Things have changed dramatically over the past few years with the introduction of 24-hour drinking. But before you head-off down the local during a bout of insomnia at 3 ‘o’ clock in the morning, just read on.
In Victorian times, pubs were open from 4am till 10pm, 7 days a week and closed their doors only on special occasions such as Christmas Day, Good Friday etc.
Traditional licensing hours were put into place during the Second World War in order to keep munitions workers sober during working hours and remained basically unchanged for over 60 years, only varying by an hour or two.
The new 24-hour licensing law was introduced in the UK in 2005 due to pressure from the tourist board and other concerned groups. It was found that visitors from overseas were coming to the UK for a holiday but were unable to purchase an alcoholic drink after 11pm, unless they paid to enter a late-night drinking establishment or nightclub. Many countries outside of the UK were much more liberal in their attitude towards serving alcohol and so it was only a matter of time until the UK copied suit. But it was to be a very long wait indeed!!
You will generally find that local village pubs and some town pubs still keep to the traditional licensing hours. There customers don’t wish them to change. They have the flexibility however of being able to stay open later if the need arises such as on bank holidays and special occasions or if a coach-load of thirsty drinkers pull into their car-park.