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How to Watch UK TV Abroad in 2023: Easy 3-Step Guide

It’s super frustrating when you can’t watch UK TV shows abroad like TopGear and EastEnders. Whether you go to Spain for a holiday or make a trip to the USA, British TV isn’t accessible in most countries. Luckily, there’s an easy solution that lets you watch UK TV outside of the UK.

The easiest way to watch UK TV from abroad is to use a VPN. It’s a simple app that makes it seem like you’re browsing the internet from another location of your choice. For example, if you want to watch UK TV, it will change your virtual location to the UK, so you can access British streaming sites outside that region.

After testing over 30 VPNs, my favorite for accessing UK TV abroad is ExpressVPN. It can unblock tons of UK streaming platforms, including BBC iPlayer, ITV, and UKTV Play. It also has fast speeds, so you can watch in Ultra HD. You can even test everything ExpressVPN offers risk-free since it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can get a full refund.

Watch UK TV With ExpressVPN

Quick Guide: How to Watch UK TV Abroad in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it reliably unblocks tons of UK streaming platforms. Plus, it offers speeds more than fast enough for watching shows in UHD quality.
  2. Select a UK server. In the VPN app, choose a location in the UK. British TV sites are only accessible there, so you need to use an English server to gain access.
  3. Start watching UK TV! Sign in to your favorite platform and enjoy streaming UK TV shows wherever you are!

Why You Need a VPN to Watch UK TV Abroad

Plenty of UK TV sites like BBC iPlayer, NOW TV, and ITV block overseas visitors from watching shows. This is due to the regional exclusivity of the licensing and copyright agreements. The platforms check visitors’ IP addresses and block ones that aren’t British to enforce these restrictions.

A VPN unblocks UK TV platforms by giving you a UK IP address no matter where you’re actually located. It redirects your internet traffic through a British server, which replaces your real IP address with a UK one. As a result, English streaming sites will see your UK IP address and think you’re in the country, thus giving you access to your account while traveling outside the UK.

Try The Best VPN For UK TV

Best VPNs to Watch UK TV Abroad in 2023

1. ExpressVPN — Ultra-Fast Speeds That Let You Watch UK TV Lag-Free

  • Lightning-fast speeds
  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries, with hundreds in the UK
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: UKTV Play, Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, ITV, NOW TV, Disney+, HBO Max, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
ExpressVPN Offer January 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

ExpressVPN’s lightning-fast speeds ensure a bufferless streaming experience. When I tested the speeds of 5 UK servers, my download speed averaged 47.8 Mbps. This is more than enough for Ultra HD streaming, which requires only 25 Mbps. Therefore, you can watch UK TV without any lag or long loading times.

Its global server network includes several hundred servers in the UK, giving you plenty of locations to unblock UK TV. With all 5 servers I tested, I accessed BBC iPlayer, ITV, and Sky Go without any issues. All I had to do was connect to a server, log in to the streaming platforms, and use them like I usually would.

Graphic showing ExpressVPn with BBC iPlayerI watched Killing Eve without any interruptions (and in UHD quality) with ExpressVPN’s East London server

With ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature, you can watch UK TV on devices that don’t support native VPN apps. This includes gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox. I unblocked BBC iPlayer on my PlayStation in just under 3 minutes and watched Peaky Blinders for long periods without any interruptions. I just had to copy the special DNS code from my account’s dashboard into my console’s network settings to set it up.

ExpressVPN’s downside is that its price range is on the expensive end. Its cheapest plan costs $6.67/month. But there are often some excellent deals — you can save up to 49% on your subscription right now.

All of its plans come with a money-back guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund. I tested this policy myself and I can confirm it’s legitimate. All I had to do was contact customer support through the 24/7 live chat to cancel my subscription and tell them that it wasn’t for me. After 2 business days, I got my money back. The process was really straightforward and quick.

Watch UK TV With ExpressVPN

2. CyberGhost — Streaming-Optimized Servers for Watching UK TV

  • 9,753 servers in 91 countries, including UK streaming-optimized servers
  • Superfast speeds
  • 7 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: UKTV Play, Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, ITV, NOW TV, Disney+, HBO Max, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
January 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost’s massive server network includes optimized streaming servers in the UK. These servers are designed to bypass geoblocks on sites like BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, and ITV. I tested the UK streaming servers for these sites and unblocked them with ease. To find the server I wanted, I just had to type the streaming site in the search bar of the “For streaming” tab. You can also just search for “UK” and all streaming servers from the country will pop up.

Graphic showing CG streaming serversCyberGhost’s optimized streaming servers can be found under the “For streaming” tab

You won’t experience any lag when watching UK TV since its speeds are really fast. When I tested 4 of its UK servers, my download speed never went below 45 Mbps. I watched shows in Ultra HD and didn’t have any buffering at all.

CyberGhost also offers a Smart DNS feature. You can use this to access UK streaming apps on devices that don’t support VPNs, including gaming consoles and smart TVs. Similar to ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer, I just had to copy the DNS code into my PlayStation’s network settings and in 4 minutes I had it all set up to stream Netflix UK.

Just be mindful when you’re choosing a CyberGhost plan, as its short-term plan is quite expensive. Plus, it comes with a shortened money-back guarantee. If possible, I recommend opting for a long-term plan — you can get one for just $2.19/month.

It also comes with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, which lets you test CyberGhost with UK TV channels for free. After using it for 45 days, I contacted its 24/7 live chat to claim a refund, which was hassle-free. I told the agent why I wanted to cancel, they approved my request, and I had my money back in just 3 days.

Watch UK TV With CyberGhost

3. Private Internet Access — Large Server Network to Watch UK TV From Anywhere

  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • 29,650 servers, with 3 in the UK
  • Smart DNS feature
  • Can unblock: UKTV Play, Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, ITV, NOW TV, Disney+, HBO Max, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
January 2023 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 83% off!

PIA’s global server network includes 3 UK servers (several are optimized for streaming). When I tested 4 of its UK servers, I unblocked BBC iPlayer, ITV, and Netflix UK in under 20 seconds by making a couple of clicks. Therefore, you can keep up to date with all your favorite British shows (and watch in the highest quality) when you’re traveling outside the UK.

A screenshot showing that I unblocked ITV with PIA's London streaming server and watched The ChaseI had no issues using PIA on many devices simultaneously

Thanks to PIA’s fast speeds, it’s possible to stream UK TV on a smooth and reliable stream. My download speeds never went below 44.7 Mbps across the 4 UK servers I tested while watching The Chase. I didn’t experience any lag at all. Since you only need 25 Mbps for Ultra HD streaming, you can enjoy watching UK TV for hours on end.

PIA’s minor con is that its app isn’t the easiest for beginners since it has plenty of customization options. Luckily, all of the main settings are pre-configured, so you don’t have to worry about setting it up — it’s already done for you.

You can get a long-term plan for just $2.19/month, which is pretty affordable. It also offers a 1-month plan, if you want to use it for a shorter period while you’re traveling outside the UK. No matter which one you choose, all of them come with the same features.

It’s also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try PIA completely free for 30 days. To see if the guarantee is trustworthy, I contacted a customer support rep through the 24/7 live chat. I stated the reason for my request and after 4 business days, I was fully refunded.

Watch UK TV With PIA

4. NordVPN — NordLynx to Easily Access UK TV And Watch in UHD

  • 5,384 servers in 60 countries give you access to tons of geoblocked websites, apps, and games
  • Top security features and an audited no-logs policy ensure your online protection
  • 6 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, browsers, routers, and more

NordVPN is a solid VPN whether you’re looking to stream or keep your online activity private. What makes it stand out to me is that it offers server categories dedicated to specific activities, which makes it easy to use. It’s also developed its own secure protocol (NordLynx) that offers impressive speeds for high bandwidth activities (like streaming or torrenting) without compromising your online security.

It doesn’t offer streaming servers, but you can choose from P2P or Double VPN servers for safe torrenting or added security, respectively. All the servers are organized by country, and I found during my tests using the regular servers worked really well for unblocking the most popular streaming sites. My streams always loaded up quickly, and I didn’t encounter buffering issues while watching.

NordVPN is also a good choice for bypassing network restrictions. Its obfuscated servers are designed to work in countries where VPNs are restricted, like China and Russia. These servers are also helpful if you’re trying to access blocked websites due to network firewalls, like at school or work.

It offers many other unique security features, too. Threat Protection guards against trackers, malware, and infected websites, plus blocks ads. While it didn’t block YouTube ads, it did block in-game ads on my Android and popups in my browser. Another notable feature is its Onion servers, which allow you to connect directly to the Tor network for added security. Combining these servers with its built-in leak protection and kill switch keeps your activity private at all times.

My biggest issue was that sometimes it would take a really long time for NordVPN to connect to a server. At one point, I had to force quit the app and try again. In the end, I always managed to connect, so it wasn’t a huge issue, just a bit annoying.

NordVPN offers great prices with subscriptions starting from $3.49/month. You can also get a dedicated IP at an extra cost, which is handy if you’re trying to bypass IP bans commonly put in place on streaming sites.

It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans, so you are free to try NordVPN at no financial risk. I requested my money back through 24/7 live chat after using it for almost a month, and the guarantee was honored. It only took a few days to get a full refund.

Try NordVPN Today

5. Surfshark — Effective Servers for Bypassing Pesky Geoblocks

  • 3,200 fast servers in 100 countries to access your preferred sites quickly
  • Easy-to-use apps for all levels of users
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, browsers, routers, and more

Surfshark has 3,200 servers in 100 countries, and it offers consistently fast speeds no matter the distance. During testing, local servers gave me almost the same results as my base speed. I could stream, torrent, and play games without any interruptions or lag. The acceptable speed drop is around 20%, and with Surfshark, you can expect less even on faraway servers.

When it comes to security, it offers the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption, which is the strongest available. To make sure that your traffic remains encrypted at all times, it has a kill switch on all apps, which you can enable from the Settings menu in 1 click. I tested this by consecutively connecting to servers. My internet was off during those small periods between each server change, so my IP address was never exposed or detected by streaming sites.

Surshark works on highly-restrictive networks and in countries like China. It comes with special features that obfuscate your VPN connection, like Camouflage and NoBorders. For another layer of security, you can also use MultiHop, which doubles your encryption.

Its app is really intuitive and neatly organized, so you won’t have issues using it even if you’re a VPN beginner. There’s a Quick-Connect button, which chooses the fastest local or the closest foreign server to give you optimal speeds. But you can select a specific location from the server list if you want. I liked that it also lets you favorite your most used locations for easy access next time.

The only thing I didn’t like about Surfshark is that it’s based in the Netherlands, which is a part of the 14 Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance. However, it has a no-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t collect or store your data and browsing activity. All its servers are RAM-only too, so your information is removed from them after each reboot. This means it can’t share anything with third parties even if they request it.

You can get a long-term Surfshark subscription for just $2.30/month. I also recommend opting for the Surfshark One bundle, which comes for just a small additional fee. With it, you get an Antivirus, Search (a private search engine), and Alert (a feature that notifies you in case of a breach of your personal information).

All plans are covered with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If the service doesn’t meet your expectations, you can easily get a refund. I tested this by contacting support through the 24/7 live chat. After a brief conversation with an agent, I got all my money back in just 4 days.

Try Surfshark Today

6. IPVanish — Unlimited Connections to Watch UK TV on All Your Devices

  • Unlimted simultaneous device connections
  • 2,000 servers, with 4 in the UK
  • Reliable speeds
  • Can unblock: UKTV Play, Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, ITV, NOW TV, Disney+, HBO Max, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more

IPVanish lets you connect any number of devices at the same time. During my tests, I connected my MacBook Pro, smartphone, Android tablet, and Windows laptop to the same UK server to watch Top Gear. The streaming quality was consistently good and every device ran smoothly the entire time. Therefore, you can watch UK TV on all your devices without any issues.

I found its speeds to be fast and reliable as I was watching UK TV. Not once did I experience any lag. For my speed tests, I tested 3 UK servers and recorded an average download speed of 39.4 Mbps. Since you only need 5 Mbps for HD streaming, you can watch all of your favorite UK shows without getting stuck on loading screens.

IPVanish’s shortcoming is that you can’t use cryptocurrencies to make payments. But you can pay by credit cards, online gift cards, and PayPal instead so there are still plenty of options. When I looked at its plans, I found the long-term plan to be the cheapest at $3.33/month. You can also add encrypted cloud storage for a small extra cost.

Also, you can test IPVanish for free as it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. What I liked about it was that you don’t need to contact customer support to get a refund, as everything can be done by logging into your account. After 2 clicks and 3 business days, I got all my money back. There was no hassle in the process.

Watch UK TV With IPVanish

7. PrivateVPN — Intuitive App Makes It Easy to Unblock UK TV

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use app
  • 200 servers in 63 countries
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: UK TV Play, Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, ITV, NOW TV, Disney+, HBO Max, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more

PrivateVPN’s lightweight app makes it easy to get a UK IP address for UK TV. It only took me 30 seconds to install and connect to a UK server on my MacBook Pro. As soon as I installed it, I just had to search for a UK server, click the connect button, and load my favorite UK TV sites like I normally would.

Unblocking UK TV from anywhere is straightforward too, as PrivateVPN has its own protocol called StealthVPN. This protocol makes it harder to detect your real location and identity as it scrambles your VPN traffic to make it look like a non-VPN connection. Plus, it can be used to bypass firewalls in places like China. When I tested 3 UK servers, I accessed BBC iPlayer and ITV without any problems.

A minor con of PrivateVPN is that its server network is quite small when compared to other VPNs like CyberGhost or PIA. I thought it would lead to slow and overcrowded servers, but I didn’t experience any buffering when watching UK TV.

Its cheapest plan starts from $2/month, so it’s really affordable, too. You're best off going with the longest term because it's considerably cheaper.

By taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try PrivateVPN with UK TV for free. To test whether the refund process is trustworthy, I contacted customer support via 24/7 live chat and asked them to cancel my subscription. After answering a question about my experience, they went ahead with my request, and I got my money back by the end of the week.

Watch UK TV With PrivateVPN

FAQs on Watching UK TV From Abroad

Can I watch UK TV without a TV license?

You can, but it depends on the channel or platform. You can only watch on-demand UK TV (on ITV, NOW TV, Sky Go, All 4, and others) without a TV license, with the exception of BBC iPlayer. For iPlayer you need a TV license for all its content, including on-demand shows and movies. However, you can’t access any UK TV platforms while traveling outside the UK even if you’ve paid for a subscription. This is due to the geo-restrictions they impose on their content. In order to watch your favorite on-demand UK shows from abroad, you’ll need a VPN that can reliably bypass those geo-restrictions.

On the other hand, if you want to watch or record live content from these UK services (either on TV or online), or download BBC content, you’ll need to get a TV license. Otherwise, you’ll be breaking the law, which could lead to a hefty fine. Note that live content is also geo-restricted, so you’ll also need a VPN to access it if you’re traveling outside the UK.

Using a VPN is legal in most countries, so if you’re entitled to watch UK TV in the UK, then there shouldn’t be any issues. You just need to be careful in countries where VPNs are restricted or outlawed, such as Russia, China, and Belarus.

Is it possible to watch BBC iPlayer for free?

Yes, people in the UK can watch BBC iPlayer for free by signing up for an account. However, note that you need a TV license for all BBC content — live, on-demand, or catch-up. Additionally, you need an email address and a UK postal code to sign up for iPlayer.

However, the platform blocks overseas visitors, which means you need to use a VPN with UK servers to watch BBC iPlayer if you’re traveling abroad. It redirects your internet traffic through a British server to make it seem like you’re there. This comes in really handy when you’re traveling or temporarily moving outside the UK.

How can I watch NOW TV, BritBox, and Freeview abroad?

You can watch NOW TV, BritBox, and Freeview abroad by using a VPN to change your virtual location. This is because these streaming platforms are geo-restricted, meaning they block visitors outside the UK. However, BritBox is also available in the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and some nordic countries.

If you’re living or traveling outside their licensed regions, you won’t be able to watch any of these UK platforms (unless you connect to a VPN server). Note that you’ll need an English address from either the UK, the Channel Islands, or Isle of Man to sign up for NOW TV.

On which devices can I unblock UK TV platforms?

You can unblock UK TV platforms on many different devices and operating systems with a VPN. These include the most popular PCs (Windows and macOS) and smartphones (iOS and Android). In addition, look for a VPN that also offers a Smart DNS feature for more compatibility — all of the VPNs on this list have one. With it, you can easily watch UK TV on devices that don’t support VPN apps, like smart TVs and streaming boxes (like Amazon Fire TVs and Apple TV), gaming consoles (PS4/PS5, Xbox), and other streaming devices that let you edit network settings.

What should I do if I can’t access UK TV with a VPN?

If this happens, you can either try another server or a different VPN altogether. Even if you use a VPN that’s proven to work with UK TV, you can sometimes encounter an error message when you try to watch a show. It usually happens because the streaming platform you’re using has blocked the IP address of your server. The best thing to do in this case is to ask your VPN for a list of servers that work with your streaming site. However, other simple solutions that sometimes work are trying another browser, clearing your cookies and cache, or using incognito mode.

Can I use a free VPN to watch UK TV?

It’s possible, but I’d strongly advise against it. A better alternative is to use a low-cost premium VPN that comes with a money-back guarantee. One big issue with free VPNs is that they have much smaller server networks, which results in overcrowding, and hence, slower speeds. Plus, most of them lack British servers, meaning you can’t even use them to access UK TV platforms.

Another issue is the limitations of free VPNs, such as data caps and speed restrictions. Since unlimited data and fast speeds are crucial for streaming, you won’t be able to stream UK TV for long. Additionally, many free VPNs collect user data and sell it to advertisers, who target you with unwanted ads. In short, free VPNs are highly unsuitable for watching UK TV and come with unnecessary risks.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free

Start Watching UK TV Now

You shouldn’t have to miss out on watching UK TV while traveling outside the UK. However, there’s an easy solution — a quality VPN can access UK TV sites from anywhere. This includes streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, NOW TV, ITV, and Sky Go.

The best VPN for watching UK TV abroad is ExpressVPN because it has reliable UK servers and lightning-fast speeds for Ultra HD streaming. You can also try ExpressVPN risk-free since it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can easily claim a refund if it’s not for you.

To summarize, the best VPNs for watching UK TV are…

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About the Author

Ren is a technology researcher and writer. He is a strong advocate for online privacy and digital freedom.

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