How to watch UK TV from abroad with a VPN including BBC iPlayer and All 4

Don't get locked out by pesky geo-restrictions. There's a simple solution to watching UK TV abroad with our handy guide

Woman watching TV while eating chocolate
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's nothing quite like British entertainment, whether to showcase its ability to create gritty TV shows and movies, or to show humanity at its worst with its generous helping of reality TV. While Brits are well-served by the UK's free-to-air channels, though, all their on-demand platforms, like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and All4, are geo-locked. 

That means, if you're a Brit abroad or are wanting to stream content from overseas, you're fresh out of luck. However, with the help of a VPN, you can watch UK TV no matter where you are - and we're here to tell you how.

So whether you're wanting to watch Peaky Blinders for its final season on BBC, don't want to miss a moment of the Premier League action, or need your fix of Vitamin D and binge last year's Love Island on the ITV Hub, utilizing a VPN will get you access to the 100% free catch-up platforms, as well as being able to unlock those services you pay for including Sky Go, Now TV, and BT TV. Keep reading as we explain exactly how.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders season 6

(Image credit: BBC)

How can I watch UK TV abroad?

When you're in the UK, while you may need a valid TV licence for certain broadcasters, watching on-demand services is as easy as visiting its website, registering a free account and hitting play. However, when you're on outside of the country for whatever reason, it's a different story.

For instance, if you try to watch something on BBC iPlayer, you'll be presented with the following message: BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.

In order to bypass these geo-restrictions, you'll need to trick your device into thinking it's within the UK, which can be done with the use of a BBC iPlayer VPN

Simply hop onto a UK server and the VPN will alter your IP address and encrypt your outgoing internet data. Sounds complicated, but in layman's terms, this means it will spoof both your device and the platform itself into thinking you're in the country, opening the doors to a whole host of UK TV you can watch abroad.

But which VPN is up for the job? We've put providers through rigorous testing and this is the one that comes out on top...

Which VPN can I use to watch UK TV abroad?

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ExpressVPN is the best for unblocking UK TV abroad (opens in new tab), gaining access to BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, and My5, on top of paid for streaming services like Now, Sky Go, and BT TV. A top provider all round, ExpressVPN also offers a seamless interface, great privacy features and impeccable speeds. Best of all, T3 readers can benefit from 3 months free on 12-month plans and rest assured of their purchase with ExpressVPN's 100% risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

How to use a VPN to watch UK TV abroad

While the innerworkings of a VPN may sound complicated, the process of using a VPN to watch UK TV abroad really isn't.

All you need to do is sign up and install your VPN (opens in new tab) on your chosen device. This takes a matter of minutes, especially if you go for ExpressVPN as recommended above. 

Once it's installed on your device, you simply need to select and connect to a server based in the UK. We recommend connecting to it before visiting the streaming platform's website or launching its app to avoid any slight chance of the site detecting you're using a VPN. While unlikely with ExpressVPN, this has been an issue for other VPNs in the past.

You'll need to login or create an account, but this is free to do so, and, of course, you won't be asked to provide any payment details. While you will have to enter in a postcode, if you're not happy to use your own, you can always look one up online, which will more than suffice.

From there, pick what you want to watch, hit play, and enjoy watching UK TV no matter where you are in the world.

TV screen with BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 apps on the screen

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In the UK, Brits will need to be in possession of a valid TV licence in order to watch the UK's free-to-air channels live. The same goes for when you're abroad and wanting to watch any live broadcasts from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, or just about any other Freeview channel.

That said, while you will need a TV licence to also watch anything on BBC iPlayer, other on-demand platforms don't require one for streaming catch-up content.


Alice is the resident eCommerce Staff Writer at Future, with a focus on VPN and streaming services, such as Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO Max. She oversees all T3 VPN buying guides and deals, as well as how to watch content for new and returning TV shows and movies. Previously a Commercial Content Writer for Trusted Reviews, Alice has worked in the eCommerce space for over five years and over two years writing about consumer tech.