Biggest Lottery Winners in the UK
The biggest lottery prize ever won in the UK was claimed by Colin and Chris Weir, when they won £161.6 million (€185 million) in a EuroMillions draw in July 2011. Since then, the EuroMillions jackpot cap has increased to €190 million, but because of the favourable exchange rates at the time of their win, the Weirs remain the biggest UK lottery winners in terms of pound sterling prizes.
Below are lists of other players who have received huge amounts after buying lucky tickets:
- David and Carol Martin from Hawick in the Scottish Borders split a £66 million jackpot with another anonymous ticket holder in January 2016. Each winning ticket was worth £33 million.
- Gerry and Lisa Cannings from Peterborough were the sole winners of a £32.5 million jackpot just a month later in February 2016.
- In June 1995, a single ticket scooped a £22.5 million jackpot. Business partners Mark Gardiner and Paul Maddison split the prize between them.
- In July 2014, Iris Jeffrey from Belfast was the only winner of a £20 million Lotto jackpot.
- In 1996, a £42 million Lotto jackpot – the biggest ever seen at the time – was split between three ticket holders, who each walked away with £14 million.
The Lotto jackpot is currently capped at £22 million. This cap was introduced in 2016 and was initially set at £50 million, before it was revised later the same year. Prior to this, the jackpot was limited to four rollovers before it had to be won.
Here are the top 10 winners in the game's history, as well as details on where they were from and whether they remained anonymous.
|Date||Draw Number||Amount Won||Details|
|12th July 2011||397||£161,653,000||Colin and Chris Weir of Ayrshire hold the record for the biggest ever UK lottery win|
|10th August 2012||510||£148,656,000||Adrian and Gillian Bayford won €190 million in a EuroMillions draw in August 2012, but due to the exchange rates at the time, they ended up with over £10 million less than the Weirs.|
|24th April 2018||1105||£121,328,187||An anonymous ticket holder jumped to third on the UK lottery rich list|
|1st January 2019||1177||£114,969,775||Frances and Patrick Connolly from Moira in Northern Ireland purchased a single Lucky Dip online|
|8th October 2010||348||£113,019,926||Anonymous winner|
|14th March 2014||676||£107,932,603||A Lucky Dip ticket purchased in Surrey proved extra-lucky for Coulsdon’s Neil Trotter|
|7th October 2011||422||£101,203,600||Dave and Angela Dawes of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire|
|12th June 2015||806||£93,388,944||Anonymous winner|
|14th May 2010||327||£84,451,320||Anonymous winner|
|28th May 2013||593||£81,381,673||Anonymous winner|
Many huge EuroMillions prizes have also been awarded to lottery syndicates in the UK. These players teamed up to win big:
- A group of seven office workers in Merseyside got lucky on Friday 6th November 2009 when they split a jackpot of £91.1 million with another British player. The syndicate, who dubbed themselves 'The Magnificent Seven', took home a total of £45.5 million, with each member of the group receiving £6.5 million.
- In March 2012, 12 bus drivers from Corby, Northamptonshire scooped a colossal £38 million on EuroMillions. Each sped away with a sensational £3.1 million.
- A group of ten office workers in Kirkby, Merseyside picked up an incredible £28.8 million on Tuesday 9th July 2013. Each member became £2.8 million richer in the blink of an eye!
Biggest Win in 2019
The UK celebrated one of its biggest EuroMillions wins on the first day of 2019 when one lucky ticket matched all seven numbers drawn. Frances and Patrick Connolly from County Armagh in Northern Ireland came forward quickly and revealed that it would be fun to give away a large chunk of their money to friends and family.
One of the first decisions that you would face after winning a large lottery prize is whether to go public with the win. Although many winners in the past have announced their success publicly, you are under no obligation to do so. It has no effect on the prize money awarded, and the National Lottery is committed to offering the same level of support regardless of whether you decide to go public or not.
There are pros and cons each way. The media scrutiny and unwanted attention from strangers could add extra pressure if you go public, but you would also have the chance to celebrate your win without worrying about keeping it secret. Learn more on our Lottery Publicity page.
One of the perks of playing lotteries in the UK is that winnings are not subject to Capital Gains Tax or Income Tax, regardless of how much money you win. However, once you’ve deposited the winnings in your bank account, any money earned through interest is subject to Income Tax.
Upon winning a lottery jackpot, you might also want to share your fortune with friends and family, through gifts of cash or assets such as cars and houses. If you were to die within seven years of handing out gifts in excess of £325,000, they would be subject to an Inheritance Tax bill of up to 40%.
Inheritance Tax is charged on a sliding scale, and any gifts you give in the three years before you die will be subject to a 40% tax, which reduces to 8% for gifts handed out between 6 and 7 years before your death. See the table below for a full breakdown of the Inheritance Tax brackets, but remember, this only applies if you gift in excess of £325,000.
|Years between gift and death||Tax paid|
|Less than 3||40%|
|3 to 4||32%|
|4 to 5||24%|
|5 to 6||16%|
|6 to 7||8%|
|More than 7||0%|
You can give away £3,000 worth of gifts every year without them becoming subject to Inheritance Tax – this is your ‘annual exemption’ – and you can even carry this exemption over for one year (but no more) to gift up to £6,000 without it becoming part of your estate. Inheritance Tax does not apply to gifts shared between spouses or civil partners, meaning you could give your entire estate to your spouse without it being subject to Inheritance Tax. Some small gifts, such as Christmas and birthday presents, or those that you can afford out of your normal income, are also exempt.
To avoid complications in the event of your death, it is a good idea to keep detailed records of any gifts you give to friends and family, so that they don’t unduly receive a hefty Inheritance Tax bill.