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UK Address Guidelines

Ensure your mail is correctly addressed with our UK clear addressing guidelines

Updated 3 Aug 2020

Correct UK Address Formatting

The more correctly formatted your address is, the faster and more reliably your mail or package will be delivered to that premise.

Required Addressing Details 📬

In the UK, there are a number of specific addressing elements that constitute a well formed address.

A full address should include a premise identifier, street details, post town and the postcode. The most essential part of the address is the postcode as it carries the most information.

Royal Mail recommend the premise, street and locality information occupy up to three lines while the post town and postcode make up the last two.

UK address guidlines

Information Example Notes
Addressee's name Mr. Phillips Gaillard Only required if applicable
Number, name and street name Gunnersbury House, 1 Chapel Hill This identifies the specific premise. This element along with the company name can be split across 3 lines. A company name can also form part of the premise identifier.
Locality London Locality elements other than the post town are less critical. But occasionally an address can have additional locality elements attached to it.
Post town London A required part of all postal addresses in the UK. Should be uppercased and new line
Postcode A11 B12 Should be correctly formatted and occupy the last line on its own

Identifying a Premise

To be a valid premise at least one of the 4 premise elements must be present

  • Company name
  • Building number
  • Building name
  • Sub building name

So Barclays Bank Plc, Flat 1, 10, Suite 5, 11 are all valid premise identifiers.

Must Haves ✅

  • The Addressee if applicable like the recipient name
  • A premise identifier such as a building number, name or organisation
  • The address post town
  • A valid Postcode

Things You Won't Need ⛔️

Adding unnecessary address details can do more harm than good. Unnecessary address fields create more information to sift through, create a larger surface area for mistakes to appear and occasionally can be misleading.

  • County. Adding county information to an address does not make it easier to route. Royal Mail recommend against including county. Sometimes county information create more confusion than clarity
  • Village, burrough, city or town name. As long as you've correctly specified the post town and/or postcode, these are unimportant details
  • Country. Unless you are delivering internationally, Royal Mail actually recommend against including country

Things to Note ✍️

  • Some addresses are just the organisation name, post town and postcode. So it is often a good idea to not remove this from the address during collection
  • County names should very much be avoided to identify a premise

How an Address Should Look

Here are a list of suggestions on how your address should be presented to help speed things up and ensure accurate delivery

  • Don't use full stops or commas
  • Keep addresses left aligned (i.e. not centered)
  • No individual element is wrapped over two lines
  • Post town is printed in capitals
  • Postcode is upper cased and correctly spaced
  • No blank lines
  • No two words more than 5mm apart

Fonts

Royal Mail have specific recommendations on how an address should be printed. The general principle behind this is to make it more readable for humans and machines. The guidelines for this are:

  • No fancy fonts (e.g. handwriting)
  • No bolds or underline
  • Stay away from serifed fonts
  • Keep a consistent font size and colour
  • Keep a minimum character width of 2mm
  • Keep a minimum character height of 7mm
  • Ensure sufficient contrast between the font and printing medium
  • Non-proportionally spaced fonts (i.e. monospaced) are preferred

Additional Information

If you require assistance on completing a UK address, you can input part of the address details into the in our address finder demo. Select the relevant suggestion and the full address will appear.

To programmatically organise your address data into a standardised format recognised by Royal Mail, you can use our UK Clear Addressing Library. This project produces 3 address lines and premise attributes based on building_name, sub_building_name and building_number.