Best Way to Find Map Grid Reference Online

Here at CheapTents we love Google Maps and Street View. We are waiting with great anticipation for Google to roll out Street View for mountain trails, which we like to call “Sherpa Cam“. Yet there is still something better than Google Maps and that is Ordnance Survey mapping. The Ordnance Survey National Grid reference system can be used to locate an exact position anywhere in Great Britain. It can be frustrating though, if you want to view a grid reference on a map online. Fortunately the Ordnance Survey website has the answer! It is called Get a Map.

Ordnance Survey Get a Map logo

How Can You Locate An OS Grid Ref Online?

The first thing that you will need to do is install Microsoft Silverlight on your computer. Silverlight is a free browser plug-in for “creating and delivering rich Internet applications and media experiences on the Web.” Once you have installed Silverlight you are ready to go!

The Grid Reference Link – Get A Map

Simply use the example link below to show you the location of the grid reference on a scalable OS map.

You must use the two grid letters and the numeric grid reference which can be a 4, 6 or 8 figure reference number. So in the example above, the grid letters are SK and the numeric reference is a 6 figure reference. The reference SK097879 is Kinder Scout in the Peak District.

You can choose from a zoom map, aerial view or leisure map. The zoom map lets you zoom right out for an overview of the area, whereas the leisure map shows a high amount of detail when you zoom in. The most accurate reference will be found by zooming in to 300 m on the Leisure map.

You can also use Get a Map to show the grid reference of a location by finding a place on the map. This can help with your map reading skills, by checking your estimate of the location of a grid reference.

Kinder Scout  Get a Map Screenshot showing Kinder Scout
Ordnance Survey Get a Map Screenshot. Grid Ref SK097879 Kinder Scout.

An alternative website on which you can locate grid references on an Ordnance Survey map is that of the Bedfordshire Natural History Society. This website allows you to view an aerial map and OS map on a split screen and does not require Silverlite.

Try out these grid references, just for fun!

Below are list of grid references, which are of interest to those of us who like the great British countryside! You can copy and paste the them directly into the Get a Map search. You will need to paste using Ctrl + V on your keyboard. If you select the aerial map you can and try to guess the location. Scroll down for the answers! Clue: most of them are in our National Parks.

  1. NY326283
  2. NG500540
  3. SH664593
  4. SX550867
  5. NJ005040
  6. SS891415
  7. TV590957
  8. SD838733
  9. SO272187
  10. NZ740041


If you don’t want to see the answers, stop strolling down now!

Aerial view of Kinder Scout
Kinder Scout – an aerial view from Get-a-Map.

The locations are:

  1. Sharp Edge, The Lake District
  2. The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
  3. Tryfan, Snowdonia
  4. Great Links Tor, Dartmoor
  5. Cairn Gorm, Cairngorm National Park
  6. Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor National Park
  7. Beachy Head, South Downs National Park
  8. Pen-y-ghent, Yorkshire Dales
  9. Sugar Loaf / Y-Fal, Brecon Beacons
  10. Glaisdale Rigg, North York Moors


What’s Your Favourite Grid Reference?

Where are your favourite locations for hiking, walking and camping in the UK? Share some grid references with us by leaving a comment below or tweeting @cheaptents


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