Stamps can be bought from post offices (hours vary according to branch, but usual opening hours are weekdays 9–5:30, Saturday 9–noon), from stamp machines outside post offices, and from newsagents. Some post offices are located within supermarkets or general stores. Specialized shipping shops like Mail Boxes Etc. also sell stamps. Mailboxes, known as post or letter boxes, are painted bright red. Allow 7 days for a letter to reach the United States and about 10 days to two weeks to Australia or New Zealand. The useful Royal Mail website has information on everything from buying stamps to finding a post office.
Airmail letters up to 10 grams (0.35 ounce) to North America cost 88p. Letters within Britain weighing up to 100 grams (3.5 ounces) are 60p for first class, 50p for second class. Rates for envelopes larger than 353 mm (13.9 inches) long, 250 mm (9.84 inches) wide, and 25 mm (1 inch) deep are higher.
Royal Mail (0845/577–4040. www.royalmail.com.)
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 Federal Express and DHL offer two-day delivery service to the United States, but you'll pay a considerable amount for the privilege.
DHL (0800/316–0498. www.dhl.co.uk.)
Federal Express (0845/607–0809. www.fedex.com.)
Mail Boxes Etc. (0800/623123. www.mbe.co.uk.)
Parcelforce (0844/800–4466. www.parcelforce.com.)
UPS (0845/787–7877. www.ups.com.)
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