Suboptimal vitamin D status among the South Asian UK population is widely reported; however, its impact on bone health is unclear. The aim of the present study was to conduct a comparative investigation of vitamin D status in postmenopausal South Asian (SA) and Caucasian (C) women and its relationship to parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration, biochemical markers of bone turnover and bone quality. A cross-sectional study of community-dwelling women aged 50–66 years was carried out. A total of sixty-six SA women of Pakistani origin and forty-two C women living in the same community were recruited. Fasting blood was taken for the measurement of vitamin D, PTH and biochemical markers of bone turnover, including type-1 collagen β C-telopeptide (βCTX), procollagen type-1 amino-terminal propeptide (P1NP), and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP) activity. Bone quality was assessed using broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA). Total serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was significantly lower in the SA women than the C women (medians: SA 10·5 v. C 47·1 nmol/l; P < 0·001) This was associated with a significantly elevated serum PTH concentration in the SA group (medians: SA 7·3 v. C 4·5 pmol/l; P < 0·01). BAP activity was also significantly higher in the SA group, indicating elevated osteoblast activity and bone turnover (medians: SA 23·0 v. C 20·0 U/l; P < 0·05). No significant differences were observed between the two groups for P1NP, βCTX or BUA. Although the SA women had significantly higher serum PTH and lower 25(OH)D concentrations than C women, this was not associated with significantly higher markers of bone resorption, or reduced bone quality in the SA women.