Bank of England queues as deadline looms to exchange paper notes

The old £20 and £50 paper notes cease to be legal tender next month, completing the changeover to polymer-based banknotes to bolster durability and security.

The Bank of England has revealed it is seeing queues as holders of paper banknotes try to exchange them at its counter in the City of London.

People and businesses have until the end of the month to use the paper Bank of England £20 and £50 notes before they will no longer be in circulation.

The last day they will have legal tender status is Friday 30 September.

Those who still have them are asked to use them or deposit them at their bank or a Post Office ahead of that day.

The Bank's Threadneedle St counter is understood to have been busy all summer amid good weather and high volumes of tourists looking to get their old notes changed.

The majority of paper £20 and £50 banknotes in circulation have been replaced with new polymer versions, which are less vulnerable to counterfeiters and more durable.

It was in 2021 that the Bank first issued the polymer £50 note featuring Bletchley Park codebreaker and scientist Alan Turing, completing its "family" of polymer notes - also including the £5, £10 and £20 notes.

All of them will remain legal tender in the wake of the death of the Queen though they are expected to be replaced over time with new versions featuring imagery to reflect the new reign of King Charles III.