Moving Pianos and Musical Instruments to Europe from the UK



Moving Pianos and Musical Instruments to Europe from the UK

Moving pianos and musical instruments across borders can be a daunting task, but it becomes even more complex when you’re relocating from the UK to Europe. Whether you’re a professional musician, a collector, or simply someone who cherishes their musical treasures, careful planning and execution are essential to ensure the safe and hassle-free transport of your instruments.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the steps, considerations, and tips for moving pianos and musical instruments from the UK to Europe.

Assessment and Planning

Before you start packing and booking transportation, conduct a thorough assessment of the musical instruments you intend to move. Take note of their size, weight, and fragility. Pianos, for example, come in various types, from upright to grand pianos, and their dimensions can vary significantly. Knowing the specifics of your instruments will help you make informed decisions throughout the moving process.

Choose a Reliable Moving Company

Selecting the right moving company is crucial when relocating valuable musical instruments. Matthew James Removals Spain are experienced in handling delicate items, especially pianos and other large instruments. We can arrange crane hire and outside elevators in Spain, the UK and Europe should they be required.

Packing and Crating

Proper packaging is key to protecting your musical instruments during transit. Here are some general packing guidelines:

  • Pianos: Pianos should be wrapped in specialised moving blankets and secured within custom-built wooden crates for added protection. They should be transported to and from the residence on proper Piano wheels and the right size piano shoe for grand piano’s. Grand piano’s need careful dismantling prior to moving.
  • String Instruments: String instruments like violins and cellos should be placed in hard-shell cases designed for travel. Ensure that the strings are loosened to relieve tension during the move.
  • Brass and Woodwind Instruments: Remove mouthpieces and any detachable parts, and pack them separately. Place the instruments in padded cases.
  • Percussion Instruments: Percussion instruments like drums should be disassembled and securely packed in padded cases or crates.

Documentation and Customs

Moving musical instruments from the UK to Europe involves crossing international borders, so you’ll need to deal with customs and documentation. Some key documents and considerations include:

  • Inventory List: Create a detailed inventory list of all the musical instruments and accessories you’re moving. This list will be crucial for customs clearance, the team at Matthew James removals will assist with the inventory and all customs clearance procedures.
  • Import Regulations: Matthew James removals will be familiar with the import regulations and requirements of the specific European country you’re moving to. These regulations can vary significantly, so it’s essential we comply with them for the safe transit of your instruments.
  • CITES Documentation: Some musical instruments, such as those containing protected materials like ivory or rosewood, may require CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) permits.
  • VAT and Duties: Be prepared to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) and customs duties upon arrival in your destination country, as these charges can significantly affect your budget.Our team can advise if this is applicable to your shipment

Transportation Options

When moving musical instruments to Europe from the UK, you have several transportation options to consider:

  • Road Transport: For nearby European countries, road transport may be the most practical and cost-effective option.
  • Sea Freight: For long-distance moves, especially if you’re transporting a grand piano or a large collection of instruments, sea freight is a viable choice. It’s slower but can be more cost-effective for bulkier items.
  • Air Freight: If you need your instruments to arrive quickly and safely, air freight is the fastest option, although it can be expensive.


Invest in comprehensive insurance coverage for your musical instruments. Even with the utmost care, accidents can happen during transportation. Insurance will provide peace of mind knowing that your valuable instruments are protected.

Reassembling and Tuning

Upon arrival in your new European location, engage professionals to reassemble and tune your musical instruments. Pianos, in particular, may require tuning due to changes in temperature and humidity during transit.

Climate Control and Storage

Consider the climate conditions in your new European location. Musical instruments, especially those made of wood, are sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Ensure proper storage conditions, such as temperature-controlled rooms, to prevent damage.

Moving pianos and musical instruments from the UK to Europe is a complex process that demands careful planning and execution. By assessing your instruments, choosing a reliable moving company, adhering to customs regulations, and selecting the appropriate transportation method, you can ensure that your musical treasures arrive safely and soundly in your new European destination. With proper care and attention to detail, you can continue to create beautiful music in your new home across the continent.

Our Branches in Spain

Matthew James Removals & Storage SL
Calle Alonso Cano 19
Poligono Industrial
Estepona, Malaga
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C/Anselm Clave
S/N Pol 16, Sant Feliu
De LloBregat
Tel: (0034) 931 84 54 94
Tel: 0044 (0) 1322 251 000

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