UK Phone Number Format: The Complete Guide

UK Phone Number Formats
Contents

Introduction

Whether you’re moving to the UK or frequently calling friends and businesses there, understanding their virtual phone numbers is key. This guide will break down the system, making it easy to connect across the pond.

Quick Guide: How to Call United Kingdom Numbers

  • You’re in Manchester, calling a London business: Dial 020 + the business’s number.
  • You’re in the US, calling a friend in Bristol: Dial 011-44-117 + your friend’s number.
  • Not sure of the area code? Search online or use a UK phone number lookup tool.

The way you dial a United Kingdom number depends on where you’re calling from and whether you’re calling a landline or mobile number.

Calling a UK Telephone number from Outside the UK

  1. International Access Code: Start by dialing your country’s international access code (e.g., “011” for the US).
  2. UK Country Code: Always dial +44.
  3. Area Code (Drop the Zero): Find the UK area code and remove the leading ‘0’.
  4. Landline Number: Enter the remaining digits of the landline number.

Example: Calling a London landline from the US – 011 – 44 – 20 – XXXX-XXXX

Calling Within the UK

  • Landlines (Different Area): Dial ‘0’ followed by the area code, then the number.
  • Landlines (Same Area): No need for the ‘0’ or area code, just dial the number.
  • Mobiles: Always dial the full number, including the ’07’ mobile code.

Important Notes

  • Mobile Numbers: Always start with ’07’ followed by additional digits. 
  • Don’t Forget: When calling from outside the UK, drop the leading ‘0’ in area codes.

uk-phone-number-format

The Basics: Understanding United Kingdom Phone Numbers

Think of a virtual UK phone number as a special address that lets you call someone in the United Kingdom. Just like an address has a street name, city, and zip code, a UK virtual phone number is also divided into parts. The country code is like the country, and the area code is like the city, helping the phone system know where to send your call.

  • Country Code (+44): This tells the world you’re trying to call a number in the United Kingdom. You always dial this number first when calling the United Kingdom from a different country.
  • Area Codes (Geographic Numbers): These codes tell you which city or region within the United Kingdom the phone number belongs to. Some examples are:
    • London: 020
    • Manchester: 0161
    • Edinburgh: 0131
  • National Destination Codes (Mobile Numbers): These are special codes that identify UK mobile phone numbers in the UK.  They will usually start with ’07’.
  • Subscriber Number: This is the unique number for that specific phone. It’s the last part of the phone number and usually 7 or 8 digits long.

Let’s Break it Down: 

Imagine you want to call a bookstore in Bristol, UK. Their Virtual number might look like this:

  • +44 (Country Code): This tells the world you’re calling the UK, like putting the right country on a letter.
  • 0117 (Bristol Area Code): This is like the city and neighborhood, showing the phone system where in the United Kingdom to send your call. 
  • 4529867 (Subscriber Number): This is the store’s unique ‘house number’ on their phone, ‘street’.

Codes for Dialing United Kingdom Phone Numbers

To place a successful call to the UK, it’s important to understand the dialing codes involved. These codes ensure your call reaches the correct destination, whether you’re calling within the UK or from abroad.

For those who prefer a quick online search, you can use Ofcom’s handy tool here to find the area code for any United Kingdom location by simply entering it into the search bar.

Calls Within the UK:

  • When calling between different areas within the UK, add a ‘0’ before the area code. For example, to call London Phone Numbers (area code 020) from Manchester (area code 0161), you would dial 020XXXXXXX.
  • Calls within the same area code do not require the leading ‘0’. You can dial the remaining digits directly.
Region (UK)Key City/AreaArea Code
South (Southern England)London020
North (Northern England)Manchester0161
West (Wales & Western England)Cardiff029
East (Eastern England)Norwich01603
SoutheastBrighton01273
SouthwestBristol0117
NortheastNewcastle0191
NorthwestLiverpool0151
Midlands (Central)Birmingham0121

International Calls:

  • Dial your country’s international access code (e.g., “011” in the US).
  • Add the UK country code: +44
  • Dial the area code, dropping the leading ‘0’.
  • Enter the subscriber number.

Example (calling a London phone  number from the US): 011-44-20-XXXX-XXXX

Important: 

The leading ‘0’ in UK area codes is only used for calls within the UK.  Drop it when making an international call.

Area CodeGeographic Location
020London
0161Manchester

Here’s an example of how a complete UK phone number would look like when calling internationally:

+44 dialing code (without the leading zero) subscriber number

By understanding and correctly using the codes for dialing UK phone numbers, you can ensure that your calls are connected efficiently and accurately, whether you are calling within the UK or from an international location.

Understanding UK Area Codes

Area codes in the UK help pinpoint a phone number’s geographic location. They can have three, four, or five digits:

  • Three-digit codes: Typically begin with ’02’ (e.g., 020 for London).
  • Four-digit codes: Begin with ‘011x’ or ’01×1′ (e.g., 0113 for Leeds).
  • Five-digit codes: Begin with ’01xxx’ (e.g., 01335 for Ashbourne).

UK Phone Number Formats

Three-digit codes

In the UK, three-digit phone codes typically begin with 02 and are followed by an eight-digit phone number. These codes represent specific geographic areas within the country. Here are some examples of three-digit codes and the corresponding locations:

When calling a UK phone number with a three-digit area code from within the country, the number format would look like (020) XXXX XXXX. For international calls to a UK number with a three-digit code, you would dial +44 20 XXXX XXXX.

These three-digit codes help identify different cities and regions in the UK, allowing for more precise dialing and communication.

Area CodeLocation
020London
023Southampton and Portsmouth

Four-digit codes

In the UK, phone numbers with four-digit codes are commonly used in different cities and regions. These four-digit codes always begin with 011x or 01×1 and are followed by a seven-digit phone number. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Examples of four-digit codes:

City/RegionFour-digit Code
Leeds0113
Sheffield0114

When dialing a phone number with a four-digit code from within the UK, the number format would look like 01XX YYYY YYY. For international calls to the UK, the number format would be +44 1XX YYYY YYY.

Using these four-digit codes, callers can easily identify the specific city or region associated with the phone number. This allows for efficient communication and helps streamline business operations across various locations in the UK.

Five-digit codes

In the UK, five-digit codes are used for specific geographic locations. These codes start with 01XXX, followed by a five- or six-digit phone number. Each five-digit code represents a different area within the country. 

Here are a few examples:

AreaFive-digit code
Ashbourne01335
Belper01773

When calling a number with a five-digit code from within the UK, the number format is 01XXX YYY YYY. For international calls, the number format is +44 1XX YYY YYY. It’s important to ensure that the full number, including the area code, is dialed correctly to connect with the desired location.

International Dialing: A Summary

To reach a UK number from abroad, follow these steps:

  1. International Access Code: Dial your country’s specific code (find it through a quick online search).
  2. UK Country Code: Always dial +44.
  3. Area Code: Enter the area code, without the leading ‘0’.
  4. Subscriber Number: Dial the individual or business’s unique phone number.
CountryInternational Access CodeExample UK Phone Number
Australia00110011-44-20-XXXX-XXXX
Canada011011-44-161-XXXX-XXXX
France0000-44-113-XXXX-XXXX
Germany0000-44-207-XXXX-XXXX
India0000-44-131-XXXX-XXXX
Japan010010-44-121-XXXX-XXXX
South Africa0000-44-28-XXXX-XXXX
United States011011-44-20-XXXX-XXXX
Zimbabwe0000-44-141-XXXX-XXXX

Example of UK Phone Number

Understanding the format of a UK phone number can be helpful when making international calls or communicating within the country. Here are two examples:

Example 1: UK Landline

Country CodeArea CodeSubscriber Number
+4401172345678

For instance, consider the number +44 117 2345678. In this example, the country code is +44, the area code is 0117, and the subscriber number is 2345678. This phone number could belong to a landline in Bristol.

Example 2: UK Mobile

Country CodeNational Destination CodeSubscriber Number
+447975556677

Another example is +44 7975 556677, which represents a UK mobile phone number. In this case, the country code remains +44, the national destination code is 7975, and the subscriber number is 556677.

These examples demonstrate the structure of UK phone numbers, consisting of a country code, an area code (or national destination code), and a subscriber number. By understanding this format, you can easily identify different types of UK phone numbers based on their components.

UK Phone Number Formats

Types of UK Phone Numbers

In the UK, there are various types of phone numbers available to meet different needs. Understanding the different types of phone numbers can help individuals and businesses choose the right option for their specific requirements. Here are some common types of UK phone numbers:

1. Mobile Phone Numbers

In the UK, mobile phone numbers commonly begin with “07” and can contain up to 11 digits. They serve as essential tools for staying connected while mobile, whether for personal or business purposes. Offering flexibility and accessibility, mobile numbers are utilized across the country and aren’t restricted to specific geographical areas.

2. Freephone Numbers

Freephone numbers, also known as “0800 numbers” or “0808 numbers,” are toll-free numbers that allow customers to call without incurring any service charge. These numbers are often used by businesses to provide customer support or helpline services, offering a convenient and cost-free way for customers to reach out.

3. Geographic Numbers

Geographic numbers in the UK have area codes starting with “01” or “02” and represent specific locations within the country. These numbers are typically associated with landlines and are often used by businesses to establish a local presence. Having a geographic number can make it easier for customers in a specific area to contact a business.

  1. Non-Geographic Numbers

Non-geographic numbers in the UK do not have a specific location associated with them. They start with numbers like “0845” or “0870” and may have different cost implications for customers depending on their network provider, these non geographic number can cost callers more.

These numbers are commonly used for helplines, customer services, and other forms of non-location-based communication. 

By understanding the different types of UK phone numbers, individuals and businesses can make informed decisions about the type of number that best suits their needs. Whether it’s a UK mobile number for personal use, a freephone number for customer support, or a geographic number for establishing a local presence, choosing the right phone number can enhance communication and accessibility.

Choosing the Right Phone Number for Your Business

When it comes to choosing a phone number for your business, several factors should be considered to ensure effective communication with your target audience. Location and the type of service you provide are important considerations in this decision-making process.

If your business primarily caters to customers in a specific geographic area, selecting a phone number with a corresponding area code can provide a sense of familiarity and trust. For example, if you operate in New York City, having a phone number with the area code 212 or 917 can help establish a local presence and enhance customer confidence.

Regulatory Considerations

Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, manages the allocation of phone numbers. They offer businesses a variety of options, including memorable numbers or sequences that can boost your brand. You can explore these choices on Ofcom’s website (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/).

Important Note: 

Premium numbers (those with easily recognizable patterns) may incur additional fees. Be sure to factor this into your business’s budgeting when making your selection.

Features and capabilities

Features and capabilities are another vital aspect to consider when choosing a phone number for your business. Your phone system should offer features like call routing and interactive voice response (IVR) to ensure efficient handling of incoming calls. Call routing allows you to direct calls to the right department or team member, ensuring prompt and personalized customer service. IVR systems provide automated menus for callers, enabling them to navigate through different options and reach the relevant department or information easily.

Benefits of a Geographic Number

  • Builds Local Trust: A geographic number instantly signals to customers that your business has a presence in their area, fostering a sense of familiarity and confidence.
  • Improved Search Visibility: Geographic numbers can help boost your visibility in local number search results, making it easier for customers in your region to find you.
  • Encourages Local Calls: Customers within the same area code may be more inclined to call a local phone number, especially if long-distance charges are a concern.

Benefits of Non Geographic Numbers

Potential Cost Savings of Non-Geographic Numbers

Flexibility: Non geographic numbers aren’t tied to a location, giving you the freedom to operate your business from anywhere while maintaining a consistent number. This can be helpful if you relocate or have a distributed team.

Cost-Effective for National Reach: If you serve customers across the UK, a non-geographic number can be a more affordable option than acquiring multiple geographic numbers.

Call Routing Advantages: Non-geographic numbers often work well with advanced phone systems, allowing you to easily route calls to different locations or departments. This can streamline customer service.

UK Phone Number Format

Advantages of Choosing a Geographically Relevant Phone Number

AdvantagesExplanation
Established Local PresenceA phone number with a geographically relevant area code enhances trust and credibility among customers in that area.
Targeted MarketingBy using area codes associated with specific regions, you can tailor your marketing campaigns to target customers in those areas.
Customer ConvenienceCustomers in the same area code can call your business without incurring long-distance charges, making it more convenient for them to reach out to you.
Easy RecallA geographically relevant phone number is easier for customers to remember, increasing the likelihood of repeat business and referrals.

Conclusion

Understanding the UK phone number format is crucial for international calling and effective business communication in the UK. This format follows the E.164 standards, consisting of a country code, area code, and subscriber number. With different types of phone numbers available, including mobile, geographic, and non-geographic numbers, businesses can choose the right number to suit their needs and target audience.

By selecting a phone number with the appropriate area code, businesses can establish a local presence and cater to customers in specific geographic locations. Additionally, utilizing the correct dialing codes when calling UK numbers from other countries ensures seamless communication. Following these guidelines allows businesses to engage with customers in the UK and facilitate successful interactions.

Whether it’s using mobile numbers for convenience, freephone numbers for toll-free communication, or geographic numbers for targeted marketing, understanding the UK phone number format empowers businesses to optimize their communication strategies. By leveraging the correct phone number format and dialing codes, businesses can establish credibility, improve customer satisfaction, and foster fruitful relationships with their UK customers.

1. Glossary Box

UK Phone Number Glossary

  • Area Code: A few digits that show the geographic location of a landline number (e.g., 020 for London).
  • Country Code: The code that tells the phone system you’re calling the UK (+44).
  • International Access Code: The code you dial first to call outside your country (e.g., “011” in the US).
  • Mobile Number: A phone number not tied to a location, starting with ’07’.
  • NDC (National Destination Code): The code identifying mobile numbers in the UK.
  • Subscriber Number: The unique digits assigned to each specific phone.v

FAQ

The UK phone number format follows the E.164 standards and consists of a country code, national destination code (NDC), and subscriber number. The country code for the UK is +44, and the NDC can have three to five digits, representing the local exchange or area. The subscriber number can be seven to ten digits long.

When dialing a UK phone number from within the UK but from a different area, you add a zero before the area code. For international calls, you add the country code (+44), followed by the dialing code (without the zero), and then the subscriber number. The area codes in the UK can range from three to five digits, depending on the geographic location. The preceding zero before the area code is dropped when calling from a foreign country.

Three-digit codes in the UK always begin with 02 and are followed by an eight-digit phone number. Some examples include 020 for London and 023 for Southampton and Portsmouth. When calling from the UK, the number format with a three-digit area code would look like (020) XXXX XXXX. When calling from another country, the format would be +44 20 XXXX XXXX.

Four-digit codes in the UK always begin with 011x or 01×1 and are followed by a seven-digit phone number. Some examples include 0113 for Leeds and 0114 for Sheffield. When calling from within the UK, the number format with a four-digit area code would look like 01XX YYYY YYY. When calling from outside the UK, the format would be +44 1XX YYYY YYY.

 Yes!  Here are a few important ones:

  • 999: Emergency Services (like 911 in the US)
  • 111: Non-emergency medical advice
  • 101: Non-emergency police

Five-digit codes in the UK begin with 01XXX and are followed by a five- or six-digit phone number. Some examples include 01335 for Ashbourne and 01773 for Belper. When calling from within the UK, the number format with a five-digit area code would look like 01XXX YYY YYY. When calling from outside the UK, the format would be +44 1XX YYY YYY.

  • New to the UK: Whether you’re visiting or relocating, this guide will help you understand how phone numbers work in the UK so you can connect with businesses, friends, and family.
  • Frequent Callers to the UK: Get tips on dialing correctly, find quick references to common area codes, and understand how phone numbers can impact calling costs from your country.

To call a UK phone number from another country, enter the international access code, followed by the country code (+44), the area code (without the zero), and then the subscriber number. The number format for international calls to the UK would look like 00-44-XX-XXXX-XXXX. The international dialing code for the UK is +44.

 Yes! Here are a few important ones:

  • 999: Emergency Services (like 911 in the US)
  • 111: Non-emergency medical advice
  • 101: Non-emergency police

No, the process is the same. The country code (+44), dropping the leading ‘0’ in the area code, and the number will connect you regardless of the type of phone.

  • There’s no official public directory. Some reverse-lookup services exist online, but their reliability varies. If it involves an unwanted call, consider contacting your phone provider.
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Akil Patel

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Akil Patel is a seasoned professional with over 13 years of dedicated service at My Country Mobile. With a strong background in business development, Akil has consistently proven his ability to drive growth and achieve remarkable results. His relentless work ethic and passion for excellence have propelled him to new heights within the company. Through his strategic initiatives and effective partnerships, Akil has successfully expanded the company’s reach, increasing monthly minutes to an astounding 1 billion. His unwavering commitment to success, coupled with his exceptional interpersonal skills, has earned him a reputation as a highly accomplished and respected individual in the telecommunications industry.

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