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Stamps can be bought from post offices (generally open weekdays 9-5:30, Saturday 9-noon), from stamp machines outside post offices, and from some newsagents and newsstands. Mailboxes are known as postal or letter boxes and are painted bright red; large tubular ones are set on the edge of sidewalks, whereas smaller boxes are set into post-office walls. Allow seven days for a letter to reach the United States. Check the Yellow Pages for a complete list of branches, though you cannot reach individual offices by phone.
Airmail letters up to 10 grams (0.35 ounce) to North America, Australia, and New Zealand cost 67p. Letters under 9.4 inches x 6.4 inches within Britain are from 41p for first class, 32p for second class. Large letters (over 9.4 inches x 6.4 inches, under 13.8 inches x 9.8 inches) cost from 66p first-class, 51p second-class within the United Kingdom, depending on weight. Airmail is assessed by weight alone.
If you're uncertain where you'll be staying, you can have mail sent to you at the London Main Post Office, c/o poste restante. The post office will hold international mail for one month.
Post Office (08457/223-344. www.postoffice.co.uk.)
London Main Post Office (24-28 William IV St., Charing Cross, London, WC2N 4DL. www.postoffice.co.uk. 43-44 Albemarle St., Mayfair, W1S 4DS. 111 Baker St., Marylebone, W1U 6SG. 54-56 Great Portland St., Fitzrovia, W1W 7NE. 181 High Holborn, Holborn, WC1V 7RL.)
Most department stores and retail outlets can ship your goods home. You should check your insurance for coverage of possible damage. Private delivery companies such as DHL, FedEx, and Parcelforce offer two-day delivery service to the United States, but you'll pay a considerable amount for the privilege.
DHL (0844/248-0844. www.dhl.com.)
FedEx (0845/607-0809. www.fedex.com.)
Parcelforce (0844/800-4466. www.parcelforce.com.)
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