5 best UK VPN services in 2021 to bypass geo-restrictions when abroad

Hail from ol' Blighty but currently outside of the UK? Browse and stream like you're right at home with the best UK VPN installed on your device

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Stereotypical or not, when it comes to being British, there are a few things Brits aren't said to be able to live without - tea, crumpets, and BBC iPlayer. Thankfully, with the best VPN at hand, those hailing from ol' Blighty won't have to go without. In fact, the best UK VPN can ensure you can securely access content like you would be able to back home when abroad.

A virtual private network offers many perks, with the main (more exciting) one being able to bypass any geo-restricted content. What this means is you'll be able to browse and stream any websites or content locked to a certain location, even if you're not actually there at the time. BBC iPlayer, for instance, is only available to watch if you're in the UK. If you've gone holidaying abroad, then, or studying abroad for a year, you'll have to go without all those home comforts - in less you have the best UK VPN, of course.

Playing host to hundreds - if not thousands - of servers, all you have to do is install the VPN client on the device you wish to access this content on, connect to a server based in the UK, and you'll trick any websites into think you're browsing from the heart of Great Britain.

Of course, it's also fair to say - especially when traveling - security should be something at the forefront of your mind, likely to be connecting to many public, unsecure networks. Therefore we've picked the best UK VPNs that offer you the ability to browse as if you were right at home, as well as bringing that extra layer of protection while you travel.

Our selection of the best UK VPN services also includes providers who have excellent clients for a number of devices, allowing you to install on the devices you're most likely to take away with you, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

1. ExpressVPN – the best Fire Stick VPN on the market
ExpressVPN is the best UK VPN we could find. It provides great features, performance and security at a pretty decent price, and has excellent support should anything go awry. It has plenty of high-speed servers in the UK and offers access to the most popular UK broadcasters – and it can unblocked overseas content with ease, too.View Deal

2. Surfshark – excellent streaming on a shoestring budget
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark is one of the best UK VPNs. But what gives it an edge over these two is that it’s just so affordable, coming in at around $2.49 a month. And you’re still getting loads of amazing features and great overall performance. View Deal

3. NordVPN – the biggest name is still one of the best
Out of all the best UK VPNs, NordVPN is one of the very best when it comes to security and privacy. Features like Double VPN will protect Brits from stringent online regulations such as Snooper’s Charter, and you'll also have access to its excellent streaming capabilities.View Deal

The best UK VPN options in 2021:

ExpressVPN Best UK VPN

(Image credit: Express VPN)

The best UK VPN of 2020

Number of servers: 3,000+
Server locations: 160
Maximum devices supported: 5
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Large server network+Unblocks many streaming platforms+Great apps
Reasons to avoid
-Supports only 5 devices

We’ve chosen ExpressVPN as our favourite UK VPN for 2020 as it delivers so much in terms of features, performance, security and price.

At the heart of ExpressVPN is its global network of more than 3,000 servers, which are easy to connect to and offer impressive speeds. For UK users specifically, the British Virgin Islands-based provider maintains servers across London, Wembley and the Docklands. Cracking VPN server selection, Gromit!

By connecting to one of these UK-based servers, you’ll be able to access national broadcasters such as BBC iPlayer, Sky, ITV Player and BT Sports as well as the British libraries of streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus.

ExpressVPN provides easy-to-use apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux and many other platforms. But you can only connect up to five devices, which is pretty much the only disappointment here. In terms of other features, there’s AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, private DNS, a strict no logs policy, a speed test, privacy guides and much more. Other handy additions are 24/7 support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Surfshark Best Cheap VPN

(Image credit: Surfshark)

The most affordable UK VPN option

Number of servers: 3,200+
Server locations: 65 countries
Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Very cheap+Impressive security+Unblocks all major streaming sites
Reasons to avoid
-Privacy policy could be improved 

For many people, the price has to be right when signing up for an online service. And when it comes to affordability, Surfshark doesn’t disappoint as it’s the cheapest premium VPN.

While plans start at a super cheap £2 per month, Surfshark is still able to offer one of the best quality VPN services on the market. It has more than 1,700 servers across the world, with many of them based in the UK.

Surfshark is great for streaming, offering access to BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Hulu and other platforms. What’s really handy is that you can connect an unlimited number of devices, and you can expect fast speeds on all your gizmos.

Security is an important area for any VPN provider, and Surfshark is a great example of how to get this right. Firstly, it'll protect users from malware, phishing, web trackers and adverts, but there’s also a no-logs policy, a kill switch, 256-bit encryption, security protocols, a camouflage mode and a private DNS for all servers.

(Image credit: NordVPN)

A great UK VPN for security and privacy

Number of servers: 5,400+
Server locations: 59 countries
Maximum devices supported: 6
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Impressive security features+5,400 servers+Double VPN
Reasons to avoid
-Unlimited connections would have been nice

If you want a great UK VPN that puts security and privacy before anything else, then NordVPN might be the service for you.

Not only has Nord had its strict no-logs policy reviewed by external auditors, but it also provides impressive security and privacy features like strong encryption for your data, malware protection, a DNS leak test and double VPN (which protects your data with two servers).

The company has over 5,400 servers worldwide, and more than 690 of these are based in the UK. On top of access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and other major providers, you’ll be able to watch British shows on BBC iPlayer. 

NordVPN also offers unlimited bandwidth and allows you to connect up to 6 devices, which should be ample for most people. What’s more, you can download the NordVPN app on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and Linux. Round-the-clock support and a 30-day money-back guarantee are standard for all users.

Cyberghost Best VPN

(Image credit: Cyberghost)

The provider with the most VPN servers

Number of servers: 7,000+
Server locations: 91 countries
Maximum devices supported: 7
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+7,000 servers+Huge UK server network+Robust security
Reasons to avoid
-Interface issues 

Considering that more than 10 million people use CyberGhost globally, it’s clearly one of the best VPN services on the market. And what makes it so incredibly popular is the fact that there are more than 7,000 servers on offer, with over 1200 of them in the UK.

Using CyberGhost, you can stream TV shows and movies on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video - but we've had trouble with iPlayer recently. This shouldn't be an issue if you're staying in the UK, but if you're goind abroad and want access, a different provider might be a good idea. 

Because you can connect up to 7 devices, you’ll be able to watch content on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, smart TV, games console and any other gadgets you have. Unlimited bandwidth and fast server speeds will accelerate the streaming experience, too.

What we also like about CyberGhost is that it has some great security and privacy features, including 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IP leak protection, different secure protocols and a no-logging policy. And if this isn’t for you, there’s a massive 45-day refund policy.

Hotspot Shield

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

A blazingly fast VPN

Number of servers: 1,800+
Server locations: 80+
Maximum devices supported: 5
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Very fast+Impressive for streaming+Great free version
Reasons to avoid
-Only supports 5 devices 

If speed is your biggest priority when choosing a UK VPN, then you can’t go wrong with Hotspot Shield because it’s capable of blazingly fast speeds. When we reviewed it on a 75mb UK line, we were able to experience speeds of 71Mb. That’s very impressive.

Thanks to these fast speeds, Hotspot Shield is great for streaming. In terms of UK content, you can access BBC iPlayer, Sky TV and Channel 5. And there’s also access to American streaming platforms like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu. 

Something worth noting is that there’s a free version of Hotspot Shield, which is great if you want to give it a whirl before you pay for a premium plan. But sadly, you only get 500MB of free data every day, and speeds are capped at 2Mb. So you won’t be able to use this for streaming or gaming, realistically. 

The premium version gives you access to nice features like “military-grade” encryption and unlimited bandwidth. And the apps are pretty easy to use, although they’re only available for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and Linux. What may also disappoint some is that devices are capped at 5.


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Is a VPN illegal in UK?

The short answer is, no. The use of VPN services in the UK is not illegal. This piece of software is completely legal to use, offering better online security when carrying out sensitive tasks that might leave personal information vulnerable.

That said, any illegal activity carried out using a VPN does not automatically protect you from repercussions, nor do a VPN provider's no logging policies, etc, abstain them from handing over information to the authorities if illegal activity is detected. All activity under a VPN is at a users digression, so maybe stay away from the dark web, pals.

What is the best free UK VPN?

If you're after the best free VPN, we have a whole buying guide dedicated to the freebie services we like to recommend, as well as a weigh up of the pros and cons of using these free tools.

What's more, if money is a concern, you can also check out our recommendations for the best cheap VPNs, keeping these services as affordable as possible and working for your budget.

That being said, when it comes to the best UK VPN, we'd recommend trying out Hotspot Shield's free plan before upgrading to its premium service, if you want to give the VPN a try before fully committing.

It's also worth noting many of our favorite VPNs to recommend coming with money back guarantee periods. ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, which means if you don't think the service is for you within that period, you can get a complete refund.

How do I get a UK VPN?

To get a UK VPN, all you need to do is decide on which of the above services is the one for you, click through to their website and sign up. You'll find many VPN providers offer a number of plans, from monthly to annual, and even more long term two and three year plans. Typically, the longer you commit from the offset, the more affordable its monthly rate will work out to be.

Once you've subscribed, you'll be able to navigate from its dashboard clients available for various devices, which you can go on to install and sign into. Once you're up and running, you can start to explore your chosen VPN, and connect to a number of servers based all around the world.

Can you get banned from Netflix for using a VPN?

When it comes to using the best Netflix VPN, users should do so at their own digression. While using a UK VPN to access Netflix simply allows you to access your account and watch list like normal when abroad, to use a VPN for any purpose does go against the Terms and Conditions you will have agreed to when signing up to Netflix.

Netflix has stated use of a VPN could result in the suspension of your account. That said, there has been no reporting of such actions being taken. Once again, it's down to the user to weigh up the risks.

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