Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free
Insurance, FX and international movers
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!
From our tax, investment and FX partners
Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

United Kingdom (UK) - Postal Service and Mail Delivery

The United Kingdom postal service and mail delivery is mainly handled by the Royal Mail service. The Royal Mail service was started in the early 19th century. It is headquartered in London but serves England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. It is a Public Limited Company; HM Government owns about 38% of the postal service, which provides over 150,000 jobs to UK residents.

The Royal Mail post office covers letter post, EMS delivery, parcel service, freight forwarding, and third-party logistics. It has two divisions: Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide. It also has a subsidiary: General Logistics Systems.

Royal Mail is the universal mail collection and delivery service. They handle the pillar and wall boxes and collect bulk mail from businesses around the UK. Royal Mail, like most world mail systems, do not operate on Sundays or Bank Holidays. They do offer First Class deliveries for the next business day within the nation.

Like many other businesses and companies in the United Kingdom, the postal service is regulated by an overseeing agency. Ofcom, which regulates TV, Internet, and telephone services, also oversees Royal Mail.

Reputation of Royal Mail

In 2006, Royal Mail announced they have a 99.93% arrival rate in which mail arrives perfectly safely. Despite this claim, a number of complaints were being made regularly to Ofcom. After an investigation was launched, Royal Mail was fined £11.7 million for damaged, lost or stolen mail. In 2011, another investigation showed that 120,000 letters had been lost. Other changes have been made since then to ensure that posted items arrive at their destinations. One such change was the ability to leave parcels with neighbours when requested by the recipient. Additionally, the removal of first and second class for just one class has been suggested. The idea was to set a slightly higher price, but to ensure that all mail would be delivered in a shorter time period.

Other Delivery and Postal Services

Royal Mail is not the only postal and delivery service. Fed Ex and UPS service the United Kingdom by shipping packages for personal and business needs. Using these two services one can send larger packages quickly. Many of these places will also offer post office box services.

The Post Office offers more than just mail delivery, including insurance, travel, broadband, telephone, licenses, banking, and passports. Through the Post Office you can send small parcels and airmail to locations all over the world.

Post Office Boxes Available

There are three types of post office boxes in the UK: PO Box Collect, PO Box Delivery, and PO Box with transfer. The PO Box Collect is the standard method for picking up your mail at a local post office branch. With this option you have to physically collect your mail. You can also do so with the PO Box with transfer option.

Typically, you can apply for a post office box if you wish to collect your mail rather than have it delivered. In rural areas you may decide it is easier to pick up your mail at a local post office. It is rare in the United Kingdom to find a location within town limits that does not have a street delivery service.

Resources for Postal Service and Mail Delivery

It is important that you address your mail appropriately to ensure it arrives at its intended destination. You may also wish to locate postcodes for the UK and zipcodes for other parts of the world. Post codes can be found on the Royal Mail website.

Addresses are written differently around the world. In the United States you typically have three lines: the name of the person, street address, and the city/state/zip code. In the United Kingdom the address is typically written out over more lines, which may be used to make it easier to read for postal workers.

Forest Road
Middlesex TW13 7DY

Mail Services:

Royal Mail

Post Office

Fed Ex


+44(0) 845 787 7877

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.

Copyright © 2019 Expat Focus. All Rights Reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use/Privacy Policy. Comments are property of their posters.
Interactive software released under GNU GPL, Code Credits, Privacy Policy