London Drum

Telephone numbers, posting letters & free Wi-Fi spots

Useful telephone numbers

Emergency telephone numbers in the UK
Non-emergency police101 (for crimes that don’t need an immediate response)
Non-emergency medical111 (for non-urgent medical advice)
Speaking clock123
Operator100 (local); 155 (international)
Reverse charges155
Directory enquiries118 118 or 118 500 (local); 118 505 or 118 866 (international)

How to make international telephone calls from the UK

To call another country from the UK you have to add the following prefixes to the beginning of the number. If the telephone number begins with a zero then it’s usual practice to drop it (but this differs from country to country, so you might want to try both ways).

UK calendar diary dates
Pre-fix Pre-fix
Albania00 355 Algeria00 213
Argentina00 54 Australia00 61
Austria00 43 Bahamas00 1 242
Bangladesh00 880 Barbados00 1 246
Belarus00 375 Belgium00 32
Belize00 501 Bermuda00 1 441
Bolivia00 591 Bosnia-Herze.00 387
Brazil00 55 Bulgaria00 359
Canada00 1 Chile00 56
China00 86 Columbia00 57
Costa Rica00 506 Croatia00 385
Cuba00 53 Cyprus00 357
Czech Republic00 420 Denmark00 45
Dominican Rep.00 1 809 Ecuador00 593
Egypt00 20 El Salvador00 503
Estonia00 372 Ethiopia00 251
Fiji00 679 Finland00 358
France00 33 Germany00 49
Gibraltar00 350 Greece00 30
Guatemala00 502 Haiti00 509
Honduras00 504 Hong Kong00 852
Hungary00 36 Iceland00 354
India00 91 Indonesia00 62
Iran00 98 Iraq00 964
Ireland00 353 Israel00 972
Italy00 39 Jamaica00 1 876
Japan00 81 Jordan00 962
Kazakhstan00 7 Kenya00 254
Korea (North)00 850 Korea (South)00 82
Kuwait00 965 Latvia00 371
Lebanon00 961 Libya00 218
Luxembourg00 352 Malaysia00 60
Malta00 356 Mexico00 52
Mongolia00 976 Morocco00 212
Nepal00 977 Netherlands00 31
New Zealand00 64 Nicaragua00 505
Nigeria00 234 Norway00 47
Pakistan00 92 Panama00 507
Paraguay00 595 Peru00 51
Philippines00 63 Poland00 48
Portugal00 351 Puerto Rico00 1 787
Romania00 40 Russia00 7
Saudi Arabia00 966 Serbia & Mont.00 381
Singapore00 65 Slovakia00 421
Slovenia00 386 South Africa00 27
Spain00 34 Sudan00 249
Swaziland00 268 Sweden00 46
Switzerland00 41 Syria00 963
Taiwan00 886 Thailand00 66
Trin. & Tobago00 1 868 Tunisia00 216
Turkey00 90 UAE00 971
Ukraine00 380 Uruguay00 598
USA00 1 Venezuela00 58
Vietnam00 84 Zimbabwe00 263

If somebody wants to call you from another country (whilst you are still in the UK), then they’ll need to start with the correct international dialling code – 00 from China, Europe, India, the Middle East, New Zealand and South America, 001 from Hong Kong, Korea and Thailand, 0011 from Australia, 010 from Japan, and 011 from the USA and Canada – followed by the UK’s own country code: 44. And remind them to drop any zeros at the beginning of the number.

How do you use a telephone box in London?

Using a red telephone box in London is very easy. Before you put any money in, dial the number. When you hear a beeping sound, insert your coins. The beeping sound tells you that the call has just been answered at the other end, so don’t dawdle as the person might hang up.

Be aware that some of the newer call boxes do it the other around: they ask you to put your money in first and then dial afterwards – there should be some instructions printed somewhere to help you out (or they might be an LCD display on the phone).

You might also be able to swipe your own credit card or debit card through an accompanying slot, but we advise against using your card in a phone box because it might have been tampered with.

If you hear a beeping sound midway through the call (called ‘the pips’) then your credit is about to run out so you should feed some more money into the slot.

The minimum charge is 60p for thirty minutes of talk time. If you use a bank card then the minimum charge is £1.20. You then have to pay an extra 10p for every fifteen minutes thereafter. Be aware that the price might be a higher for certain prefixes, like 087 number for example, which cost 10p every 12 seconds.

How do you buy stamps and post a letter?

There are two kinds of mail in the UK: 1st class and 2nd class. First class is supposed to arrive the next day if it’s posted before 5 PM, but that’s just for local letters (e.g. from London to London). If you want to send it to another part of the country then you need to post it before 1 PM. Second class letters take up to three days.

Price of stamps in the UK
LetterWeight: Up to 100g
Max size: 24cm x 16.5cm x 0.5cm
1st class: £1.25
2nd class: 75p
Large letterWeight: Up to 750g
Max size: 35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm
1st class: £1.95 to £3.20
2nd class: £1.55 to £2.60
Small parcelWeight: Up to 2kg
Max size: 45cm x 35cm x 16cm
1st class: £3.69
2nd class: £2.99
Medium parcelWeight: Up to 20kg
Max size: 61cm x 46cm x 46cm
1st class: £5.29 to £10.99
2nd class: £4.49 to £9.49
International letterWeight: Up to 100g
Max size: 24cm x 16.5cm x 0.5cm
Europe: £2.20
Rest of world: £2.20
International large letterWeight: Up to 750g
Max size: 35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm
Europe: £3.25 to £6.25
Rest of world: £4.20 to £11.10
International parcelWeight: Up to 2kg
Max size: Height+width+depth less than 90cm, and no side longer than 60cm
Europe: £5.15 to £11.70
Rest of world: £5.25 to £13.75
Note: Prices are correct as of

Postage samps can be purchased from newsagents and supermarkets (look for a red Royal Mail sign in the window). They usually sell them in books of four or ten. If you want a single stamp then you’ll probably have to buy it from a post office.

Large letters and heavy letters are always more expensive. If you haven’t got the facility to weigh it yourself then take it to the nearest post office and ask them to tell you the price. They will ask you to put it on the scales by the counter.

International mail (previously known as ‘Airmail’) usually takes three days to reach Europe, and 4-6 days to reach the rest of the world.

How do you use Poste Restante in London?

Using Poste Restante allows you to receive a letter even if you don’t have an address in London. The sender will need to write your full name, ‘Poste Restante’, and the address of your nearest post office on the envelope, and you will be able to pick it up by showing a recognised photo ID (e.g. your passport or UK driving license).

The post office will only keep the letter for a maximum of two weeks, or one month if it’s sent from abroad.

Most travellers address their Poste Restante to the big branch by Trafalgar Square (24-28 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DL – Open 8.30 AM to 6.30 PM Mon-Fri, 9 AM to 5.30 PM Sat), but you can actually send it to any branch you like.

There are more big branches in Regent Street (11 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4LR – Open 8 AM to 6.30 PM Mon-Fri, 10 AM to 5.30 PM Sat, 12 noon to 4 PM Sun), Aldwych (95 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4JN – Open 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM Mon-Fri) and Holborn (181 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7RL – Open 9 AM to 6 PM Mon, 9.30 AM to 6 PM Tue-Fri).

You can find your nearest post office on the Royal Mail website:

Are there any free Wi-Fi spots in London?

Free Wi-Fi spots can be found in the majority of London’s underground and overground stations – more than 97% of the TFL network – but only if you already have a mobile phone account with one of the big British mobile providers: BT, EE, O2, Three and Virgin. If you’re not already a customer of one of those providors then you’ll have to buy temporary access from

Another free Wi-Fi service in London is Sky’s ‘The Cloud’. You can sign-up at Once you have access you should be able to use it inside the Square Mile, which runs roughly from Fleet Street to the Tower of London, plus hundreds of pubs and food shops like Caffe Nero, PizzaExpress, Pret a Manger, Wagamama and more. You’ll know when you’re ‘in the zone’ because The Cloud’s page will pop on your browser every time you try and surf the web.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions provide free Wi-Fi as well, like the British Library (

And there’s always good old McDonalds. Lots of their central London branches offer free Wi-Fi if you don’t mind registering your details on their app first.

A word of warning for internet newbies: whilst public Wi-Fi is certainly very handy it is definitely not secure, and you should never enter sensitive information like bank details and email account passwords into your browser. Anybody who has the right kit and is using the same hotspot can theoretically snoop on all the information you send.