Stamps can be bought from post offices (generally open weekdays 9–5:30, Saturday 9–noon), from stamp machines outside post offices, and from some newsagents and newsstands. Mailboxes are known as post or letter boxes and are painted bright red; large tubular ones are set on the edge of sidewalks, whereas smaller boxes are set into post-office walls. Allow seven days for a letter to reach the United States. Check the Yellow Pages for a complete list of branches, though you cannot reach individual offices by phone.
Airmail letters up to 10 grams (0.35 ounce) to North America, Australia, and New Zealand cost £1. Letters under 9.4 inches by 6.4 inches within Britain are from 63p for first class, 54p for second class. Large letters (larger than 9.4 inches by 6.4 inches, smaller than 13.8 inches by 9.8 inches) cost from 95p first class, 74p second class within the United Kingdom, depending on weight. Airmail is assessed by weight alone.
If you're uncertain where you'll be staying, you can have mail sent to you at the London Main Post Office, c/o poste restante. The post office will hold international mail for one month.
Post Office. 0345/611–2970; www.postoffice.co.uk.
London Main Post Office. 24–28 William IV St., Charing Cross, London, WC2N 4DL. www.postoffice.co.uk.
Most department stores and retail outlets can ship your goods home. You should check your insurance for coverage of possible damage. Private delivery companies such as DHL, FedEx, and Parcelforce offer two-day delivery service to the United States, but you'll pay a considerable amount for the privilege.
DHL. 0844/248–0844; www.dhl.com.
FedEx. 0345/600–0068; www.fedex.com.
Parcelforce. 0344/800–4466; www.parcelforce.com.