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Phoning To, From and Within the United Kingdom

Pauline Kenny

Calling to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland from the US and Canada, long distance calls from the UK, placing phone calls within the UK, how to dial, how to pay.

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United Kingdom Telephone Numbers

UK phone numbers have two parts: area code and phone number. The area code is four or five digits and begins with a zero. Example area codes: Birmingham 0121, Manchester 0161, Stroud 01453. The phone number is six digits.

Note: London phone numbers are different. The area code is three digits - 020 - and the numbers are eight digits. In London, you dial the eight digits to place a call.

Cell phones (called Mobiles in the UK) have area codes that start with 07. For example, 079, 078, 077.

Area codes starting with 08 are special rate numbers for discount long distance (usually charged at the rate of a local call, even though they are long distance; similar to 800 numbers in the US and Canada). (0800 is free, 0845 is charged at local rates, 0870 is charged at national rates, 0871 is the same as 0870 for the caller.)

Area codes starting 09 are premium rate numbers and can be very expensive to call.

Note: When dialing within the United Kingdom, dial the leading zero of the area code. When dialing to the UK from another country, do not dial the zero.

Phoning to the United Kingdom from the US and Canada

To dial the United Kingdom from the US and Canada:

  • first dial the US long distance code 011
  • then the country code (44 for the United Kingdom)
  • then the area code (drop the leading zero)
  • then the number

For example, if the United Kingdom phone number is 07981-555555, dial as follows:
011-44-7981-897555

Do I Drop the Leading Zero in the Area Code?

Yes. When dialing to the UK from another country, drop the leading zero on the area code. When dialing from within the UK, dial the leading zero.

Why is There a Plus Sign (+) at the Start of the European Phone Number?

European phone numbers are frequently written in the format +44-07981-555555. The plus indicates that you have to dial your long distance code first (in the US the code is 011, in Europe it is 00).

Time Change

The United Kingdom is five hours later than the US east coast (EST). For example, at midnight in New York City, it is 5:00 AM in London. See The World Clock for complete information.

The Best Way to Pay for International Calls from the US/Canada

Read about the options for paying for international calls from the US/Canada.

Phoning from the United Kingdom to the US and Canada

To dial another country from the United Kingdom:

  • first dial the Europe long distance code 00
  • then the country code (1 for the US and Canada, 39 for Italy)
  • then the area code and number

Country codes of other countries: US-1, Canada-1, United Kingdom-44, France-33, Germany-49, Spain-34, Switzerland-41

The Best Way to Pay for International Calls from the UK

Read about the options for paying for international calls from the UK.

Phoning Within the UK - calling other UK phone numbers

When dialing within the UK from a cell phone (called a Mobile in the UK), dial the complete number including the area code and the leading zero. Dial the area code even if you are calling from within the same area code.

When dialing within the UK from a land line (including public pay phones), do not dial the area code if you are calling from a number within the same area code. But, if you are calling from a different area code, dial the complete number, including area code and the leading zero.

Note: London phone numbers are different. The area code is three digits - 020 - and the numbers are eight digits. In London, you dial the eight digits to place a call.

Note About Using British Telecom Land Line Phones

If you have a BT phone in your vacation rental, there are two numbers you need to know. Dial 1571 to retrieve voice mail messages left on that phone. Dial 1471 to get information for the last caller.

Other Phone Information

Resources

www.wtng.info: World Telephone Number Guide with complete information on how to dial other countries.

www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/: The World Clock, see what time it is in the country you are calling.

www.kropla.com: Steve Kropla's Help for World Travelers, with worldwide electrical and telephone information.

www.voltagevalet.com: Voltage Valet, with a website full worldwide electrical and telephone information and a store selling adapters etc.

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