Receiving mail

Postal mail in the United Kingdom is extremely reliable. Mail will normally be delivered direct to your house or flat. If you live on a college campus, mail will be delivered centrally and often put in a ‘pigeon hole’: small boxes labelled alphabetically. Sometimes a piece of mail cannot be delivered to you, eg if you are out when a parcel is being delivered. If this is the case, you will receive a postcard giving details of where you should go to collect your parcel.

The Post Office

Letters and small packets may be placed in any local post box for collection if they have a correct postage stamp on them. Read the sign on the side of the post box to get an idea of what time the post will be collected. If you do not know the cost of posting a letter, visit your local post office or look at www.royalmail.com.

Post Offices are open during normal office hours, and as well as postal services, they can often help you in other ways. You may be able to pay certain bills there (such as electricity and gas), send flowers by post and even have photographs developed at some of the larger post offices. Social Service benefits and claim forms are also available. You can also exchange money at some Post Offices.

Postage stamps

You can send parcels and letters to addresses within the UK either by first or second class post. First class post normally gives a next day delivery and is the most expensive. Second class post takes 3-5 days. You can buy any type of stamp from your local post office. You can also buy some types of stamps (those most commonly used to send letters within the UK) from other shops, such as supermarkets and newsagents.

Writing the address

Always try to use the post code for addresses within the UK (you can look up postcodes atwww.royalmail.com). Always PRINT the name and address carefully and use an airmail sticker for letters going abroad by airmail. At Christmas, mail takes longer to arrive due to the increase in numbers of letters being sent, so make you allow long enough for the letter to arrive.

Special services

If you need to send a letter in a hurry, there are a few options available from your post office. There are also services available for sending valuable items. Ask at a Post Office or visit their website.

Mail redirection

If you move house or return home, you may arrange for any mail that arrives at your old address to be redirected. Redirection can be arranged for 1 month, 3 month or year periods. There is a charge for this service. For details of this service, ask at your local post office or look at www.royalmail.com.