020 Area Code

London phone numbers

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...

Most 020 numbers are for normal London area landlines but be aware that, as is the case for all UK area codes, such numbers may also be used for services without any physical link to the area. (More info)

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.

The area code change resulted in the full range of numbers from (020) 2000 0000 to (020) 9989 9999 becoming available for use in London although only local numbers starting with 3, 7 and 8 are currently in use.

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 now no official or technical difference between the different batches of numbers they can all be issued to either residential or business customers anywhere in London.

Recent history

The 020 area code has existed since April 2000, when it replaced the older 0171 and 0181 area codes.

London has gone through area code changes three times since the introduction of widespread direct dialling in the 1950s. The changes in 1990 and 2000 were carried out to increase the supply of phone numbers available in London, while the change in 1995 was part of a major renumbering that took place across the UK.

YearEventExample number
1958Start of 'subscriber trunk dialling'; 7-digit numbers and a London-wide area code of 01 become the standard over the next decade.01 765 4321
1990London area splits into two: 071 area code for inner London and 081 code for outer London. This doubles capacity while keeping local numbers at 7 digits long.071 765 4321 (inner)
081 765 4321 (outer)
1995Area codes change to 0171 and 0181 respectively in line with nationwide changes. No change to local numbers.0171 765 4321 (inner)
0181 765 4321 (outer)
1996Consultation proposes eight-digit local numbers to deal with continuing high demand. 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.

London numbers have been issued in batches and, so far, local numbers starting with 3, 7 and 8 are in use. As of February 2016, almost all numbers starting with 7 have been issued to phone companies, along with 89% of those starting with 8 and 86% 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 late 2019. However, this will have no effect on existing numbers and further changes to the London area code are unlikely to be required for several decades.


Map of 020 London area code