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UK Currency Basic Information

Pounds Sterling


British coins
Antony Edwards/Stockbyte/Getty Images UK Currency Basic Information

UK Notes

Image: © Laura Porter licensed to About.com, Inc. UK Currency Basic Information

UK Money

Image: © Laura Porter licensed to About.com, Inc.

The UK unit of currency is the pound sterling (£). In London we often call one pound (£1) a "quid" and sometimes a "nicker".


One pound is made up of 100 pence (p). Coin denominations are:


The notes available are:

If you have a £50 note do make sure it is the newest design as the Houblon £50 note stopped being legal tender on 30 April 2014. 

Have at look at the Photographs of UK Money to familiarize yourself before your vacation.

What about Euros?

A lot of European countries have changed their currency to the Euro, but the UK has not yet joined. There is a lot of speculation about if and when we ever will join, but that's another story. Many of London's larger retailers will accept the Euro as an alternative currency and their goods are priced in both pounds and Euros.

Scottish Notes

Scottish notes are not officially 'legal tender' in England but this does not mean you can't use them to pay for goods here. The Bank of England regulates the issue of Scottish and Irish banknotes and although shopkeepers may look at the notes more carefully, once they recognize them they are usually accepted. If you have any problems, simply exchange them (at no cost) at any High Street bank.

Northern Irish Pounds

Northern Ireland still uses pounds sterling, while southern Ireland has moved to Euros. Northern Irish pounds are accepted in England but you will rarely see them. Find out more about Irish currency issues.

Photographs of UK Money

Try to familiarize yourself with UK money before you arrive in London. Check out these pictures of the notes and coins.
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