross-shire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kirkcudbrightshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lanarkshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Midlothian (County of Edinburgh) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Moray (Elginshire) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nairnshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Orkney Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Peeblesshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Perthshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Renfrewshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ross and Cromarty Yes Yes Yes
Ross-shire Yes Yes
Roxburghshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Selkirkshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shetland (Zetland) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stirlingshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sutherland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
West Lothian (Linlithgowshire) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wigtownshire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Wales[edit]

County 1996+ Postal
1974–1996[4]
1974–1996 1889–1974 Before 1889
Preserved[2] County[14]
Anglesey Yes Isle of Anglesey Yes Yes
Brecknockshire Yes Yes
Caernarfonshire Yes Yes
Cardiganshire Yes Ceredigion Yes Yes
Carmarthenshire Yes Yes Yes
Clwyd Yes Yes Yes
Denbighshire Yes Yes Yes
Dyfed Yes Yes Yes
Flintshire Yes Yes Yes
Glamorgan Yes Yes
Gwent Yes Yes Yes
Gwynedd Yes Yes Yes Yes
Merionethshire Yes Yes
Mid Glamorgan Yes Yes Yes
Monmouthshire Yes Yes Yes
Montgomeryshire Yes Yes
Pembrokeshire Yes Yes Yes
Powys Yes Yes Yes Yes
Radnorshire Yes Yes
South Glamorgan Yes Yes Yes
West Glamorgan Yes Yes Yes
Wrexham Yes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ HMSO, Aspects of Britain: Local Government, (1996)
  2. ^ a b Lieutenancies Act 1997
  3. ^ Local Government Act 1972
  4. ^ a b c d Royal Mail - PAF Digest Issue 6.0[permanent dead link] Since 1996 these have been known as "former postal counties", and need no longer be used in addressing mail. Post Towns created since 1996 are not allocated to a postal county. The PAF also includes an "Alias File" that includes postally not required information including "Traditional County" and "Administrative County" fields. The list is not comprehensive and Royal Mail does not guarantee its accuracy.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at Non-metropolitan district with the powers of a county, following the Local Government Act 1992
  6. ^ The Berkshire (Structural Change) Order 1996; SI 1996 No. 1879
  7. ^ For ceremonial purposes only
  8. ^ The Metropolis was an ad hoc administrative area covering parts of three counties
  9. ^ AFD Software - Latest PAF Data News
  10. ^ a b c Appointed a Lord Lieutenant, but not a county under the Local Government Act 1888
  11. ^ Northern Ireland (Lieutenancy) Order 1975 (SI 1975 No. 156)
  12. ^ a b County styled as county borough by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
  13. ^ Registers of Scotland - Land Register Counties Archived 2013-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 S.1 - Principal areas styled as a county