List of postcode areas in the United Kingdom
For the purposes of directing mail, the United Kingdom is divided by Royal Mail into postcode areas. 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.
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.
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 XX10 1DD is currently used by Amazon.com to direct customer-returned items carried by Royal Mail to its Fulfilment Centre in Dunfermline, Scotland. XX10 1AA appears to be in use for the same purpose by ASOS.com, although when questioned by numerous customers in 2016 and 2017, staff manning their Facebook page seemed to know nothing of it. John Lewis returns also use the XX postcode. (XX10 1EE)
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, Merseyside and 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.
- Address Management Guide (5th ed.). Royal Mail Group plc. March 2007. 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. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "Quarterly Quality of Service Report to Postcomm – 2009/10 Quarter 1 Report" (PDF). Royal Mail. 2009-08-20. pp. 4–8 (table 2). Retrieved 2009-11-06.[permanent dead link]
- 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
- First postcode for remote UK isle. BBC News. 7 August 2005.
- Turks and Caicos Islands. Bureau International UPU.
- Landmark birthday for postcode[permanent dead link]
Postcode area boundaries: Google
- Office for National Statistics - Postal geography
- OpenStreetMap - Postcode map
- Strowger net: postcodes of the UK
- 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 -