UK Area Codes and Phone Number Information

Phone number formatting

How to write UK telephone numbers

Landlines | Mobiles | Special numbers | Overseas | Programmers

Writing phone numbers correctly makes them easier to read and remember, as well as reducing the risk of numbers being misdialled.

At a glance

The UK uses variable length area codes, prefixes and local numbers. This means that numbers are formatted in different ways depending on what and where they are used for.

Number startsTypeRecommended format
01Landlines (geographic)Various – see below
02Landlines (geographic)02x xxxx xxxx
03Landline-rate non-geographic03xx xxx xxxx
04Not used-
05Corporate numbering and VOIP05xxx xxxxxx
06Not used-
07Mobiles, pagers and personal07xxx xxxxxx
08Service numbers (special rates)08xx xxx xxxx
09Service numbers (premium rates)09xx xxx xxxx

Geographic landline numbers

Geographic numbers are the normal home and business numbers that begin with area codes tied to specific locations. For example, 020 for London or 01792 for Swansea.

You should:

  1. Separate the area code from the local number with a space
  2. Split longer local numbers with a space for readability

The length of area codes and local numbers varies across the UK, which means there are several valid formats:

FormatUsed forExamples
02x xxxx xxxxCardiff, Coventry, London, Portsmouth, Southampton and all of Northern IrelandCardiff
London
01x1 xxx xxxx
011x xxx xxxx
Most other major citiesBirmingham
Leeds
01xxx xxxxxx
01xxx xxxxx
Smaller cities, provincial towns and rural areasGuildford
Stirling
01xxxx xxxxx
01xxxx xxxx
Rural north west England and BordersKeswick
Langholm

For specific information on individual areas, see the area code listings.

Mobile phones

There is no set pattern for mobile phone numbers, although it is helpful to break up the number with at least one space for readability.

The format 07xxx xxxxxx is probably the most widely used, including by the main mobile phone networks.

Special numbers

Freephone, premium rate and other similar numbers starting with 03, 08 or 09 can be written in whichever pattern aids memorability.

However, sticking to a single consistent style such as 0xxx xxx xxxx can look neater and aid memorability. Furthermore, as the meaning of '0800' is widely understood, a number such as 0800 123 4567 is more readily recognisable as freephone than 08001 234567.

Charge information for 084, 087 and 09 numbers

All numbers starting with 084, 087 or 09 must be accompanied by an indication of the applicable service charge. This applies wherever the number is publicised, including websites, leaflets, signs and broadcast adverts.

Examples of suitable price statements include:

The service charge that applies to any particular number can be found by consulting the provider of the number.

From overseas

If you want people to call you internationally, remove the leading zero of your phone number and prefix it with '+44'. For example, (020) 7946 0018 becomes +44 20 7946 0018.

Do not write '0044' instead of +44 – many countries do not use '00' to begin an international call and dialling 0044 will not connect. Using the symbol '+' avoids the problem by indicating to the caller that they should insert their own country's international access code; it is also recognised automatically by most mobile phones.

The complete pattern for programmers

Need to build number formatting into a piece of software or a database? The basic list of patterns and accompanying notes below show the various valid formats in the UK in 2022:

01### #####
01### ######
011# ### ####
01#1 ### ####
013397 #####
013398 #####
013873 #####
015242 #####
015394 #####
015395 #####
015396 #####
016973 #####
016974 #####
016977 ####
016977 #####
017683 #####
017684 #####
017687 #####
019467 #####
019755 #####
019756 #####
02# #### ####
03## ### ####
05### ######
07### ######
0800 ######
08## ### ####
09## ### ####


Notes to above:

The list needs to be parsed in the order shown to work properly; the last match in the list is the one to use for any given number.

As an example, 01234567890 matches the second line of the list and no others, so is formatted as 01234 567890. Meanwhile the last line matched by the number 01134960018 is the third line in the list, so the correct formatting is 0113 496 0018.

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