How to Mail a Letter: UK | PostSeal

Sending a letter may seem like a simple task. you receive your letter, put it in an envelope, write an address on it, put a stamp on it, and mail it. sure, simple. unless you’ve never done it before. Or maybe you’ve never sent a letter in the UK and wonder if it’s any different. Each country’s mail delivery service has its own unique characteristics, so here’s a handy guide to sending mail in the UK.

an introduction to royal mail

First of all, the UK’s mail delivery system is known as Royal Mail. With origins dating back over 500 years to 1516, the Royal Mail service may be one of the oldest postal systems still in existence. The service was originally set up to operate only for the King and the Court to ensure letters were delivered between London and Edinburgh for King James I to help maintain his control over England and Scotland.

Today, Royal Mail is an international company operating in 44 countries and nation states around the world. The company employs about 162,000 people, and handles and delivers about 13 billion letters and about 1.3 billion packages this year.

Royal Mail service operates six days a week; Don’t flatter yourself that you’ll receive a letter on a Sunday morning.

how to send a letter

For a complete and detailed guide on how to send a letter, check out our guide on how to send a letter. for the cliff notes version, follow this:

  1. prepare your letter

    • Choose your envelope based on how durable, large, and professional it needs to be, keeping in mind that larger, heavier, and more oddly shaped ones will cost more.

      attach your letter and seal the envelope

      envelope address – recipient

      • write the recipient’s address clearly on the front of the envelope (more on this later)

        envelope address – sender

        • write your return address clearly on the back of the envelope

          choose the correct postage

          • decide how much postage you need for your letter, based on how fast it needs to get to its destination, its size and weight, and the actual distance it needs to travel: the faster, the heavier , larger. , and the more you have to go, the more expensive it will be (more on this later)

            pay postage

            • buy stamps at any post office, online at or at many retail stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies

              stick your stamps in the upper right corner of the front of the envelope

              send your letter

              • Stick it in a mailbox or take it to a post office to have your letter delivered.

                how to address uk post

                Once you’ve carefully prepared your letter and sealed it in an envelope, you’ll need to address it clearly. When filling in the UK recipient’s address, it should be clearly written on the bottom left hand corner of the front of the envelope in this format:

                recipient name

                house number and street name

                name of local area or town

                town (write in capital letters)

                full zip code (print in capital letters)

                here are two useful images from the royal mail website to help you:

                for the sender’s address, so your letter will be returned to you if it doesn’t arrive at its intended destination; write it clearly on the back of the envelope under “return address”, like this:


                • do not use periods or commas

                  start each line on the left; do not center the lines

                  always include a zip code when you can; you can use royal mail postcode finder for help

                  you can add a line for an organization name

                  make sure to leave a generous margin of about ½ inch (1.5 cm) around the entire address

                  handwritten: use a pen or ink that is transparent against the color of the envelope, not pencil or anything that smears easily, and a text size similar to a 10-15 font size

                  printed: use a font that is easy to read, a color that stands out against the label/envelope, and a font size of 10-15

                  you don’t need to type the county name if you’ve included the city and postcode (ie for arnold in nottinghamshire, you don’t need to type arnold nottinghamshire ng5 6th, just type arnold ng5 6th) . however, you are more than welcome to include it if you wish.

                  zip codes explained

                  in 1959, postcodes were introduced on a trial basis in norwich, then implemented nationally between 1965 and 1974, giving each British address a postcode. there are now approximately 1.8 million zip codes in use and each zip code covers an average of about 15 properties. These codes are made up of two parts: the exit code and the entry code, separated by a space.

                  according to,

                  • the exit code (ng5 6pq) contains the area and district in which the mail will be delivered, allowing mail to be sorted into the correct local area for delivery. delivery. the first two letters are for the county; ng which represents nottingham, and the number is the postcode of the district, which tells the sorting office which delivery office the mail should go to (it is also an indicator of how far it is from the city center ).

                    internal code (ng5 6pq) is used to classify mail at the local area delivery office, with the number identifying the sector in the postal district (in which area local mail should be sent). goto) and the letter that defines one or more (up to 80) properties in that sector (which postal route will deliver the mail).


                    Initially, when King Charles made the postal service available to the general public back in 1635, the recipient of the letter had to pay to obtain it. for years, until 1840, the sender had it easy and was able to avoid paying postage. It was in that year that Sir Rowland Hill introduced the Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp. In its first year, 68 million stamps with the image of Queen Victoria were used.

                    Previously, postage rates were quite complex, depending on the distance and the number of pages in a letter; hill decided to simplify it by suggesting to tailor the rates to a low uniform cost based on weight, and prepaid by the sender. Centuries later, stamps are still the currency in the postal world. however, it has gotten a bit more complicated since those early days of the stamp.

                    shipping prices depend on:

                    • the size and weight of your item

                      when do you want your item to arrive

                      if you want to track your item or get a delivery confirmation

                      use royal mail’s price lookup tool to get the price of your letter. If you’re still not sure, simply visit your nearest post office to have the letter weighed and told exactly how much it will cost.


                      in 2004, more than 160 years after the creation of penny black, royal mail launched the uk’s first digital stamp with an online postage system called smartstamp®, aimed primarily at small businesses. two years later, online postage was launched allowing the general public to pay, download and print their own stamps.

                      fun fact: the united kingdom is the only country in the world that does not have its name on its stamp, as it is the inventor of the postage stamp. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on more than 180 billion stamp copies since he approved her machin’s design on postage stamps in 1966.

                      font size

                      letters include greeting cards, personal letters, postcards, and bills. the maximum weight is 100 g, the maximum length is 24 cm, the maximum width is 16.5 cm and the maximum thickness/depth is 5 mm.

                      large letters include a4 documents, certificates, magazines, cd or dvd in cases, some large greeting cards. the maximum weight is 750 g, the maximum length is 35.3 cm, the maximum width is 25 cm and the maximum thickness/depth is 2.5 cm.

                      mail types in the uk

                      To send a letter in the UK, you can choose between UK Standard, UK Signed or UK Guaranteed options. the royal mail website breaks down your shipping options as follows:

                      Standard UK Mail includes First and Second Class Royal Mail options; the difference between two is delivery time and shipping cost. Please note that the cheapest way to ship anything over 2kg is via Packageforce’s worldwide service. for exact shipping prices, check the post office’s site here.

                      1st class:

                      • send a letter from 70p and a small parcel from £3.55

                        try to deliver the next business day, including Saturdays

                        includes compensation cover up to £20

                        20 kg maximum weight

                        2nd class:

                        • send a letter from 61 pence and a parcel from £3

                          try to deliver in 2-3 business days, including Saturdays

                          includes compensation cover up to £20

                          20 kg maximum weight

                          When posting at a post office branch, online delivery confirmation is available for small and medium packages. Although this is not a tracked service, you can check online to confirm when your package was delivered or attempted to be delivered at the post office page here.

                          UK Signed For Mail includes Royal Mail Signed For (starting at £1.81) and Express48 Worldwide Parcel (starting at £12.12) options. these services are useful when you want to know that your important item arrived safely, as you will get a signature from the recipient when your item is delivered.

                          real mail signed for:

                          • available with first and second class royal mail services

                            signature taken at the time of delivery

                            online delivery confirmation

                            includes compensation of up to £50

                            a recognized service eligible for eBay’s Seller Protection Program

                            prices start at £1.81 for cards up to 100g (find prices for sending different sizes here)

                            parcelforce worldwide express48:

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