With the festive season just around the corner, millions of cards and parcels will be posted across the UK and beyond. To ensure your gifts and cards arrive on time, Royal Mail has a detailed listing of Christmas last posting dates for sending your parcels and stamped letters within the UK and abroad.
Royal Mail, the UK’s largest parcel delivery service by volume, is gearing up for the annual December rush, recently adding more staff, vehicles and resources to handle double the number of parcels and letters it estimates it processes during the Christmas season.
The company announced in October it was hiring 16,000 temporary workers to help its regular staff of over 110,000 to sort the mail and process a higher volume of letters and online shopping parcels. It reinforced its capacity by adding five new temporary parcel sorting centres and 6,800 extra delivery trucks and vans to its delivery fleet.
Royal Mail’s two new automated ‘Super Hubs’ in Daventry and Warrington added about 600 additional staff to sort the anticipated two million parcels per day that will be processed at both locations.
“We are pulling out all the stops to deliver Christmas. It’s our busiest time of the year and we know how important it is to deliver on time for our customers,” Grant McPherson, chief operating officer with Royal Mail, said in a statement.
“By planning ahead, hiring more people, vans and trucks, we are well-prepared to handle the increase in festive mail and parcels and deliver the high standards of service our customers expect from Royal Mail.”
Christmas last posting dates 2023
Royal Mail recommends sending your parcels and letters out as early as possible to avoid potential delays. You can view final posting dates if you plan to send parcels through one of the 11,500-plus Post Office branches across the country.
To ensure your Christmas parcels and letters arrive on time, here’s a look at international and domestic Christmas last posting dates for customers using Royal Mail’s online services.
Inland UK Consumer Online Services*
|Monday, 18 December||2nd Class, 2nd Class Signed For, Royal Mail Tracked 48**|
|Wednesday, 20 December||1st Class, 1st Class Signed For, Royal Mail Tracked 24**|
|Thursday, 21 December||Special Delivery Guaranteed|
|Friday, 22 December*||Special Delivery Guaranteed|
(Guaranteed Saturday delivery is available for an extra fee)
International Economy Posting*
|Friday, 24 November||Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Turkey|
|Monday, 27 November||Western Europe|
Note: The deadline has passed for international economy posting to all non-European countries.
International Tracking and Signature Services*
|Monday, 11 December||Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Australia, Bulgaria, Caribbean, China (People’s Republic), Far and Middle East, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain|
|Tuesday, 12 December||Cyprus and Malta|
|Wednesday, 13 December||Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eastern Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, USA|
|Tuesday, 5 December||Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Australia, Caribbean, China (People’s Republic), Far and Middle East, New Zealand|
|Wednesday, 6 December||Cyprus and Malta|
|Thursday, 7 December||Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic and Poland), France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey|
|Friday, 8 December||Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA|
HM Forces Mail – British Forces Post Office (BFPO)*
|Monday, 27 November||Operational HM Forces|
|Monday, 4 December||Static HM Forces|
There will be no Royal Mail deliveries or collections on these dates:
- Christmas Eve – Sunday, 24 December
- Christmas Day – Monday, 25 December
- Boxing Day – Tuesday, 26 December
- New Year’s Eve – Sunday, 31 December
- New Year’s Day – Monday, 1 January
* Editor’s note: All Christmas last posting dates are current as of article publish date, but may be changed at any time by Royal Mail. Visit Royal Mail’s incident page for up-to-date information.
** Royal Mail Tracked 24 and Royal Mail Tracked 48 are not available to purchase at Post Office branches.
What to do if your parcels are delayed or missing
It’s the nightmare scenario no one wants to envision when they’re sending gifts or cards to family and friends for Christmas.
However, if your post or parcels do go missing or are delayed, there are certain legal protections you have as a consumer, said Alex Neill, co-founder of Consumer Voice, a pro-consumer advocacy and information website, in an email to NerdWallet UK.
“If your festive parcels go astray or end up being late, don’t put up with it. You should be refunded the postal costs as a minimum and may well be entitled to compensation,” Neill said.
“Check the terms and conditions of the delivery service you used and get in touch with them directly to get back what you’re owed.”
According to the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, a late delivery is a violation of the law because the service wasn’t provided as agreed upon with “reasonable care and skill”.
If your parcel does get delayed or goes missing, follow the reporting and claim process for your specific delivery service. Royal Mail, like other delivery providers, offers an online claims centre.
“When you’re choosing who to send your parcel with, be aware that there are several alternatives to Royal Mail. You should compare the costs and protections of each and see what their customer reviews are like,” Neill added.
If all else fails you may be able to make a chargeback claim to at least get back the cost of postage, if you paid for it by debit or credit card.
Seven tips to avoid holiday delivery mishaps
To ensure your holiday parcels arrive on time, safe and sound, follow these helpful tips from Consumer Voice:
- Shop around when looking to send a parcel. There are several alternatives to Royal Mail, including: Parcelforce Worldwide (part of Royal Mail Group), DPD, Evri, FedEx, Yodel, UPS, and DHL.
- Compare the costs and levels of guarantees or protections each courier service offers.
- Check out online reviews from other customers, paying special attention to the bad reviews and specific issues that users cite.
- Be aware of the protection you do (and don’t) get for the delivery service you’re paying for.
- Keep your receipts and confirmation details handy if there are issues with your deliveries.
- Pay for extra protection when you’re sending high-value items in case parcels are damaged or lost.
- Send your parcels out as early as you can (before Christmas last posting dates, if possible) to avoid potential delays or other hiccups.
Image source: Getty Images
Employees aren’t excited about Christmas work parties this year, according to a new NerdWallet survey. Find out what they’d prefer instead of a work do.