Decoding Royal Mail Tracking Notifications: A Detailed Look

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In today’s digital age, tracking a package has become an integral part of the shipping experience. Royal Mail, one of the most established postal services in the United Kingdom, offers comprehensive tracking services that provide peace of mind to senders and recipients alike. Understanding the nuances of Royal Mail tracking notifications can be crucial for managing expectations and resolving any issues that may arise during the delivery process. This article delves into the details of Royal Mail tracking notifications, deciphering their meanings and implications.

Understanding the Basics of Royal Mail Tracking

Royal Mail tracking services are available for a variety of their delivery options, including Royal Mail Tracked 24®, Royal Mail Tracked 48®, and Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm®. When a package is dispatched using one of these services, a unique tracking number is generated. This number can be used on the Royal Mail website or app to monitor the parcel’s journey from sender to recipient.

Common Tracking Notifications and Their Meanings

When tracking a package, various statuses may appear, each indicating a specific stage in the delivery process. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the most common notifications:

1. Item Received at Post Office

This notification means that the parcel has been accepted at the post office and is now in the possession of Royal Mail. This is the first step in the tracking journey and confirms that the item is officially in transit.

2. Item Despatched to Royal Mail Depot

At this stage, the package has left the post office and is being transported to a Royal Mail sorting facility. This is an intermediary step before the parcel reaches the main sorting depot.

3. Item Received at Sorting Depot

This status indicates that the parcel has arrived at a regional sorting depot. Here, it will be sorted and prepared for the next leg of its journey. This step is crucial as it determines the most efficient route for delivery.

4. Item Being Prepared for Delivery

When you see this notification, it means that the package is being sorted at the local delivery office and is almost ready to be sent out for delivery. This usually occurs a day before or on the day of delivery.

5. Out for Delivery

This is one of the most anticipated notifications. It means that the package is on its way to the recipient’s address. The parcel is with a delivery agent and will be delivered by the end of the day.

6. Delivered

A notification of “Delivered” signifies that the package has reached its destination and has been handed over to the recipient. In some cases, a signature may be required upon delivery, and the time of delivery is often recorded.

Dealing with Uncommon Tracking Notifications

Occasionally, you might encounter tracking notifications that are less straightforward. Here are some of the less common notifications and what they typically mean:

1. Address Problem

This notification indicates that there is an issue with the delivery address provided. It could be incomplete, incorrect, or unrecognizable. In such cases, Royal Mail may attempt to contact the sender or recipient to clarify the address.

2. Held in Customs

If a package is being shipped internationally, it might be held in customs for inspection. This can cause delays, and the package will remain in this status until it is cleared by customs authorities.

3. Attempted Delivery

This status means that the delivery was attempted, but was unsuccessful. This could be due to the recipient not being available or access issues to the property. Typically, Royal Mail will leave a card with instructions on how to rearrange delivery or collect the package from a local depot.

Tips for Effective Tracking

To ensure smooth tracking of your Royal Mail parcel, consider the following tips:

  • Double-check the Address: Ensure that the delivery address is complete and accurate to avoid unnecessary delays.
  • Keep the Tracking Number Safe: The tracking number is your key to monitoring your parcel’s journey. Make sure you keep it safe and accessible.
  • Use the Royal Mail App: The Royal Mail app offers real-time tracking and notifications, making it easier to stay updated on your parcel’s status.
  • Contact Customer Service: If you encounter any issues or unusual notifications, don’t hesitate to contact Royal Mail’s customer service for assistance.


Understanding Royal Mail tracking notifications can significantly enhance your shipping experience, providing clarity and reducing anxiety over parcel deliveries. By familiarizing yourself with the common and uncommon statuses, you can better manage your expectations and address any issues promptly. Royal Mail’s tracking system is designed to keep you informed every step of the way, ensuring that your package reaches its destination safely and efficiently.

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