UK Postcode - United Kingdom postcodes

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    United Kingdom Postcode

    UK Postcode

    The postcoding system was devised by the Royal Mail to enable efficient mail delivery to all UK addresses.

    With 1.8 million postcodes covering the length and breadth of the UK, postcodes play an important role in our day-to-day lives.

    Each postcode area contains the number of post towns which are not themselves alphabetically denoted however each will generally constitute one—or more—postcode districts.

    Postcodes should always be in BLOCK CAPITALS as the last line of an address. Do not underline the postcode or use any punctuation. Leave a clear space of one character between the two parts of the postcode and do not join the characters in any way.

    UK Postcode Format

    The structure of a postcode is two alphanumeric codes and are variable in length: ranging from six to eight characters (including a space). Each postcode is divided into two parts separated by a single space: the outward code and the inward code respectively. The outward code includes the postcode area and the postcode district, respectively. The inward code includes the postcode sector and the postcode unit respectively.

    for example, the postcode BD21 2RQ denotes,

    UK Postcode Format

    Outward code

    The outward code is the part of the postcode before the single space in the middle. It is between two and four characters long.

    Postcode area

    The postcode area is part of the outward code. The postcode area is either one or two characters long and is alphabetical.

    This is the largest geographical unit of the postcode. Each one comprises one or two alphacharacters generally chosen to be a mnemonic of the area. Examples of postcode areas are MK for Milton Keynes, SO for Southampton, "L" for Liverpool, "RH" for Redhill and "EH" for Edinburgh. A postal area may cover a wide area, for example "RH" also covers parts of north Sussex and "BT" (Belfast) covers the whole of Northern Ireland.

    Postcode district

    The postcode district is one digit, two digits or a digit followed by a letter. Each postcode area is divided into a number of districts which are represented by the numerical portion of each part of the postcode. These numbers range from 0 to 99 eg MK42. In London a further alphacharacter is used to divide some districts into sub divisions eg EC1A.

    Inward code

    The inward code is the part of the postcode after the single space in the middle. It is three characters long. The inward code assists in the delivery of post within a postal district.

    Postcode sector

    The postcode sector is made up of a single digit (the first character of the inward code). Postcode Sectors are numbered 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0. It should be noted that when sorting postcodes into order, sector 0 is the tenth sector rather than the first.

    Postcode unit

    The postcode unit is two characters added to the end of the postcode sector. A postcode unit generally represents

    • a street, part of a street
    • a single address
    • a group of properties
    • a single property
    • a sub-section of the property
    • an individual organisation or (for instance Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) a subsection of the organisation

    Data sources

    We are using the data collected from various trusted websites, some of data may be licenced to them.

    • Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database rights 2020
    • Contains National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database rights 2020