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The typical opening hours of shops in Britain are from 9am to 5pm. However, shops are increasingly opening for longer hours, particularly in London and other major cities. It is very unusual for any shop to close for part of the middle of the day, as is common in some other European countries. However, some small rural shops have more restricted opening hours and may be closed for one or two days per week.

Supermarkets usually open for significantly longer hours and in major towns and cities it is not uncommon for larger supermarkets to be open for 24 hours.

Restricted opening hours on Sundays still exist which restrict medium and large shops to being open for a maximum of 6 hours. The hours chosen are usually 10am until 4pm or 11am until 5pm. In practice, although the restrictions do not apply to small shops, many will open for short hours on a Sunday or close altogether.


Cafes tend to be open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea but close at around 4pm or 5pm. It is not uncommon for cafes, especially in more rural areas and in quieter seasons, to be shut for one or two days a week, usually a Monday or Tuesday.


Most restaurants open around midday to serve lunch. Many restaurants in larger towns and cities will then serve food all day until 9pm or 10pm. Some restaurants, however, have a 'lunch service' from around 12pm to 3pm then stop serving until the 'dinner service' which usually begins at 5pm or 6pm and runs to 9pm or 10pm. In rural areas, dinner service can end earlier, with last orders being accepted at 8pm or 8.30pm.


Pubs usually open at 11am or 12pm and stay open throughout the day until 11pm. In some rural areas, outside of the busiest season, some pubs will close for a few hours in the afternoon. Licensing laws have recently been relaxed to allow pubs to stay open later but, in practice, most still close at 11pm, particularly outside major cities. Other bars and night clubs will stay open later.

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