020 Area Code

London 0203 numbers

Numbers that start with the 020 area code, including '0203' numbers, are for London and the surrounding area.

There is no technical or official difference between London phone numbers that start 020 3 and those which start with 020 7 or 020 8 – all are available to business and personal customers anywhere in London.

Which area of London are numbers starting 020 3 for?

All 020 numbers are available for use in all areas of London.

Although there were separate area codes for inner and outer London between 1990 and 2000, the distinction was scrapped with the introduction of the single London-wide 020 area code. Any 020 number can be used in any part of London.

As is the case with all landline numbers, 020 numbers can also be used to forward calls to other parts of the country, to international destinations, or to virtual services such as VOIP phones.

Frequently asked questions about '0203 numbers'

Are 0203 numbers just for business?
No, they are issued to both personal and business customers - including for standard household phone lines.

Is an 0203 number likely to be a scammer?
Scammers use all sorts of different phone numbers and can even display fake numbers on caller display. The majority of 020 3 numbers belong to legitimate businesses and individuals; they are neither more or less safe than any other landline numbers.

Is the 0203 range for VOIP or virtual numbers?
VOIP services, call forwarding and virtual numbers can be found mixed in with numbers for traditional landline phones throughout the 020 area code.

Are 0203 numbers for new businesses?
Numbers starting 020 3 have only been issued to customers from 2005 onwards. However, as most phone companies have stocks of other 020 numbers and re-use old numbers, new connections can still use numbers starting 020 7 or 020 8 as well as newer 020 3 numbers.

Are 0203 numbers for non-BT or cable customers?
No, BT has hundreds of thousands of 020 3 numbers, as well as 020 numbers starting with 7 or 8. Most telephone companies have a mixture of 020 3, 020 7 and 020 8 London numbers.

Is it 020 or 0203?
The area code for London is just 020; the following digits are all part of the eight-digit local number. When displaying London phone numbers, the correct format is 020 xxxx xxxx – with the first space placed immediately after the 020 area code.

Do I need to dial 0203 in London?
The 020 area code is optional from landlines and calls within the London area can be made by dialling just the eight-digit local phone number. For example, (020) 7946 7946 can be dialled as simply '7946 7946' from any 020 London landline.

Should I block 0203 numbers?

Some people who have received several junk calls or scam attempts have come to view '0203' numbers as disreputable and to be avoided. However, there is nothing about the 020 3 number range that makes it either more or less risky than any other UK area code.

Hundreds of thousands of legitimate phone numbers start with 020 3. If you choose to block these numbers, you're effectively blocking a third of all London phone numbers and risk missing calls from people and businesses in London that you actually do want to hear from.

As an example, the following legitimate organisations use numbers starting with 020 3:

OrganisationUses numbers starting
Bank of England(020) 3461
BBC(020) 3614
Guardian and Observer newspapers(020) 3353
Metro Bank(020) 3402
Ministry of Justice(020) 3334
Thomson / TUI Holidays(020) 3451
Transport for London(020) 3054
Travelodge(020) 3195
University College London Hospitals(020) 3447 and 3448
University of Westminster(020) 3506

Remember, scam and nuisance calls can come from pretty much any phone number (and what you see on your caller display screen can easily be faked, too). It is much better to use your judgment and be cautious about calls from all numbers you don't recognise on an individual basis rather than believing you can keep yourself safe by arbitrarily blocking certain sets of numbers.

More information

» 020 area code
Full details of areas covered and the history of 020 numbers.

» Phone number formatting
How to correctly display phone numbers for major UK cities.

London