The current £10 which ceases to be legal tender from March 1

If Charles Darwin is a favourite of yours, you only have a week left to cherish his presence on the £10 note.

From March 1, the note ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom with £2.1bn worth of the cotton paper versions still in circulation.

The new £10 note, which features novelist Jane Austen, entered circulation last September and is made from polymer, which the Bank of England says is “more resilient, safer and stronger.”

Once the deadline has passed, you can only exchange your notes with the Bank of England. However, you should still be able to exchange them at local banks and post offices but they will not be legally obliged to do so.

A polymer £5 note has already been in circulation since May 2017, while the new polymer £20 note will arrive in 2020.

The paper £10 note has been in existence since 2000, but what could a tenner get you then?




Loaf of bread 52p £1.02
Pint of milk 34.2p 43.2p
Litre of petrol 75p £1.18
Tea bags (250g) £1.51 £2.03
1 x cinema ticket £4.40 £7.41

Figures from ONS and Statista

Bank of England said that “there are still around 211 million paper £10 notes left in circulation.”

If these were put end to end, that is enough notes to retrace almost half of Darwin’s journey on HMS Beagle.

The Bank have said that they are not confident that all old £10 notes will be exchanged because some will have been destroyed, gone overseas or kept as memorabilia.

It is also believed that counterfeiters do not seem keen on targeting the cotton paper £10 notes, according to the Bank.

In 2017, just 0.0054% of all ten pound notes were found to be counterfeit.

Who has been on the back of the £10 note?

1964 to 1975: A lion

Big cats often appeared on the back of British banknotes during the 1950s and 1960s.

1975 to 1992: Florence Nightingale

The founder of modern nursing, who went to the Crimean War to nurse wounded soldiers and saved many lives.

1992 to 2000: Charles Dickens

A highly influential 19th century author who wrote ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’.

2000 to 2017: Charles Darwin

A naturist known for his theory of evolution and the process of natural selection.

2017 to present: Jane Austen

A novelist in the Georgian era, best known for penning ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’.