UK Telephone Numbers – How to Call Numbers in the UK

Telephone numbers in the UK are administered by the Office of Communications (Ofcom). Ofcom is the regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.

Landline Numbers

The first part of a UK landline number is specific to one geographic area. It is referred to as the area code or dialling code.

The code is three to six digits long and always starts with 01 or 02.

For example, the area code for Manchester is 0161 while the area code for London is 020.

A full list of UK area codes can be found here.

When calling a UK landline from another UK landline with the same area code it is not necessary to dial the area code.

However, when calling a UK landline from a UK mobile phone, the area code is required.

To call a UK landline from overseas:

  • Dial the international access code for the country you are calling from – typically 00, 011, or ‘+’ (mobiles)
  • Dial the country code for the UK – 44
  • Dial the UK area code without the first 0
  • Dial the customer number

For example, a to call a hypothetical business in Manchester with the phone number 0161 123 4567:

  • From another landline in Manchester – dial 123 4567
  • From another landline in the UK, but not in Manchester – dial 0161 123 4567
  • From a UK mobile – dial 0161 123 4567
  • From overseas landline (most countries) – dial 00 44 161 123 4567
  • From overseas landline (US, Canada) – dial 00 44 161 123 4567
  • From overseas mobiles – dial + 44 161 123 4567

Mobile Phone Numbers

Mobile phone numbers are 11 figures long and always begin with 07.

To call a UK mobile phone number from the UK, dial the full number.

To call a UK mobile phone number from overseas:

  • Dial the international access code for the country you are calling from – typically 00, 011, or ‘+’ (mobiles)
  • Dial the country code for the UK – 44
  • Dial the UK mobile phone number, omitting the first 0

For example to call a hypothetical person in the UK with a mobile phone number 0712 345 6789;

  • From a UK landline – dial 0712 345 6789
  • From a UK mobile – dial 0712 345 6789
  • From overseas landlines (most countries) – dial 00 44 712 345 6789
  • From overseas landlines (US, Canada) – dial 011 44 712 345 6789
  • From overseas mobiles – dial + 44 712 345 6789

Other Telephone Numbers

In addition to numbers beginning with 01 and 02 (UK landlines) and 07 (UK mobiles), there are a variety of numbers with other prefixes.

PrefixNotesExample Ranges
303 numbers are non-geographic numbers. Introduced as an alternative to calling more expensive 08 numbers. Allow companies to have a cheaper nationwide number. Calls cost the same as numbers beginning 01 and 02 (regular UK landline numbers).0300, 0302, 0303, 0344, 0345
0800, 0808Freephone numbers. Free to call from mobile phones and consumer landlines. Often used by government services, helplines, charities etc.
84Business rate number. Chargeable. Charge consists of an access charge from the phone company and a service charge from the organisation being called.0843, 0844, 0845
87Business rate number. Chargeable. Charge consists of an access charge from the phone company and a service charge from the organisation being called. More expensive than 084 numbers.0870, 0871, 0872, 0873
9Very expensive premium rate numbers. Can cost several pounds per minute. Often used by adult chat services, horoscopes, and the like.
118Directory enquiry numbers. Very expensive.

3 Digit Numbers

There are a variety of 3 digit numbers, used to contact special services and helplines.

Calls to emergency numbers (999, 112), the NHS helpline (111), and the electricity helpline (105) are free. There’s a small fixed charge to contact the police via their non-emergency number (101).

NumberNameNotes
999Emergency (UK)Free. Used to contact police service, fire service, ambulance service in emergency situations.
112Emergency (EU)Effectively the same as 999 but not as widely recognised in the UK. Works in the EU and UK. Free.
111NHS (non-emergency)NHS helpline. Free to call.
101Police (non-emergency)Used to report crimes that do not require an emergency response. Small charge.
105Electricity helplineUsed to report power cuts. Free to call.
123Speaking clockGives the current time. Chargeable.
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