The UK has a wide range of DIY shops. Each has their own unique selling points, strengths and weakness. There is a surprising range of opening times and geographical coverage even from the biggest chains. So if you really need a widget at 5.30pm on a Sunday how can you find out who is open and how far they are from you? You can go through each chains website individually (see below for a summary of their coverage and their store finders) but it takes time and is not very efficient. Have you ever come across the brilliant www.opening-times.co.uk? You can simply enter your town name and the category of shop you are looking for and it produces a list of options with a map, contact details, directions and opening times. You can even use it to search just for a particular chain such as B&Q shops. Simpler and faster!
B&Q is still the nationals most popular DIY shop and it has a massive 270 shops throughout the UK. Opening hours are long; 7am to 8pm or 9pm however not all shops are open on Sundays. Their store finder is fast and easy to use presenting a helpful area with your nearest shop locations so you compare their opening times and how far away they are.
Wicks have over 200 shops around the UK. Their store finder is fast with a postcode search or alphabetic drop down. However, the resulting display is not well designed and it’s hard to read the opening times quickly and without lots of scrolling. Lots of the shops close early, however, there are always a few of the larger stores that open until 8pm so make sure you check if you are going to arrive after 6pm.
Screwfix has a whopping 536 shops. The store finder is fast and easy to use and most of the shops have consistent opening times; Mon-Fri: 7am to 8pm, Sat: 7am to 6pm, Sun: 9am to 4pm. However a few shops don’t open until 10am on a Sunday.
Homebase has very good coverage throughout the UK and Ireland – over 250 shops. Their store finder is easy to use and fast and it also has an ‘Other Stores Near’ feature which is handy. Opening hours are 7 days a week and long; 7am to 8pm. They were bought by the Australian company Bunnings.
This company is the leading DIY retailer in Australia and New Zealand. They have entered the UK market by buying Homebase. However, they have also opened 9 UK stores under the separate BUnnings brand. At the moment these are all located in the South of England. Their store locator does not include an interactive postcode search or maps so you need to transfer their street address into another website or app like google maps to work out which is the closest shop to you and how to get there.
Robert Dyas Shops
This chain has 95 shops in the South of England. It is open 7 days a week but closes relatively early on weekdays (5.30pm). Their website has a very well laid out and easy to use store finder which includes a map and exact opening times for each shop.
The Range has over 140 shops in the UK and Ireland. Their store finder starts with a map of the UK and all their locations marked which is a helpful overview. Their opening times seem to be the most consistent between stores which is helpful – Monday to Saturday 9am to 8pm and Sundays 10.30 to 4.30pm.
Maxwells have 10 shops all in the North East of England. Their store finder lacks maps to it is not very user-friendly. They also have relatively short opening times and few shops open on Sundays.
Toolstation is a Travis Perkins brand. It has over 200 locations throughout the UK. Their store finder starts with a map of the UK and all their locations marked which is a helpful overview. Their store finder only gives you a single result, there is no nearest alternatives. Opening times are long and relatively consistent.