Opening times

Pub opening times

Time, gentlemen, please!

Pub opening and closing times are down to the licence that applies to the establishment, although most pubs stick to a pretty standard schedule. See below for late-night drinking.

‘Normal’ times are as follows for England and Wales:

  • Monday to Saturday: 11.00-23.00
  • Sunday: 12.00-22.30

Scotland is slightly different, it has had more liberal opening times for some time and as a consequence there’s less of a pattern. We expect the same will happen in England and Wales, given time.

Last orders

Pubs usually call ‘last orders’ ten minutes before closing time and this is often indicated by ringing a bell. It’s merely a warning and you can continue to drink until closing time. When time is called – by ringing the bell again or calling ‘Time, please, ladies and gents’ – that’s it: drink sales are closed; you can’t buy booze to take home at this point either.

Canary Wharf - a business and retail development in East London's former docks

What follows next is ‘drinking-up time’, when the pub will allow you up to twenty minutes to finish your drink. Some pubs do this more aggressively than others. But, if you find a more relaxed one, they will often let you finish up at your own pace.


‘Lock-ins’ (drinking beyond the times allowed by the pub’s licence) are illegal, even with the new laws, but they do happen in some instances. And, if you find yourself locked in a pub after last orders and still getting a drink you may count yourself lucky, but be warned: you could get into trouble with the law.