UK Post and Telephone Services in Britain

UK post telephones in Britain
 
 
 
 
Telephones
In the good old days our telephone boxes were red, then the newly privatised British Telecom paid a fortune to a design company for a "new image" and a hundred years of history went out the window. If you can find one now, it is grey. The old red boxes are now collectors items and change hands in the antique trade for big money (you will never get one in your suitcase though)
You can pay for a call in three ways
cash the boxes take 10p, 20p, 50p and 1 coins
phonecard phonecards can be bought from post offices and newsagents
credit card normal range of credit cards taken
However Murphy's Law usually applies and if you have a phonecard then the phone box you find only takes cash, and if you only have cash it only takes phonecards. The only way round this dilemma is to carry both. If you are a tourist, then forget the phonecards, and just keep trying to find one that will take cash.
Very few will take credit cards.
Costs
* UK calls are much more expensive between 8 am and 6 p.m. on weekdays
*all 0800 numbers are free, but ones that have a number starting with e.g 0890 are not free but premium numbers and very expensive. The US Embassy uses these premium numbers!
Special numbers
* emergency only 999
* UK operator 100
* International Operator 155
*Directory Enquiries 192 (being phased out)
Postal Services
Postage stamps are available at post offices (most towns have one on the high street), and at sub post offices (these are a quirky, useful British institution, which brings postal services to small towns, suburbs and villages - the sub-post office will sell many other things too). In addition many newsagent now can sell books of stamps.
Tourists may find it difficult to get the stamps they need or the advice they require from newsagents - who sell books of stamps in the denominations required for internal UK postage. Seek out a post office when you can
Post boxes are still happily red, and are fairly easy to find. Apart from Sundays, collections are usually at least twice daily, even in rural areas.

 

Return to A to Z of Great Britain
Great Britain Great Britain front page