I have a dataset of companies, where one of the variables is its postcode. I want to link this postcode to a broader geographical unit. I have shapes file that enables me to map such broader geographical units. But I am not sure how I can do the linking. Clearly, the latter has not way of understanding where postcodes are, so it seems the only way to do this is by actually having a file that links every single postcode to the geographical unit of interest (as it seems to be done for ZIP codes for the US, e.g. here and here). Unfortunately, I have not found such dataset for the UK.

Is there another way to produce the link that I am looking for?


3 Answers 3


There are a number of open datasets which link a postcode to a "broader geographical unit". The best dataset for the purpose depends on which "broader geographical unit" you are after.

The below list should cover most of the more common requirements:

ONS Postcode Directory

  • County
  • Local authority
  • Electoral ward
  • Country
  • Region
  • Westminster parliamentary constituency
  • European electoral region
  • NUTS and LAU codes
  • Census output areas
  • Parish

Ordnance Survey Open Names

  • Populated place
  • Postcode district
  • Region
  • Country

Wikipedia: List of postcode districts in the United Kingdom

  • Post town

Open Postcode Geo

  • Postcode area
  • Postcode district
  • Postcode sector
  • Outcode
  • Country

It sounds like you need OS Code-Point which will map from PostCode to X, Y point, NHS authority and administrative unit codes.


Found it! The UK Data Service has files containing every single postcode and the broader geographical boundaries to which it belongs, including:

  • Constituencies
  • Wards
  • Travel to work areas
  • Parishes
  • Local Educational Authority
  • Local Health authorities
  • European Electoral Regions
  • Government Office Regions
  • Standard Statistical Regions
  • Census workplace zones

More details can be found in the User Guides (link for February 2015 edition).

  • This is the ONS Postcode Directory. Other datasets exist with additional geographical units which are not included in the ONS Postcode Directory, see my answer for more details. Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 11:15

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