How much are first and second class stamps and where can I buy them?

AS coronavirus restrictions prevents many of us from seeing our loved ones this Christmas, many of us will be relying on the Royal Mail to deliver our cards to loved ones.

But the postal service is warning that a huge surge in demand due to the pandemic is likely to cause delivery chaos.

It's best to get ahead and get things posted as early as possible so they arrive in time, which is why we've put together a round up of the last Christmas postal dates.

But how much does it cost to post a letter? Here, we take you through everything you need to know:

How much is a first class stamp?

First class stamps cost 76p each and can be bought in books of six or 12, or singularly if you buy it at the Post Office counter.

These standard stamps will send a letter, but if you need to post a larger item the stamp cost will increase.

First class postage on a large letter starts at £2.45, £4.70 for a small parcel and £6.90 for a medium parcel.

The prices increase for heavier letters.

On December 1, Royal Mail announced it will hike the price of first class stamps by 9p  from January 1, 2021.

It's the biggest price increase since 2012 and the second this year.

In March, the cost of a first class stamp rose by 6p to 76p.

The price hike came just weeks after Royal Mail revealed letter volumes have fallen 28% in the six months to September 27, compared with a year earlier.

How much is a second class stamp? 

Posting a letter or parcel second class is cheaper than first class but it takes longer for it to arrive.
Typically, it takes two to three working days for it to arrive, including Saturday.
A second class stamp for a letter costs 65p, while prices for a large letter start at 88p.

From January 1 2021, second class stamps for a letter will set you back an extra 1p, at 66p.

Do stamps have an expiry date?

The Royal Mail explain that stamps with no monetary value indicated on them do not expire and can be used at any point.

Stamps with a monetary value also don't expire, but you will need to make sure the value on the stamp equals enough for the cost of postage.

For example, a second class stamp bought two years ago is still valid now but you won't be able to use it to post a large letter.

How are postage prices decided?

The Royal Mail typically increases the price of stamps annually in March.

Normally, it gives customers advance warning of around a month before pushing up prices.


The postal service defended its latest price hike by blaming the Covid-19 pandemic, which had cost it £85million.

The extra spending was spent on paying for protective equipment, covering absences, overtime and agency staff.

At the time, Royal Mail said: "The reduction in letter volumes has had a significant impact on the finances of the universal service which lost £180million in the first half of the year.

This demonstrates the need for change in the universal service.

"We are working tirelessly to deliver the most comprehensive service we can in difficult circumstances as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our operation."

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