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The best place to get the opening times for UK businesses
It can often be very hard to know here the best place to find the opening times for UK based businesses is. Sometimes it can be very hard to find the information, especially when just relying on a search engine. However, there are a number of useful tips which should be followed whenever trying to get information on opening hours when using the Internet.
The website of the business
Probably the first place to look for opening times for a particular business would be their company website. Most company websites can easily be found using a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. Once on the website of the company there should be a link somewhere on the homepage for either information on opening times or if the business has many locations a link where it is possible to find details about individual properties. However this can often be hard to find. It will generally be called something such as 'Where are we', 'Find us' or if part of a national chain 'Store locator' such as shown by the screenshot of the ASDA Walmart homepage shown on the right. For multi-premises businesses there is often the need to search for the individual location of interest, and this is generally done by either typing in a location eg 'Birmingham' or a postcode 'B66 3EN'. Once this has been done it should be possible to get information on the individual unit. Many businesses will have information on how to get to a site, as well as opening times for each branch, however some may not. In such cases it may be necessary to contact the store using the details provided.
Opening Times Website
A second place to look is the website www.opening-times.co.uk. This is a website which has the opening times for a large number of hughstreet chains from within the UK, including Argos, Tesco, ASDA, Sainsburys, Lidl, B&Q and Waitrose. This is a relatively new website, that has seen considerable growth in its short lifetime, so that it is now one of the top 4000 websites viewed from in the UK. Whilst the layout is relatively basic - it does the job well without the flashy extras - this is something which has worked well for Google.
There are several ways of getting opening times for a shop (since at the present stage only shop are included) using this website. It is possible to search for a particular store, for example Tesco or Sainsburys, within 20 miles of a location. This location can be relatively vague like Manchester or Aberdeen, or it can be much more exact and a postcode. Once this has been done it gives a list of all of the available stores within a given region, ranked in order of how close they are to the given location. In addition, there is a map with the locations of these stores, as well as the location of the searched for location. A maximum of eight shops are listed - if more than eight are in the location searched for then the closest eight are chosen.
A second way of searching is by entering the details for the location and then just selecting for all stores to be searched. This can be useful if there is no prior knowledge of the area and the searcher doesn't care what shop they go to. However, this can result in more problems. Once again only the eight stores nearest the location are given as results. With the opening times of many different companies mentioned on the system, it can be very hard to find relevant information. For example, typing in Bristol and searching all the companies available gives the results in no branches of Morrisons being listed, when in fact there are at least three such locations within the Bristol region.
A final way of searching is by looking at list of all the stores trading under a particular brandname, for example it is possible to find the locations of all of the Booths within the UK.
Whichever option is chosen, the opening times for the particular store are found by clicking on the link through to this store. In addition to the opening times, it can also contain a map, address and other contact details (phone, email etc). Many people who have never previously used the stages outlined above may recognise the individual store opening times page as it can be found when searching on Google.
Other sources of online opening times for UK based busniesses
There can be many other sources of information which can be found when using search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. For example on this very website, the page Falmouth Shopping gives opening times for shops in Falmouth and the page Cribbs Causeway gives the opening times for some shops at Cribbs Causeway.
In addition to such searches, there are several other ways. There are many websites which relate to specific trades, such as websites on law and banking, and these can sometimes be useful for finding out information on the opening times of specific local business premises. Even if the opening times for this business are not located on the website there may be other contact details such as phone numbers or email addresses which can be used instead.
Word of warning about relying on websites for opening times
Many companies often don't update their websites with the latest information relating to opening times, especially around special occasions such as Christmas and Easter. As such, it is worth ringing the business to confirm that the timings are correct if the visit is made near the beginning or the end of the opening times mentioned on the webpage, or around holidays, to ensure that a wasted journey is not made.