You need stamps if you want to mail a letter – so it’s helpful to know how much they cost.
However, the price varies depending on what type of stamp you’re buying and how quickly you want your mail delivered – here’s everything you need to know.
Royal Mail charge different postage rates depending on the size or weight of the item.
First class stamps are more expensive than second class stamps because they get your letter to its destination faster.
We explain everything you need to know about the cost of posting a letter.
How much does a premium stamp cost?
Sending a first class letter is the quickest and most expensive option as your item usually arrives within one to two business days.
The cost of a first class stamp is currently £1.10 for a standard letter which can weigh up to 100g and measure a maximum of 24cm x 16.5cm x 5mm.
The stamps can be purchased individually if you purchase them at a post office counter.
Otherwise, you can usually buy them in sets of multiple stamps.
A book of eight stamps currently costs £7.60 from Royal Mail.
Buying a book could save you the time and hassle of going to the post office.
If you want to send a first class item larger than a standard letter, the cost of the postage will increase.
Royal Mail defines a small parcel as 45cm x 35cm x 16cm thick.
If the weight is less than 2 kg, the stamp costs £4.19.
For a package to be considered “Medium” it must be up to 61cm x 46cm x 46cm in size.
It costs £6.29 to send a medium-sized parcel first class if it weighs up to 2kg.
It will then cost £7.99 if it weighs up to 10kg or £11.99 for packages weighing up to 20kg.
If your parcel weighs more or is larger than this, you will not be able to send it via Royal Mail.
Instead, you need to use a service like Parcelforce, FedEx, or Hermes.
We’ve put together an in-depth guide to the best courier options.
How much does a second class stamp cost?
Posting a letter or parcel second class is cheaper than first class, but it will take longer to arrive.
It usually takes two to three business days for a second class item to arrive, including Saturdays.
A second class stamp for a standard letter costs 75p – you can buy second class stamps individually from the post office.
However, you can currently buy them in eights for £6 from a variety of stores including supermarkets and offline stores.
If you want to send a large letter up to 100g it will cost £1.15.
Large letters up to 250g are £1.85, letters up to 500g are £2.40 and letters up to 750g are £2.70.
But like first class stamps, second class stamps can also be used to send small and medium-sized parcels.
It costs £3.49 to post a small parcel weighing up to 2kg.
On the other hand, for medium-sized parcels, second class shipping costs £5.49 if they weigh up to 2kg and £6.99 if they weigh up to 10kg.
You will pay £10.49 for a parcel weighing up to 20kg.
You cannot send large parcels with second-class stamps either, so you will have to send your parcel via another parcel service.
Do postage stamps have an expiry date?
Stamps that do not have a monetary value do not normally expire, but there will be a major change next year that will invalidate the current stamps.
From July 31, 2023, you will no longer be able to use the current style of stamps featuring an image of the Queen’s head.
Instead, only the new-style stamps with their new barcodes are valid, and you’ll be charged a surcharge if you try to use anything else.
How are postage prices determined?
Normally the Royal Mail increases the price of stamps every year and last year the price went up in April.
Customers are usually notified about a month in advance before prices are increased.
This year, the increase was announced in March.
These changes have been carefully considered by Royal Mail given the 25% drop in letters sent since the pandemic.
Rising costs and high inflation rates are also responsible for the price increases.
Inflation in the UK unexpectedly rose to 10.4% in February, from 10.1% in January.