What time can you buy alcohol in the mornings? England, Scotland and Wales rules explained

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With just a few short days until Christmas, at the moment many are hoping to do their Christmas food shopping bright and early. So for the early birds looking to buy their family’s favourite tipples this Christmas, read on to find out what time you can buy alcohol in the mornings.

England and Wales

In England and Wales, most stores allow you to purchase alcohol at any time.

Providing a shop selling alcohol is open, customers should be able to purchase it at any time of day. 

Pubs usually open at 11am and close in England and Wales at 11pm.

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In Scotland the rules on purchasing alcohol are a bit stricter than in the rest of the UK.

Between 10am and 10pm, alcohol can be purchased in shops and supermarkets in Scotland.

Some shops in Scotland may also choose only to sell alcohol from 12.30pm as well.

In Scotland the 24-hour selling of alcohol isn’t permitted like it is in England.

Northern Ireland

For most licensed premises, alcohol may be sold in Northern Ireland:

  • From 11.30am to 11pm (except on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas day)
  • On Good Friday from 5pm to 11pm
  • On Christmas Day and Sundays from 12.30pm to 10pm

Off licences cannot open on Good Friday or Christmas Day. 

Off-licences can sell alcohol from 8am to 11pm (except on Sundays, Christmas Day and Easter Day).

On Sundays, off-licences can sell alcohol between 10am to 10pm. 

This year during lockdown the Northern Ireland executive introduced further restrictions on when alcohol can be purchased.

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