UK Area Codes and Phone Number Information

020 Area Code

London phone numbers

020 numbers are for London, including all of central London and the majority of the outer London boroughs.

The boundary of the 020 area code does not follow the Greater London boundary. Several areas outside Greater London use 020 numbers while the outer parts of some London boroughs use their own area codes instead of 020 numbers.

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)

Types of London phone number

All 020 numbers are normal, London phone numbers and calls to 020 numbers are charged at standard landline rates.

Since the introduction of the 020 area code in April 2000, London numbers have been issued in distinct batches as follows:

NumbersIssued from
(020) 7xxx xxxxApril 2000
(020) 8xxx xxxxApril 2000
(020) 3xxx xxxxJune 2005
(020) 4xxx xxxxOctober 2019

There is no technical difference between the different batches and all are available for use by both business and personal customers throughout the London area.

Inner versus outer London

Prior to 2000, there were separate area codes for inner and outer London. The distinction was scrapped when the London-wide 020 area code was introduced.

When the new code was created, most old central London numbers moved to (020) 7, while outer London numbers moved to (020) 8. This led to a common misconception that a division still existed and that separate sets of '0207' and '0208' numbers were exclusively reserved for inner and outer London respectively.

However, there was never any official subdivision of the 020 area. New numbers starting '7' or '8' have been issued regardless of location for over 20 years, so it is no longer possible to reliably determine whether a number lies in the former 'inner' or 'outer' area.

Formatting an 020 number

020 numbers should be displayed in the format 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.

Recent history

London has gone through three area code changes since the introduction of widespread direct dialling in the 1950s.

Between 1990 and 2000, separate area codes were used for Central London and Outer London. This temporary division of London into separate inner and outer areas was abandoned when the new London-wide 020 area code was introduced.

The most recent area code change in the year 2000 resulted in over 79 million numbers from (020) 2000 0000 to (020) 9989 9999 becoming available for use in London – although only local numbers starting with 3, 4, 7 and 8 are currently in general use.

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.01 222 1234
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.071 222 1234
1995Area codes change to 0171 and 0181 respectively in line with nationwide changes. No change to local numbers.0171 222 1234
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.
1999020 numbers start to run alongside old numbers from June. Either version can be used when dialling a number in full, but dialling locally using seven digits is unchanged.
2000Final changeover to single London-wide 020 area code takes place in April. Local numbers lengthened to eight digits by prefixing with '7' in old 0171 area or '8' in old 0181 area.020 7222 1234
2005Local numbers beginning with 3 introduced.
2019Local numbers beginning with 4 introduced.

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