What time do supermarkets start/stop selling alcohol?

Welcome to 24 Hour Alcohol, the place to find supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations/garages licensed to sell alcohol 24 hours, so you can buy booze at anytime of night.

What time of night do supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons start/stop selling alcohol?
The times supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are permitted to sell alcohol depends entirely on the licensing hours granted by the local authority where each individual supermarket is located. In England and Wales, thanks to the Licensing Act 2003 (the law which introduced 24 hour drinking) shops can sell alcohol 24 hours if they have been granted a licence allowing them to do so. There is no set rule when it comes to alcohol licensing times. For example, in the Waterloo area of London, there is a 24 hour Tesco Express licensed to sell alcohol 6am-midnight right next door to a 24 hour Sainsbury’s Local which is licensed to sell alcohol anytime. The Tesco Express applied for a variation to sell alcohol 24/7 but was unsuccessful. Don’t worry though, when trying to find a shop selling alcohol late at night, you don’t have to be kept in the dark as we maintain a database of all shops in England & Wales licensed to sell alcohol 24 hours.

In Scotland, alcohol can only be sold in shops from 10am until 10pm (though some stores may have further restrictions).

In Northern Ireland, off-licences can only sell alcohol from 8am until 11pm Monday-Saturday and 12:30pm until 10pm on Sunday. Off-licences in Northern Ireland are not permitted to open at all on Christmas Day.

Please note that since the pandemic, Asda is the only large supermarket chain with stores still open 24 hours all year round. Many large Tesco stores open 24 hours only for a few days before Christmas. There are still small 24 hour shops across England & Wales that are open 365 days a year. You can easily search our database to find nearest shops licensed to sell booze 24 hours a day which includes all 24hr supermarkets, convenience stores & petrol stations licensed to sell alcohol 24hrs a day.

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Generally speaking, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Co-Op and Iceland branches in England & Wales are often licensed to sell alcohol for the duration of the time they are open to the public but there are exceptions where local licensing authorities (councils) have refused to grant alcohol licences for the full hours applied for, so there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to purchase alcohol at any time the store is open.

Guidance issued by the Home Office states “shops, stores and supermarkets should normally be free to provide sales of alcohol for consumption off the premises at any times when the retail outlet is open for shopping unless there are good reasons, based on the licensing objectives, for restricting those hours”.

Have you tried using our store locator to find shops licensed to sell alcohol 24 hours? If there isn’t a 24 hour shop nearby with a licence to sell booze all night, late night alcohol delivery is an option in a growing number of locations in England & Wales.

Do 24 hour Tesco stores sell alcohol all night?
The majority of Tesco Superstores and Tesco Extra stores are licensed to sell alcohol 24 hours, however, in some parts of the country there are 24 hour Tesco supermarkets that aren’t licensed to sell alcohol around the clock. Our database identifies which Tesco stores are licensed for 24 hour alcohol sales, so you can easily check where your nearest Tesco with a 24hr alcohol licence is located. Unfortunately, since the pandemic, there are no longer any large Tesco supermarkets open 24 hours, except during the run up to Christmas when some stores are open overnight for several days. There are some of the smaller format Tesco Express stores (often attached to Esso garages) that remain open 24/7, but most of them aren’t licensed to sell alcohol all-night – our database shows you which ones are permitted to sell alcohol around the clock.

Do 24 hour Asda stores sell alcohol all night?
Most Asda supermarkets that open 24 hours are licensed for 24 hour alcohol sales but there are a number of 24 hour Asda supermarkets across the country that are not licensed to sell alcohol all night. There are also some Asda stores with licences to sell alcohol 24 hours that don’t sell alcohol at night due to Asda company policy (even though they have 24hr alcohol licences) – these stores are usually located in city centres and areas where there may have historically been problems with late night antisocial behaviour. Our database indicates which Asda Supermarkets, Superstores and Supercentres with 24 hour alcohol licences do and don’t sell alcohol all night, although we always recommend calling your local store to confirm, as stores with 24 hour alcohol licences don’t have to sell alcohol all the time, and sometimes they choose not to for various reasons.

Do 24 hour corner shops sell alcohol all night?
Most small independent 24 hour convenience stores in the UK aren’t licensed to sell alcohol all night, which is why we developed our database of 24 hour off licences in England & Wales, so you can easily see which nearest 24 hour shops are licensed to sell alcohol night and day.


Do large supermarkets sell alcohol 24 hours on Sunday?
In England and Wales, Sunday trading laws restrict large supermarkets opening 24 hours on Sundays, which obviously means they’re no good for buying alcohol after 11:59pm on Saturday nights. Sunday trading regulations dictate that large supermarkets over 3000 square feet can only open for a maximum of six continuous hours on Sundays, which must be between the hours of 10am-6pm.

In Scotland, Sunday trading restrictions don’t apply, so large supermarkets can, and often do, open 24/7 but as mentioned above, 24 hour alcohol sales are not permitted in Scotland.

Do convenience stores sell alcohol 24 hours on Sunday?
Stores under 3000 square feet (convenience stores) aren’t affected by Sunday trading regulations, and neither are petrol stations, so can open 24/7 if they wish. This is the reason you’ll see many small 24 hour convenience stores such as Spar, Nisa Local, Costcutter, Mace, Londis, Budgens, Premier Stores, Family Shopper, Best One, Bargain Booze, One Stop, McColl’s, Go Local, Loco, Simply Fresh, Select & Save, Lifestyle Express and independent shops trading 24 hours on Sundays. Even Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local, Morrisons Daily and convenience stores within petrol filling stations can usually open all day and night on Sundays because of their small size.

The 24 Hour Alcohol website enables you to find 24 hour off licences, such as supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol station forecourts/garages licensed to sell alcohol 24 hours. Find your local shop with a 24 hour alcohol licence by selecting your location from the list of counties/areas or use our new 24 hour booze store locator or alternatively, check if there is a service offering delivery near you to get booze dropped off at your door 24/7. Now that you can locate alcohol after hours, you need never run out of beer, wine or spirits ever again!

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