Keeping in Touch
When you're far away from home, it's comforting to stay in touch. Whether it's a postcard, a letter, a quick email or a long late night phone call, friends and family will be pleased to hear from you.
Telephones and Dialling Codes
The dialling code for London is 020, followed by an 8-digit number. For example, LondonTown.com's telephone number is 020 7494 2020.
Canada - 1
China - 86
New Zealand 64
Poland - 48
Russia - 7
South Africa 27
Londons traditional red phone boxes are now tourist attractions in their own right. Public phones were first seen in 1884, eight years after the invention of the telephone, but were placed in hotel foyers and shops. The fist kiosk hit the streets in 1921, but it wasn't until five years later that the red box emerged as a London icon.
International Phone Cards
Pre-paid phone cards can be bought from selected newsagents, off-licenses and convenience stores or internet cafes. They are sold in denominations of £5, £10, £15 and £20. The card will be pre-charged to the value shown.
London may be an ancient and historic city but it is also very net-friendly these days. Many hotel rooms have modem points or an in-house internet cafι or bar. There are also a huge number of cyber cafes all over town. One of the most accessible is the easyInternetcafe chain.
If you are travelling to the UK from Europe check to see if your network provider has a reciprocal arrangement with a UK based network that allows you to use your mobile; almost all do, but some may need to be activated in advance.
Sometimes there's nothing quite like the personal touch of a good old-fashioned letter for keeping in contact. Although post offices around the UK seem to be closing down, the service is still excellent.
For sending letters within the UK, stamps can be purchased at a post office or at most newsagents and supermarkets. First class costs 39p and should arrive within one working day. Second class is only 30p, but can take up to three working days to be delivered.
For sending things abroad you can either opt for the speedy, but expensive, airmail service (three days to Western Europe, four to Eastern Europe and and five for the rest of the world) or pay about half the price for lethargic surface mail. Airmail is fine for postcards and letters but as soon as you start sending anything weighty it can get very expensive. Heavy items will get back to Western European destinations by surface mail within two weeks, although they can take up to three months to reach Australia.
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