UK number plate area codes: Explained with lists

Last updated February 23, 2023

It’s common knowledge that you can usually identify a car’s registration year by reading the number plate. However, did you know that most UK registration plates also contain information about where the vehicle was first registered?

In this guide, you’ll find comprehensive lists with explanations of all the area codes found on UK number plates. We’ll also explain how to read the current ‘infix’ style number plates (in addition to the older ‘suffix’ and ‘prefix’ plate formats) to determine where a vehicle was registered.

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Understanding number plate area codes in the UK

Introduced in 1903, the very first UK number plates allowed individual vehicles and motorists to be identified. However, these number plates did not contain any information about where and when vehicles were first registered.

That all changed with the introduction of ‘suffix’-format number plates in 1963. This style of number plate – and the subsequent ‘prefix’ and ‘infix’ formats contain an ‘area code’, specifying where the vehicle was first registered, in addition to an ‘age identifier’ number, indicating when the vehicle was registered.

However, the specific codes for each area and their placement within the number plate vary depending on the format. Number plate area codes comprise up to three letters and are also referred to by the DVLA as ‘memory tags’.

Number plate memory tags

Up until 2013, the area-specific memory tags found on UK number plates indicated which of the regional DVLA offices had registered the vehicle. All the regional DVLA offices in England, Wales and Scotland were subsequently closed as the system was centralised.

However, the DVLA still issues plates with the same region-specific memory tags to local car dealers to this day. For instance, if you bought a new car in Birmingham, its memory tag is very likely to start with the letter ‘B’.

A list of all car registration plate areas (for infix plates)

Want to know the region where your vehicle was originally registered? Look up the memory tag in the table below:

Memory Tag Region DVLA Office
AA, AB, AC, AD, AE, AF, AG, AH, AJ, AK, AL, AM, AN Anglia Peterborough
AO, AP, AR, AS, AT, AU Anglia Norwich
AV, AW, AX, AY Anglia Ipswich
BA, BB, BC, BD, BE, BF, BG, BH, BJ, BK, BL, BM, BN, BO, BP, BR, BS, BT, BU, BV, BW, BX, BY Birmingham Birmingham
CA, CB, CC, CD, CE, CF, CG, CH, CJ, CK, CL, CM, CN, CO Cymru Cardiff
CP, CR, CS, CT, CU, CV Cymru Swansea
CW, CX, CY Cymru Bangor
DA, DB, DC, DD, DE, DF, DG, DH, DJ, DK Deeside to Shrewsbury Chester
DL, DM, DN, DO, DP, DR, DS, DT, DU, DV, DW, DX, DY Deeside to Shrewsbury Shrewsbury
EA, EB, EC, ED, EE, EF, EG, EH, EJ, EK, EL, EM, EN, EO, EP, ER, ES, ET, EU, EV, EW, EX, EY Essex Chelmsford
FA, FB, FC, FD, FE, FF, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FL, FM, FN, FP Forest and Fens Nottingham
FR, FS, FT, FV, FW, FX, FY Forest and Fens Lincoln
GA, GB, GC, GD, GE, GF, GG, GH, GJ, GK, GL, GM, GN, GO Garden of England Maidstone
GP, GR, GS, GT, GU, GV, GX, GY Garden of England Brighton
HA, HB, HC, HD, HE, HF, HG, HH, HJ Hampshire and Dorset Bournemouth
HK, HL, HM, HN, HO, HP, HR, HS, HT, HU, HV, HX, HY Hampshire and Dorset Portsmouth
HW Hampshire and Dorset Portsmouth (Used exclusively for the Isle of Wight)
KA, KB, KC, KD, KE, KF, KG, KH, KJ, KK, KL - Luton
KM, KN, KO, KP, KR, KS, KT, KU, KV, KW, KX, KY - Northampton
LA, LB, LC, LD, LE, LF, LG, LH, LJ London Wimbledon
LK, LL, LM, LN, LO, LP, LR, LS, LT London Stanmore
LU, LV, LW, LX, LY London Sidcup
MA, MB, MC, MD, ME, MF, MG, MH, MJ, MK, ML, MM, MN, MO, MP, MR, MS, MT, MU, MV, MW, MX, MY Manchester and Merseyside Manchester
NA, NB, NC, ND, NE, NF, NG, NH, NJ, NK, NL, NM, NN, NO North Newcastle
NP, NR, NS, NT, NU, NV, NW, NX, NY North Stockton
OA, OB, OC, OD, OE, OF, OG, OH, OJ, OK, OL, OM, ON, OO, OP, OR, OS, OT, OU, OV, OW, OX, OY Oxford Oxford
PA, PB, PC, PD, PE, PF, PG, PH, PJ, PK, PL, PM, PN, PO, PP, PR, PS, PT Preston Preston
PU, PV, PW, PX, PY Preston Carlisle
RA, RB, RC, RD, RE, RF, RG, RH, RJ, RK, RL, RM, RN, RO, RP, RR, RS, RT, RU, RV, RW, RX, RY Reading Reading
SA, SB, SC, SD, SE, SF, SG, SH, SJ Scotland Glasgow
SK, SL, SM, SN, SO Scotland Edinburgh
SP, SR, SS, ST Scotland Dundee
SU, SV, SW Scotland Aberdeen
SX, SY Scotland Inverness
VA, VB, VC, VD, VE, VF, VG, VH, VJ, VK, VL, VM, VN, VO, VP, VR, VS, VT, VU, VV, VW, VX, VY Severn Valley Worcester
WA, WB, WC, WD, WE, WF, WG, WH, WJ West of England Exeter
WK, WL West of England Truro
WM, WN, WO, WP, WR, WS, WT, WU, WV, WW, WX, WY West of England Bristol
YA, YB, YC, YD, YE, YF, YG, YH, YJ, YK Yorkshire Leeds
YL, YM, YN, YO, YP, YR, YS, YT, YU Yorkshire Sheffield
YV, YW, YX, YY Yorkshire Beverley

Do you have an older (prefix or suffix-style) reg plate? Please refer to the table in the next section.

How did older number plate area codes work?

The current infix-style number plates were only introduced in 2001. Therefore, you’ll still encounter vehicles with prefix-style number plates (1983-2001) – and occasionally, even ‘classic’ cars with suffix-style plates (1963-1983) on the roads.

Prefix number plates (e.g. ‘T789 ABC’)

The prefix number plate format comprises a single letter (indicating the registration year), followed by one to three numbers - and finally, three letters. With this format, the final two letters represent the registration region (‘BC’ indicates ‘Leicester’ for the example above).

Suffix number plates (e.g. ‘ABC 789T’)

Conversely, with suffix-style number plates, the last letter indicates the registration year – while the second and third letters represent the registration region. (‘BC’ indicates ‘Leicester’ for the example above.)

Although the placement of the area code differs depending on whether you are looking at a prefix or suffix plate, the same area codes are used for both formats.

If you have a vehicle with a prefix or suffix-style plate, you can look up the area code in the table below:

Area Code Registration Region
A London
AA Bournemouth
AB Worcester
AC Coventry
AD Gloucester
AE Bristol
AF Truro
AG Hull
AH Norwich
AJ Middlesbrough
AK Sheffield
AL Nottingham
AM Swindon
AN Reading
AO Carlisle
AP Brighton
AR Chelmsford
AS Inverness
AT Hull
AU Nottingham
AV Peterborough
AW Shrewsbury
AX Cardiff
AY Leicester
AZ Belfast
B Lancashire
BA Manchester
BB Newcastle-upon-Tyne
BC Leicester
BD Northampton
BE Lincoln
BF Stoke-on-Trent
BG Liverpool
BH Luton
BJ Ipswich
BK Portsmouth
BL Reading
BM Luton
BN Manchester or Bolton
BO Cardiff
BP Portsmouth
BR Newcastle-upon-Tyne
BS Aberdeen
BT Leeds
BU Manchester
BV Preston
BW Oxford
BX Haverfordwest
BY London (North-West)
BZ County Down
C West Yorkshire
CA Chester
CB Manchester
CC Bangor
CD Brighton
CE Peterborough
CF Reading
CG Bournemouth
CH Nottingham
CJ Gloucester
CK Preston
CL Norwich
CM Liverpool
CN Newcastle-upon-Tyne
CO Exeter
CP Huddersfield
CR Southampton
CS Glasgow
CT Lincoln
CU Newcastle-upon-Tyne
CV Truro
CW Preston
CX Huddersfield
CY Swansea
CZ Belfast
D Kent
DA Birmingham
DB Manchester
DC Middlesbrough
DD Gloucester
DE Haverfordwest
DF Gloucester
DG Gloucester
DH Dudley
DJ Liverpool
DK Rochdale, later Manchester
DL Portsmouth
DM Chester
DN Leeds
DO Lincoln
DP Reading
DR Exeter
DS Glasgow
DT Sheffield
DU Coventry
DV Exeter
DW Cardiff
DX Ipswich
DY Brighton
DZ County Antrim
E Staffordshire
EA Dudley
EB Peterborough
EC Preston
ED Liverpool
EE Lincoln
EF Middlesbrough
EG Peterborough
EH Stoke-on-Trent
EJ Haverfordwest
EK Liverpool
EL Bournemouth
EM Liverpool
EN Bury, later Manchester
EO Preston
EP Swansea
ER Peterborough
ES Dundee
ET Sheffield
EU Bristol
EV Chelmsford
EW Peterborough
EX Norwich
EY Bangor
EZ Belfast
F Essex
FA Stoke-on-Trent
FB Bristol
FC Oxford
FD Dudley
FE Lincoln
FF Bangor
FG Brighton
FH Gloucester
FJ Exeter
FK Dudley
FL Peterborough
FM Chester
FN Maidstone
FO Gloucester
FP Leicester
FR Preston
FS Edinburgh
FT Newcastle-upon-Tyne
FU Lincoln
FV Preston
FW Lincoln
FX Bournemouth
FY Liverpool
FZ Belfast
G Glasgow
GA Glasgow
GB Glasgow
GC London (South-West)
GD Glasgow
GE Glasgow
GF London (South-West)
GG Glasgow
GH London (South-West)
GJ London (South-West)
GK London (South-West)
GL Truro
GM Reading
GN London (South-West)
GO London (South-West)
GP London (South-West)
GR Newcastle-upon-Tyne
GS Luton
GT London (South-West)
GU London (South-East)
GV Ipswich
GW London (South-East)
GX London (South-East)
GY London (South-East)
GZ Belfast
H London
HA Dudley
HB Cardiff
HC Brighton
HD Huddersfield
HE Sheffield
HF Liverpool
HG Preston
HH Carlisle
HJ Chelmsford
HK Chelmsford
HL Sheffield
HM London (Central)
HN Middlesbrough
HO Bournemouth
HP Coventry
HR Swindon
HS Glasgow
HT Bristol
HU Bristol
HV London (Central)
HW Bristol
HX London (Central)
HY Bristol
J Durham
JA Manchester
JB Reading
JC Bangor
JD London (Central)
JE Peterborough
JF Leicester
JG Maidstone
JH Reading
JJ Maidstone
JK Brighton
JL Lincoln
JM Reading
JN Chelmsford
JO Oxford
JP Liverpool
JR Newcastle-upon-Tyne
JS Inverness
JT Bournemouth
JU Leicester
JV Lincoln
JW Birmingham
JX Huddersfield
JY Exeter
JZ County Down
K Liverpool
KA Liverpool
KB Liverpool
KC Liverpool
KD Liverpool
KE Maidstone
KF Liverpool
KG Cardiff
KH Hull
KJ Maidstone
KK Maidstone
KL Maidstone
KM Maidstone
KN Maidstone
KO Maidstone
KP Maidstone
KR Maidstone
KS Edinburgh
KT Maidstone
KU Sheffield
KV Coventry
KW Sheffield
KX Luton
KY Sheffield
KZ County Antrim
L Glamorganshire
LA London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LB London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LC London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LD London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LE London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LF London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LG Chester
LH London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
KJ Bournemouth
LK London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LL London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LM London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LN London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LO London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LP London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LR London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LS Edinburgh
LT London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LU London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LV Liverpool
LW London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LX London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LY London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)
LZ County Armagh
M Cheshire
MA Chester
MB Chester
MC London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MD London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
ME London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MF London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MG London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MH London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MJ Luton
MK London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
ML London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MM London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MN used in the Isle of Man
MO Reading
MP London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MR Swindon
MS Edinburgh
MT London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MU London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MV London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MW Swindon
MX London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MY London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)
MZ Belfast
N Manchester
NA Manchester
NB Manchester
NC Manchester
ND Manchester
NE Manchester
NF Manchester
NG Norwich
NH Northampton
NJ Brighton
NK Luton
NL Newcastle-upon-Tyne
NM Luton
NN Nottingham
NO Chelmsford
NP Worcester
NR Leicester
NS Glasgow
NT Shrewsbury
NU Nottingham
NV Northampton
NW Leeds
NX Dudley
NY Cardiff
NZ County Londonderry/Derry
O Birmingham
OA Birmingham
OB Birmingham
OC Birmingham
OD Exeter
OE Birmingham
OF Birmingham
OG Birmingham
OH Birmingham
OI Belfast
OJ Birmingham
OK Birmingham
OL Birmingham
OM Birmingham
ON Birmingham
OO Chelmsford
OP Birmingham
OR Portsmouth
OS Glasgow
OT Portsmouth
OU Bristol
OV Birmingham
OW Southampton
OX Birmingham
OY London (North-West)
OZ Belfast
P Surrey
PA Guildford
PB Guildford
PC Guildford
PD Guildford
PE Guildford
PF Guildford
PG Guildford
PH Guildford
PJ Guildford
PK Guildford
PL Guildford
PM Guildford
PN Brighton
PO Portsmouth (GPO formerly used for General Post Office vehicles)
PP Luton
PR Bournemouth
PS Aberdeen
PT Newcastle-upon-Tyne
PU Chelmsford
PV Ipswich
PW Norwich
PX Portsmouth
PY Middlesbrough
PZ Belfast
R Derbyshire
RA Nottingham
RB Nottingham
RC Nottingham
RD Reading
RE Stoke-on-Trent
RF Stoke-on-Trent
RG Newcastle-upon-Tyne
RH Hull
RJ Manchester
RK London (North-West)
RL Truro
RM Carlisle
RN Preston
RO Luton
RP Northampton
RR Nottingham
RS Aberdeen
RT Ipswich
RU Bournemouth
RV Portsmouth
RW Coventry
RX Reading
RY Leicester
RZ County Antrim
S Edinburgh
SA Aberdeen
SB Glasgow
SC Edinburgh
SD Glasgow
SE Aberdeen
SF Edinburgh
SG Edinburgh
SH Edinburgh
SJ Glasgow
SK Inverness
SL Dundee
SM Carlisle
SN Dundee
SO Aberdeen
SP Dundee
SR Dundee
SS Aberdeen
ST Inverness
SU Glasgow
SW Carlisle
SX Edinburgh
T Devon
TA Exeter
TB Liverpool
TC Bristol
TD Manchester
TE Manchester
TF Reading
TG Cardiff
TH Swansea
TJ Liverpool
TK Exeter
TL Lincoln
TM Luton
TN Newcastle-upon-Tyne
TO Nottingham
TP Portsmouth
TR Southampton
TS Dundee
TT Exeter
TU Chester
TV Nottingham
TW Chelmsford
TX Cardiff
TY Newcastle-upon-Tyne
TZ Belfast
U Leeds
UA Leeds
UB Leeds
UC London (Central)
UD Oxford
UE Dudley
UF Brighton
UG Leeds
UH Cardiff
UI County Londonderry/Derry
UJ Shrewsbury
UK Birmingham
UL London (Central)
UM Leeds
UN Exeter
UO Exeter
UP Newcastle-upon-Tyne
UR Luton
US Glasgow
UT Leicester
UU London (Central)
UV London (Central)
UW London (Central)
UX Shrewsbury
UY Worcester
UZ Belfast
V Lanarkshire
VA Peterborough
VB Maidstone
VC Coventry
VD Lanarkshire/Luton
VE Peterborough
VF Norwich
VG Norwich
VH Huddersfield
VJ Gloucester
VK Newcastle-upon-Tyne
VL Lincoln
VM Manchester
VN Middlesbrough
VO Nottingham
VP Birmingham
VR Manchester
VS Luton
VT Stoke-on-Trent
VU Manchester
VV Northampton
VW Chelmsford
VX Chelmsford
VY Leeds
VZ County Tyrone
W Sheffield
WA Sheffield
WB Sheffield
WC Chelmsford
WD Dudley
WE Sheffield
WF Sheffield
WG Sheffield
WH Manchester or Bolton
WJ Sheffield
WK Coventry
WL Oxford
WM Liverpool
WN Swansea
WO Cardiff
WP Worcester
WR Leeds
WS Bristol
WT Leeds
WU Leeds
WV Brighton
WW Leeds
WX Leeds
WY Leeds
WZ Belfast
X Northumberland
XI Belfast
XZ County Armagh
Y Somerset
YA Taunton
YB Taunton
YC Taunton
YD Taunton
YE London (Central)
YF London (Central)
YG Leeds
YH London (Central)
YJ Brighton
YK London (Central)
YL London (Central)
YM London (Central)
YN London (Central)
YO London (Central)
YP London (Central)
YR London (Central)
YS Glasgow
YT London (Central)
YU London (Central)
YV London (Central)
YW London (Central)
YX London (Central)
YY London (Central)
YZ County Londonderry

What about area codes on personalised number plates?

Some prefix and suffix-style number plates were originally registered to vehicles that are no longer on the road, but gained a second lease of life when they were sold as ‘personalised’ (also known as ‘private’) plates.

If you see a prefix or suffix-style number plate on a modern car, it’s likely that the reg number was bought as a personalised plate, then transferred to this vehicle.

Of course, when an older-style registration plate has been transferred to a more modern vehicle, its area code will relate to the vehicle to which it was originally assigned. Therefore, it is not possible to determine where a vehicle was registered from the number plate alone if its prefix or suffix registration is now a personalised plate.