020 Area Code

London phone numbers

UK area code 020 is for London.

The 020 area code is for London, including all of central London and most parts of the outer boroughs. It is also used in some neighbouring areas just outside the Greater London boundary.

Areas using the 020 area code

The majority of Greater London is covered by the 020 area code:

Map showing coverage of 020 area code

Areas outside London which use 020 numbers include Borehamwood, Bushey, Bushey Heath, Chigwell, Elstree, Ewell, Loughton, Molesey and Thames Ditton.

Parts of some outer boroughs, such as Bromley, Havering and Hillingdon, are outside the 020 area and use other codes including 01322, 01689, 01708 and 01895.

List of areas using 020 area code...

020 number call costs

020 numbers are normal, landline numbers charged at standard rates.

» Typical landline call charges

Formatting an 020 number

020 numbers should be displayed in the format 020 xxxx xxxx or (020) xxxx xxxx, with the first space always placed between '020' and the eight-digit local number.

For international callers, use: +44 20 xxxx xxxx.

0203 numbers, 0207 numbers and 0208 numbers should all be written as above; formats such as '0207 xxx xxxx' are incorrect. [Why?]

Notes and links

Inner and outer London dialling codes

Between 1990 and 2000, separate area codes were used for Central London and Outer London. The division of London into separate inner and outer areas was only temporary and this distinction was removed in the year 2000 when the new London-wide 020 area code was introduced.

For historical reasons, there remains a perception that '020 7' numbers are for Central London and '020 8' is for the suburban areas. Similarly, some perceive '020 3' numbers to be dedicated to corporate clients. In reality, there is no official or technical difference between 020 3, 020 7 and 020 8 numbers - they can all be issued to either residential or business customers anywhere in the London area.

Recent history

The 020 area code has existed since April 2000, when it replaced the older 0171 and 0181 area codes. Standard local numbers begin with 3, 7 or 8.

YearEventExample number
1958Start of 'subscriber trunk dialling'; London standardises on 7-digit numbers and the area code 01 over the next decade.01 765 4321
1990London area splits into two: 071 area code for inner London and 081 code for outer London. No change to local numbers.071 765 4321 (inner)
081 765 4321 (outer)
1995Area codes change to 0171 and 0181 respectively. No change to local numbers.0171 765 4321 (inner)
0181 765 4321 (outer)
1996Consultation proposes eight-digit local numbers. Respondents reject separate 020 and 022 area codes for inner and outer London in favour of a single city-wide code.
2000Single London-wide area code of 020 is introduced. Local numbers lengthened to eight digits by prefixing with '7' in old 0171 area or '8' in old 0181 area.020 8765 4321
2005Local numbers beginning with 3 introduced.

As of March 2015, almost all available London numbers starting with 7 have been issued to phone companies, along with 87% of those starting with 8 and 81% of numbers beginning with 3.

Assuming similar levels of demand for London phone numbers continue, it is likely that a new batch of London numbers such as (020) 4 or (020) 5 will need to be released by 2020. No changes to existing numbers will be required.


Map of 020 London area code