Practical information

Postal services

Stamps can be bought at many outlets, including supermarkets and petrol stations. When writing to a British address, always include the postcode, which can be obtained from Royal Mail. Within the UK, letters and postcards can be sent either first or second class; second-class mail is cheaper and takes a day or two longer. The price of postage depends on the size and weight of your letter. For more details, visit the Royal Mail website or take your letter or parcel to any post office.

Main post office branches offer a variety of mail services. In more isolated areas, as well as in larger towns and cities, there are often small branches in newsagents, grocery stores and general information centres. In many villages, the post office is also the only shop.

Post offices are usually open from 9am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, and until 12:30pm on Saturday.

Post boxes can be found throughout cities, towns and villages in Britain. They may be either freestanding boxes or wall safes, but they are always painted bright red. Collections are usually made twice a day during weekdays (less often on Saturdays and Sundays). The last collection time of the day is marked on the box.

Air letters go by Royal Mail’s airmail service anywhere in the world; the cost depends on the destination. On average, it takes three days for them to reach cities in Europe, and four to six days for other destinations. Royal Mail also offers an express airmail service called Airsure, available from all post office branches. Mail goes on the first available flight to the destination.