How to Meet Royal Mail Christmas Delivery Dates

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery Dates Andrew E Gardner

December is almost here, which means that for people placing online orders or sending Christmas presents in the mail, it’s time to take a look at the Christmas schedule for the UK postal service. Especially for international orders, Royal Mail Christmas delivery dates can have a cut-off point in late November to early December. If you haven’t yet, check that your parcels will get to their recipients in time and make sure to send them as soon as possible! This guide will help you to find all the information you need to take some of the stress out of sending gifts during this Christmas season.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery Dates 2017

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to know the last possible date you can send your parcel so that it makes it in time for Christmas. We’ve compiled this information from the Royal Mail website into helpful tables for you. No-one likes to waste time looking for information when it should all be in one place, so you can find the final posting dates for Royal Mail Christmas delivery below.

Last Posting Dates for Royal Mail Christmas Delivery (WITHIN THE UK)

Final Posting Date
Posting Method
Monday 11th December
International Standard
for static HM Forces Mail
Wednesday 20th December
2nd Class, 2nd Class Signed For
Thursday 21st December
1st Class, 1st Class Signed For
Thursday 21st December
Special Delivery Guaranteed
Friday 22nd December
Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed

Last Posting Dates for Royal Mail Christmas Delivery (INTERNATIONAL STANDARD)

Final Posting Date
Destination Country
Saturday 2nd December
Africa, Middle East
Tuesday 5th December
Western Sahara
Wednesday 6th December
Asia, Cyprus, Far East, Eastern Europe
(except Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia)
Thursday 7th December
Caribbean, Central and South America
Saturday 9th December
Australia, Greece, New Zealand, Turkey
Wednesday 13th December
Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland
Thursday 14th December
Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA
Friday 15th December
Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands,
Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
Saturday 16th December
Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg

For a full list of final posting dates for Royal Mail Christmas delivery in each country, click here. Unfortunately, as of 29th November, no International Economy deliveries will arrive in time for Christmas. In any case, Standard and Tracked services offer more secure delivery for International parcels. Follow our guide to find out how to send your Christmas deliveries via Royal Mail.

How to Send Your Parcel By Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

Once you’ve checked your deadline for sending your parcel in time for Christmas, you’ll need to get all your Christmas shopping done in advance of the final posting date. So, if you’ve got your presents in time to send them off for Christmas delivery, what do you do next?

Check Delivery Restrictions

First of all, check Royal Mail can deliver your item. For health and safety reasons, Royal Mail can’t carry some items such as aerosol sprays and flammable liquids. Take a look at the list of prohibited goods which can’t be sent by post within the UK here. Read through the more extensive list of prohibited goods for International deliveries here. Some international deliveries may be affected by sanctions, so check the status of your parcel’s destination country beforehand.

Package Your Items

Now you know you’re good to send your gifts, it’s time to package them up properly. Royal Mail will only deliver appropriately packaged items, plus you don’t want your present to end up ruined in transit. Find some tips on secure wrapping according to Royal Mail guidelines here to avoid the disappointment if your delivery arrives damaged or can’t be sent at all.

Address Your Parcel

To prevent any confusion, write the destination address on your package clearly and in full, including the postcode. Use the Royal Mail Postcode Finder service for help if you don’t know the full address. You should always write the address towards the bottom left, and attach postage in the top right corner. Do exactly the same for international addresses, just add the country underneath in capital letters. Always include a return address on the back just in case.

Calculate the Postage Cost

Nobody wants an unpleasant surprise at the Post Office counter, so find out how much postage will cost before you go. The Royal Mail Pricing Guide can get complicated, so try the handy Royal Mail Price Finder instead. The Price Finder will show you all your delivery options in four straightforward steps.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

For example, let’s say we’re sending a small parcel to another UK address.  Once we’ve selected the UK and hit the red Next button, we have to choose between a Letter, a Large Letter, and a Parcel. Our parcel weighs between 1kg and 2kg and the contents are worth £25, so we’ll select the appropriate options from the drop-down menu. If you can’t weigh your parcel, click on the red “Not sure?” for a rough size and weight guide. If you already know you want to use extra secure delivery requiring a signature, tick the little box before pressing Next.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

Next, you’ll need to measure your parcel with a ruler or tape measure to find which of the three size categories it fits into. If you’re unsure, click on the blue calculator button and enter the measurements, then it will be sorted into a category for you. When you’ve selected the right parcel size, click “See Prices” for the final step in the process.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

Finally, the Price Finder displays all of the delivery options available to you. Click the arrows to filter according to whichever is most important from speed, tracking, insurance cover or price. Obviously, the faster the delivery or the more extensive the cover, the higher the postage costs. You can edit previous steps if you need to adjust anything.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

Then you can choose the option that works best for you, and remember to ask for it at the Post Office. As you can see from the red buttons, some postage options are available to buy online. If you know which service you want to use, save time by booking ahead with Click & Drop.  This may get slightly more complicated and requires a printer and online payment via credit or debit card, so read through all the information at the linked Click & Drop page first.

Find Your Local Office

Use the Branch Finder to locate either your nearest Royal Mail Delivery Office or Post Office. Often Post Offices are closer, but in some cases, you might find a Royal Mail depot is easier to reach. Follow the steps below to find out where to take your parcel. To illustrate this, we’ll use an example UK postcode in Manchester, England (M11 1DG).

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

It’s as simple as entering your postcode and pressing the “Search” button. When you do this, the page refreshes automatically with all the details of your nearest Royal Mail Delivery Office. It displays the address with a map, phone number, opening times, facilities, and even Christmas opening hours.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

To find your local Post Office, click the Post Office tab next to Royal Mail to switch searches. Searching under “all branches” will provide a lot of results, so save time by selecting from the drop-down menu. This will help you find the closest Post Office which actually offers the specific service you want to use. If you printed your pre-paid postage, select “Drop & Go.” If you need to pay for postage when you get there, then select “Post & Go.”

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

After pressing the “Search” button, the page refreshes with a list of Post Offices within 15 miles of your postcode. Ordered from closest to furthest away for your convenience, you can even view directions to it on a map. If you need to call a Post Office, use the address to run a search on Google. When the Post Office details come up, they will include a contact phone number.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

Once you’ve decided which Delivery Office or Post Office you want to go to, all that’s left to do is go! Make a note of opening times so you know when you can pop by to post your parcels. Don’t forget to send them off in time for the last posting dates for Christmas delivery either! As a general guide, the earlier you post your items, the better. When you mail your items, always keep the receipt as proof of postage. Make sure they get delivered in time by using Track & Trace (you’ll need the reference number on your receipt).

Christmas Collections & Re-Deliveries

You might have already sorted your own outgoing mail, but what about when others send presents to you by post? During this busy time of year, you can’t always be at home to accept deliveries. There’s nothing worse than seeing that “sorry we missed you” card waiting when you open the door! If this happens to you, here’s what you need to do.

Arrange Re-Delivery

Use the details left on the card to book a redelivery online, for a day when you know you’ll definitely be at home. Firstly, you need to select the date on the card and enter the name of the person it was for. The card will normally tell you what the item is so you can select from the list to help the Delivery Office identify it. If not, then just select the option “the card doesn’t say.” The card should also let you know the number of items, sometimes with a specific reference number. A reference number isn’t necessary to book a redelivery, so don’t worry if there isn’t one.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

After pressing the “Choose when we redeliver” button, you’ll progress to step 2. Here you’ll select the redelivery date, either the first available or from the drop-down menu. Choose the date which is most convenient for you to ensure you receive the delivery this time. Due to the 48-hour redelivery notice period, you can only select a date two days from the time of booking. You can take this chance to amend the delivery address by providing an alternate address. This won’t cost anything, and redelivery to your original address is also free.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

Click “Check details” and you’re almost done! On the third page, confirm everything is filled out correctly. Edit the details if you want to make changes. You’ll need to provide either your phone number or e-mail address, or both. Royal Mail might need them to contact you if there are any issues with the redelivery.

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

Lastly, press to confirm redelivery when you’re sure everything is correct. Once completed, you’ll receive a reference number for your booking. Write it down just in case, but Royal Mail does e-mail a copy to you. Now all you need to do is wait for your redelivery on your chosen day, and open your mystery parcel!

Royal Mail Christmas Delivery

The closer we get to Christmas, redeliveries won’t happen on some days. Read the list of Christmas and New Year delivery dates here. If a date isn’t available for redelivery, then it won’t appear on the drop-down menu during the booking process.

Arrange Collection

Usually, the missed delivery card will let you know that your item is waiting for you at the local Delivery Office. You’ll have to wait 24 hours before going to collect it. From the original delivery attempt date, the Delivery Office only holds your item for 18 calendar days before returning it to the sender. If you can’t get there to collect it, arrange for a collection from your closest Post Office instead. Find out where the Delivery Office or Post Office is using the Branch Finder, as detailed above.

To arrange a collection from a Post Office, follow the steps above for booking a redelivery. At step 2, choose “Local Post Office” as the redelivery address. When you click this option, a list of nearby Post Offices will appear. Just select the Post Office you want to collect from and proceed the same way as above. Royal Mail will notify you when your item is ready to pick up from the Post Office. Bear in mind that you’ll have to pay a fee of 70p when you pick up your item.

Things to Remember

When you go to collect an item, you’ll need to bring the missed delivery card and a form of ID. This could be a debit or credit card, driving license, or passport. If you’re collecting on behalf of someone else, they will have to give you their ID. These rules apply whether you are collecting from the Royal Mail Delivery Office or a Post Office.

From Monday 18th December to Friday 29th December, you won’t be able to book a collection. If you receive a missed delivery card later than Saturday 16th December, you’ll have to wait until Saturday 30th December to book a collection. This will take up the majority of the 18 days Royal Mail will wait before returning your item to the sender. For this reason, it’s better to either collect directly from the Delivery Office or just book a regular redelivery.