BEST eSIM for UK Travel (Top 5 Choices)

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
July 1, 2024
In this guide, we round up all the best eSIMS for UK travel using only eSIMS we've personally tried and tested! Keep reading to find your best fit....
best esim for uk travel

Are you travelling to the UK and want to stay connected? Then you'll be happy to know I've rounded up the BEST eSIMs for UK travel.

I've used ALL of these eSIM brands, so you can be sure I'm only recommending products I actually think are good!

eSIMS are *theeeee* way to stay connected nowadays, gone are the days of switching out physical sim cards and losing them (yes, that's been me!), all you need to do is purchase a digital eSIM!

Let's get to it...

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What is an eSIM?

Although traditional SIM cards have become the standard option for travelers for several decades, they haven’t always been the most practical. This includes the fact that you need to find a new one every time you arrive into a new country, which can be both time-consuming and a hassle (especially if you don’t speak their native language).

This is where the upgraded eSIM comes in, which is essentially a digitally-stored SIM card inside your phone which doesn’t require an external chip to be plugged-in to work. This is great since we don’t have to worry about losing your original SIM card from back home, nor needing to physically find one when arriving somewhere new.

eSIMs are usually purchased online or via the app of a hosting company, making it easy to prepare before heading to a new country. They often include Regional and Global plans, where it’s pretty simple to see your usage and upgrade plans if needed.

What phones are compatible with eSIMs? 


iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max

iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max

iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max

iPhone XS, XS Max, XR

iPhone SE (2020, 2022)

Apple watch series 3, 4, 5 and 6

Apple watch SE

All iPads with 4G connectivity that have come out since 2018 support eSIM:

iPad Pro 11″ (model A2068, from 2020)

iPad Pro 12.9″ (model A2069, from 2020)

iPad Air (model A2123, from 2019)

iPad (model A2198, from 2019)

iPad Mini (model A2124, from 2019)


Galaxy S22, S22+ 5G, S22 Ultra 5G

Galaxy S21, S21+ 5G, S21 Ultra 5G

Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra

Galaxy Note 20, 20+, 20 Ultra

Galaxy Fold, Fold 2, Fold 3

Galaxy Z Flip, Flip 3

Samsung Watch (through Samsung wearable application)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G or 5G is not compatible with eSIM.


Google Pixel 2 (only phones bought with Google Fi service), 2 XL

Google Pixel 3 (not including phones bought in Australia, Taiwan or Japan. Phones bought with US or Canadian carriers other than Spring and Google Fi don't work with eSIM), 3a (not including phones bought in Japan or with Verizon service), 3a XL, 3 XL

Google Pixel 

Google Pixel 4, 4a, 4 XL 

Google Pixel 5, 51

Google Pixel 6, 6 plus

Other ESIM Compatible Devices

Huawei P40, Huawei P40 Pro, Huawei Mate 40 Pro (The Huawei P40+ is not compatible with an eSIM)

Oppo Find X5, X5 Pro, X3 Pro

Oppo Reno 5A, Reno 6 Pro 5G

Sony Xperia 10 IV, 10 III Lite

Honor Magic 4 Pro

Fairphone 4

Motorola Razr 2019

Nuu Mobile X5

Gemini PDA

Rakuten Mini

Microsoft Surface Duo

As we can see, virtually all modern phones (those built after 2015) can support an eSIM, which means there’s a good chance you may already be good to go. 

Some phones may even support multiple eSIMS at the same time which can be useful for many reasons. 

If your phone is not on the list above, we highly recommend checking again on Google in case we missed it out or if it has since been updated.

Can I use my current mobile provider's international data plan? 

Many networks do offer their own data plan, which was previously a more popular option before the arrival of the eSIM. Now whilst it seems more practical and simple to use, it’s important to know the drawbacks of doing so. 

Firstly, regular SIM providers tend to charge a lot for international roaming use. If you’re going to use your phone for more data-heavy activities (such as streaming or gaming), then you could end up spending over $15-25 a day if you’re not careful! 

The other main disadvantage is that you’ll have limited signal given you’ll still be linked to your original provider from your country, which may or may not have good coverage of where you are going traveling (whilst on the other hand an eSIM utilizes local networks to give you the best-connected experience). 

Be aware that roaming can also have restrictions on whether you can hotspot, as well as speed caps if you use too much data in a certain period.

Which providers support eSIM in the UK?

Within the UK we’ll find dozens of existing mobile providers who now offer the flexible eSIM as well as their traditional SIM cards. 

This includes the better-known and more popular providers such as 02, Orange, EE, GiffGaff and Vodafone. 

However some of the smaller providers have also made the switch seeing as it helps benefit travelers immensely when traveling through the UK. This includes Lyca Mobile, Spusu and Honest Mobile.

Advantages of eSIMs when traveling the UK

  1. Everything is Sorted Digitally within your Phone - This is by far the biggest advantage of using an eSIM. Firstly you won't have to worry about losing your original SIM card, nor will you have to find a prong to carefully open up the SIM card slot. The other advantage is that you won’t have to waste time looking around for a new chip upon arriving into the UK.
  2. Convenient Data Usage and Tracking - Many of the eSIM providers give you access to their own intuitive mobile app, where you can see how much data you’ve used. It also makes it simple to purchase a new plan too, where you can often have multiple all running at the same time (which is useful for when you plan to visit various countries on your trip).
  3. High Quality International Connections - Anyone reading that has used roaming before will know that connections can sometimes be unstable or even impossible in certain regions. However eSIMS utilize local connections instead, meaning you’ll always have the best access possible when in that specific country.
  4. Stay In Touch Back Home - Another awesome benefit is the ability to stay connected to your local home network whilst abroad. Whilst of course apps like WhatsApp and Messenger are useful for communication, an eSIM allows you to connect back to your original provider - allowing you to make local calls or receive texts as soon as you switch back.

Best eSIMs for UK Travel

1. SimLocal - Best eSIM For UK For Low Prices (You can get 20% off with code AFFSIML20)

First up on our list we have SimLocal, who are a popular choice within the UK and neighboring countries. 

Established in 2011 in a retail shop in Dublin Airport, SimLocal has grown from strength to strength and is now present in over 100 airports across countries in Europe. This also makes it easy to pick-up a SIM Card as a last resort before flying into the UK.

SimLocal is also one of the cheapest and most accommodating eSIM companies in the UK, making for a great choice (especially if it’s your first time and you’re still unsure). Their cheapest eSIM costs just $4.50, which allows you 1GB of data for 7 days. 

Those who are heading to the UK for longer (or are heavy data users) can choose their high-end plan which costs $38.00, and provides 100GB for use over 30 days. SimLocal also has a great app so you can monitor usage and top-up your plans from anywhere.

Advantages of SimLocal for the UK: 

  • Affordable plan for kinds of trips
  • Great app for monitoring data usage 
  • You can get 20% off with code AFFSIML20

Disadvantages of SimLocal for the UK: 

  • Cannot transfer your existing number 
  • Not ideal for long trips (several months)

2. Maya Mobile - Best eSIM for UK for Hotspotting

Next up we have Maya Mobile, who are a global giant and are now operating in over 190 countries across the world. 

Within the UK, we’ll find that many of their existing benefits also apply here. This includes their ability to hotspot your data, which is useful if traveling with your partner or in a group, or if you plan to connect your laptop for work.

If you plan to do either of the above, then Maya is a must given other providers either don’t provide hotspotting or have stricter rules on usage.

They also provide a range of eSims depending on your particular needs. The cheapest option available costs just $5.00, which gives you 1GB to use over a period of 5 days. Those who are here longer can select their 30 day plan, which costs $22.00 and gives you 20GB of data. 

The great thing about Maya is that they also provide unlimited data eSIMs in case you want to go all-out. For the UK it costs $60.00 and lasts 30 days, and they also have a Europe eSim which costs the same and also lasts for the same amount of time!

Advantages of Maya Mobile for the UK: 

  • Ideal for hotspotting
  • Unlimited data plans for both the UK and for a longer trip through Europe

Disadvantages of Maya Mobile for the UK: 

  • Maximum plan length of 30 days
  • More costly than other available plans

3. Holafly - Best eSIM for UK with Unlimited Data!

Holafly are another larger eSIM provider, who are currently operating in over 197 countries across the globe. Like Maya they also customize plans according to their clients’ needs in each country, and it’s no different when heading to the UK. 

One of the biggest advantages of using Holafly is that they have a 24/7 customer support team who are very prompt. This means you can easily solve issues or get your eSIM updated without delay. 

Instead of providing different eSIM services for the UK, Holafly instead has a single unlimited data eSIM card. Here you simply choose the amount of days you need, and pay the according price whilst guaranteeing you with unlimited data. Costs start from roughly $6.00 a day.

This is great for travelers who either use data-heavy services such as for steaming, or also plan to work whilst traveling through the UK. You can easily extend your plan online too if you decide to stay longer here on your travels.

Advantages of Holafly for the UK: 

  • A flexible day plan with unlimited data
  • Very responsive customer service team available in 7 different languages 

Disadvantages of Holafly for the UK: 

  • They don’t allow hotspotting
  • More expensive if traveling the UK for a longer period

4. Firsty - Best FREE Data eSIM (Get 5% off with code DBTF5)

Next on our list we have Firsty, who are a really innovative eSIM provider that is quite different from the others mentioned here. One of the newer companies to make our list, they operate with just one global eSIM that does everything you’d ever need it to! 

This is perfect if traveling to different countries since you’ll be covered without having to change anything. Whilst still growing they are not to be taken lightly, given they currently serve an impressive list of over 120 countries worldwide with their unique data plans.

They have a free plan (yes, you heard that correctly) which gives you 60 minutes free on essential apps such as WhatsApp, Uber and Messenger. Once the time is up, you then simply need to watch a short advertisement to connect again. 

This is perfect for those of us who travel data light, where we can also save more budget for other things during our trips. 

Firsty’s other data plan is their Firsty Fast which is a premium plan. Costs start at roughly $2.00 a day, where you will be able to use the internet however you want. You’ll also get the very best local connections wherever you are!

Advantages of Firsty for the UK:  

  • Connects to the best local networks in the UK and globally, so is perfect for both a single and a multi-country trip
  • Great value for money (especially so with their introductory FREE plan!)

Disadvantages of Firsty for the UK: 

  • You can only hotspot to your other non-mobile devices with their paid plan
  • No local phone number is currently provided as it’s a data-only solution 

5. Airalo - Best coverage options for UK

Providing their service in over 200 countries across the globe, we now have Airalo who are one of the best-known eSIM providers. 

They are known for making eSIM usage simple and easy to track, where you can download their intuitive app to keep an eye on usage and also to easily top-up or change your plan whenever you need.

There is also a large range of eSIM options that you can choose from. First of all we have their local eSIMs, which start at just $5.00 and provide you with 1GB of data for 7 days. 

Those who need more data or will travel longer can choose their 30 day plan, which at $36.00 will give you 20GB of data. 

The great thing about Airalo is that they also provide regional and global eSIMs, which is perfect if you are visiting the UK as part of a longer trip. For example their Europe regional eSIM includes the UK, and for $100.00 you will have 50GB of data to last you for a period of 3 months.

Advantages of Airalo for the UK:

  • They offer a range of local, regional and global eSIM plans
  • Useful and easy-to-use app

Disadvantages of Airalo for the UK:

  • Plans can be more expensive than other providers
  • Cannot make local calls 

Which eSIM will you go for?

And that’s all for our guide on the best eSIMS to use when traveling to the UK.

Whilst we only had to previously make do with foreign SIM cards or using roaming from our original network providers, things have really stepped-up since the introduction of the electronic eSIM card. 

Now you can get instant connections to foreign networks without having to physically change SIMs, and there are also a variety of awesome plans to choose from which won’t break the bank.

In this guide we’ve covered why using an eSIM is much better than a traditional SIM card, as well as 5 of the best eSIM companies you can use when in the UK.

Which eSIM do you think you’re getting for your next trip? 

Do you have a particular brand that we haven’t included?

Comment below and let us know your thoughts!

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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