UK TV Costa Del Sol – The Simplest Way to Watch British TV in Spain

How to Watch UK TV in the Costa Del Sol, UK Expat TV in Spain

All the UK TV stations broadcast the majority of their shows online. There are a few exceptions, like the odd licensed blockbuster film but usually you can watch everything live or from their archives. However as anyone who has ever settled down to watch from outside the UK will know, the minute you step outside the UK none of these will work.  Surprisingly it still comes as a shock to some people, yet it has been this way for many years at least for the major TV channels.

watch UK TV Costa Del Sol

UK TV/BBC in European Single Digital Market

There was some hope for a while, the EU were making a stand against this sort of behaviour with a digital marketplace initiative. The idea was that anything digital that you bought or paid for in one European country should be available in any other country. It makes sense widening the single market to include digital goods and services.

The BBC was making preparations to support this, rumours suggested that you’d have to input your TV license number before accessing the site, but it could be watched anywhere in Europe. Now obviously these plans are now on hold, although if we end up going back into the European Union expect to see them revived.

Fortunately there is a way to bypass these blocks that doesn’t involve politicians. So if you’re enjoying a beer on a Saturday night in the warm Spanish sun and you’re pining for that Match of the Day live stream or the latest episode of Strictly then read on.

How to Watch British TV in the Costa Del Sol (Without Satellite Dish)

There are of course several different options to do this, but one method is simpler, cheaper and as a result much more popular than the others. It involves quickly installing a computer program with a couple of mouse clicks, then clicking on a UK server to change your location. It’s called a VPN program which can sit on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone and hide your true location whenever you need it.

Demonstration – UK TV Channels through VPN/Wifi Connection

The best way to see how easy it is to use, is by watching this short video which uses something called NordVPN

as you can see from the demonstration in the video (about 1 minute in). It’s really only a matter of pointing at a British flag in the program to connect to a UK server. From that point it really doesn’t matter where you are, it could be the Costa Del Sol, watching British TV in Cyprus or Argentina – when you’re connected you will appear to be in the UK. So the BBC and ITV will work perfectly as will all the other UK TV channels which broadcast online.  If you have subscription services like Sky and Virgin they will work too as long as you enable the UK connection first. You must have a valid subscription to these services just as via satellite access, although most work online without a set top box.

When you finish you simply turn it off and the connection will close. Then your internet experience will revert to the country you are physically located in. Remember when the UK VPN is enabled, all your other browsing will be centered around the UK too. So for example if you use Google then you’ll receive UK related results rather than Spanish ones, you could also lose access to Spanish only sites too.

VPN and an Internet Service – All You Need for Exp TV

It’s not difficult to use, and having the ability to switch countries at will opens up thousands of web sites which are normally restricted to specific countries too. If you want to watch some US only channels click on a US server for instance. For English speakers there are some great media sites like Hulu, Pandora and NBC just in the US, which you can watch from anywhere using a VPN. For the more adventurous and multi-lingual there’s loads of stuff on French, Canadian, Australian and German TV too – just click the right flag to get access.

Remember that although you don’t need unlimited internet to stream these TV channels it will use quite a lot of data. Many people of course have unlimited plans on their home internet connection, however if you don’t you should be careful on how much you stream. Watching internet TV especially at higher resolutions can involve a large amount of data, consider upgrading your account if this is likely to be your preferred option.

VPN is the Simplest, Cheapest and Safest Method

There are other options of course, depending on where you live. If you look at Expat online communities then you’ll find whole sections and UK TV in Spain forum groups. There are satellite options, dodgy sounding IPTV servers, simulsat TV Spain and a whole range of different hardware devices. Yet the fact is that if you have a decent internet connection then it’s hard to find a simpler option for English TV in Mallorca or anywhere in the world than using a VPN.

It’s worth remembering that although millions use these VPNs just for watching Eastenders on their computers, they do have another primary function – security. A VPN provides a level of security that is completely lacking from the vast majority of internet connections. Checking your email or paying a bill while using an unknown Wifi hotspot is a huge risk. A VPN encrypts all your data and makes it safe to surf from virtually anywhere.

British TV in Spain

What’s more because a VPN’s primary purpose is security and anonymity then you can happily browse and download from all these websites completely safely.  Nobody can see where you’re connected from and all your data is secure.

VPNs Still Work – Access the BBC Site

There is one more thing to mention with regards this particular method of accessing free English TV. If you read forums or various expat communities, you’ll probably hear about how the BBC has blocked VPNs and these remote access methods. Some have even suggested that UK TV in Spain 2022 and particularly the BBC had become impossible! Well, this is definitely not the case but there is some truth behind these statements.

Over the last couple of years, the BBC has cracked down on the connections from VPN and IP hiding services. There was probably some worry that the amount of people who were able to watch UK TV abroad free of charge was going to have some impact on their international sales. The result was that loads of these VPN services were either blocked completely or shut down by using legal threats. The majority of these were the super cheap ones which allowed too many connections from the same IP addresses and the companies which used BBC logos and images in their advertising.

Most of the proper VPN security services were completely unaffected and are still working fine with the BBC. There are still literally millions of people enjoying the BBC iPlayer and other UK channels from all over the world. Here’s our recommendation – a VPN which I’ve personally been using for many years now to watch the BBC when I’m outside the UK. It’s called NordVPN and is perfect for watching British TV in the Costa Del Sol or anywhere else in the world.

Click the link below and try them out – there’s no automatic renewals and a 30-day money back guarantee too.

Nord VPN Discount Page

Additional Questions

Here’s a few questions that often get asked, so added them here at the end.

Can I Really Enjoy UK TV in the Costa Del Sol without Satellite?

Absolutely, you need no special equipment beyond access to a reasonable internet connection (over 8MBs) and a device to watch on like a computer or tablet. A VPN will hide your real location and you can watch all the British TV channels live or on demand.

Do I Need a UK TV Licence for BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub?

When you try and watch BBC iPlayer you are often asked if you have a valid UK TV license. Don’t worry about this, all you need to do is answer YES. There’s no further checks or validation beyond this. Of course, you can’t actually buy a UK TV license outside the UK anyway but many of us hope one day we will be able to!

Do I Need to Register an Account on the UK TV sites?

Yes, the BBC and ITV now requires you to create an account before you stream any programmes. If you don’t have one, just create one they’re free – make sure you have enabled your VPN and connected to a UK server first.

How to Watch UK TV in Spain Using Free Proxies?

Many years ago it was possible to watch channels like the BBC by using free proxy servers you could find online.  Unfortunately this is no longer possible, none of these work anymore as their IP addresses are blacklisted very quickly.  Some are actually dangerous to use as they can install malware on  your computer, the only safe option is to find a free trial of a commercial service – this one works for 14 days free trial.

2 thoughts on “UK TV Costa Del Sol – The Simplest Way to Watch British TV in Spain”

  1. I’ve paid for two years subscription to be able to get English tv with playback and sub titles . A new showing on my Ipad but I still don’t know how to get these on the tv. What do I do next? Have I paid for the wrong thing?

  2. Hi, No, you’ve bought the right thing. It’s allows you to pretend you’re in the UK and you can use the BBC and ITV web sites as if you were in the UK.

    The installation instructions for iPad are here –

    When you’ve installed it then you first need to connect a UK server. There’s a section in the above page about connecting to NordVPN servers. You can connect to any UK server, but these work much better with the BBC and ITV – UK# 1840-1847, 1850-1863, 1865, 1869, 1873, 1875-1878, 1880-1881, 1900-1901, 1903-1904, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1919-1920. Just type in the number and connect to one of these.

    When you’re connected to a UK server you can go to the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub websites and use it as if you’re in the UK. Or you can download the apps for these sites too. Create an account if you don’t have one. You’ll need to say ‘Yes’ I have a TV license (they don’t check) and will ask you for a postcode (any UK one will do). You only have to create the account once.
    Remember to connect to a UK server before using each time and disconnect after you’ve finished watching or downloading.

    Hope this helps.


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