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Old pound notes

So my sweet husband gave me British pounds for a Christmas gift. He did not know that the 10s are being shelved in March. Our trip is in June. As a tourist, with no bank affiliations in England, what are my options? The articles I've read led me to believe an account was necessary to exchange old notes to the new notes.

Posted by Dale
413 posts

They can be exchanged at the Bank of England in London for no charge. There's also a small, but wonderful museum there that is well worth a short visit.

How many were you given? They can be used in donation boxes at museums and churches. Those institutions will have a local bank account and they can easily deposit the old notes. While many of the major museums are free, a donation is appreciated.

Posted by awsixweavers OP
9 posts

Thank you for your prompt reply! I have around $100 in the expiring notes. I'm glad to hear that I could possibly use them for the suggested donations at the churches and museums. If I end up at the Bank of London I'll be sure to visit their small museum, thanks!

Posted by Ann
New York
978 posts

I had the same issue last year while in England. I went into Barclay's Bank and exchanged the notes for new ones. They never asked me if I had an account or anything. I just went to the teller and exchanged them. There are many Barclay's Branches in London and in the UK. Before you give them away, I would try Barclay's Bank and if they do give you a hard time, ask for the manager and ask what you can do about exchanging for new notes. I would also go back to the bank that your husband went to and ask them to exchange it as they should have known tha the notes were being discontinued, if you have not done that already.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
3803 posts

You may well be lucky going into a high street bank, in particular as it is not long after the retirement but do not rely on it as they are under no obligation to help you at all. I have recounted in another thread witnessing a couple of people in Belfast at the point of tears with a large wad of notes at the 3rd or 4th bank they had tried. They were directed back to the Bank of England which although has an office in that city probably doesn't handle notes for the public.

Posted by tonfromleiden
the Netherlands
1946 posts

I had the same issue years ago with bank notes which were much longer than a few months out of circulation. I changed them for current ones at a normal commercial high street bank without any problem.

Posted by Chris F
Basel, Switzerland
6543 posts

For the benefit of colonials like Bruce , "High Street" is what I believe you call "Main Street". The "High Street Banks" are the main national banks, which you find in nearly every English High Street: Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and NatWest. In Scotland and Northern Ireland it is a different list of banks.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
2434 posts

Thanks Chris F....I was worried I may have visited the wrong banks. Whew.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
3803 posts

These days you would probably count Santander UK into the above list.

Posted by Nigel
Northamptonshire, England
19485 posts

which you find in nearly every English High Street

which you USED TO find in nearly every English High Street

Posted by ramblin' on
1239 posts

if pounds and euros were converted to dollars there must have been an exchange rate

Posted by cathyclark
8 posts

As a cautionary note, when traveling in England get familiar with the new currency and watch your changed when making purchases. I had a merchant in York give me old money last year and had no other spending money. As always, let the buyer beware.

Posted by mrsb-c
25 posts

We just got back from a trip to England. We went to the Bank of England and exchanged the 10 pound notes for good ones. It was easy to do. But be careful. I was given an old pound coin and old 5 pound note by a vender as change. The new notes look and feel like plastic. We did have a really nice restaurant owner who took our old note at face value and said he would just deposit it at his bank. So kind!

Posted by Ann
New York
978 posts

Hi -- I know about the 5 pound notes were changed out last year and this year is the 10 pound notes changed out this March and in 2020 the 20 pound notes will be changed out.

But people mentioned coins. Kindly advise what coins are old and can't be used as I know I have coins left over from last years trip to London. I am going back to London this year and don't want to use old coins by accident.


Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
3803 posts

Round pound brass coins. The current ones are 12-sided and bi-metallic.

Posted by caro
240 posts

Cathy last year both notes were in use, so the shop keeper did nothing wrong.