What’s the best time to shop at Tesco?

Wondering when the best time shop at Tesco is? Or how to get a delivery spot, or the best ways to save money when shopping at Tesco? You’ll find all the answers here!

Whether we’re confined to our homes during the pandemic, or enjoying new freedoms once lockdown lifts, one thing we’ll always have to deal with is the weekly food shop. If you’re planning to get your food at Tesco, you’ll want to know the best time to shop at Tesco.

The best time to shop at Tesco depends on your priorities, whether that’s finding the quietest times during the week and weekend, so that you can minimise the risk of Covid-19, or the perfect time to snag those 75% reduced pastries!

According to Opening Times, most Tesco stores usually open from 6am-11pm during the week and at weekends, although this depends on your local store, so make sure you check this before you visit. We spoke to Opening Times about the best time to shop both online and in-store at Tesco based on a range of factors, including store busyness and the best chances of getting a delivery slot.

Let’s dive right in, and look at the best time to shop at Tesco.

What is the best time to shop at Tesco?

The best time to shop at Tesco during the week is between 7am and 9am, from Monday to Thursday, and the best time to shop at Tesco during the weekend is after 6pm on a Saturday, and before 11am on Saturday and Sunday, as Google search data shows that stores tend to be less busy at these times.

Tesco stores are busiest during the week between 12-2pm, with most of them peaking in busyness at 2pm, so you should try to shop outside of these hours, if you want to avoid long queues.

Of course, the best time for you to shop at Tesco depends on lots of factors, and in this blog we’ll cover everything from the best time to shop at Tesco if you want to get reduced food, to the best time to get a Tesco delivery slot.

What is the best time to shop at Tesco during the week?

Obviously, the best time for you to shop at Tesco during the week will fluctuate according to the Tesco store you use, and its particular opening hours. Opening Times said that the best time to shop at Tesco during the week is between Monday and Thursday, as Fridays are busier with people doing their weekend shopping. Some Tesco stores open as early as 6am, and the hours of 6 or 7am to 9am, and 8pm to closing time, are the best times to shop at Tesco if you want to avoid too many people, and longer queues.

Opening Times say that it’s a good idea to check Google’s ‘popular times’ function, which will appear next to a particular store, to get a live update on how busy your local store is at any particular moment, as well as how busy it usually is at different times.

What is the best time to shop at Tesco during the weekend?

Similarly to shopping at Tesco during the week, the best time to shop at Tesco during the weekend will depend on your local store. Make sure you use Google’s ‘popular times’ function to check how busy your local store is at the time you’re planning to shop.

According to Opening Times, the best times to shop on Saturdays are generally before 11am and after 6pm, with the hours after 8pm being the quietest for an evening shop.

What is the best time to shop at Tesco to get reduced food?

A big motivator for shopping at Tesco or any other large-chain supermarket is the lure of those yellow stickers, knocking the price of products down to pennies. We’ve all heard the myths – sirloin steaks for 20p, fancy sandwiches for nearly nothing, and the woman who got Christmas dinner for a fiver.

The best time to shop at Tesco to get reduced food is after 8pm. This is because most products that can be reduced on a particular day, will be nearing their sell-by dates at this time, so staff have to mark their price down.

A useful hack for shopping at Tesco to get reduced food, is not to hang around by the reduced aisle like an awkward vulture as a member of staff scans each item for reduction.

Rather, avoid the busyness of the reduced aisle by filling your basket with fresh products that have a ‘use by’ date of that same day, and politely ask a member of staff if your shopping qualifies for a reduction. Usually, they will say yes and reduce it then and there.

What time does Tesco open for NHS staff and vulnerable customers?

If you work for the NHS, you have priority access to Tesco at all times. This means you can go to the front of any queue in any Tesco store, as long as you show some form of NHS ID, for example, your NHS staff card. However, there are no priority shopping hours just for NHS staff.

You’ll have priority access to Tesco stores between 9am and 10am on Wednesdays and Sundays, if you’re a vulnerable customer due to age or illness. However, these may be ‘browsing only’ hours, where you can pick up your items but not pay for them until 10am.

The hours may also differ from store to store, so make sure you check Tesco’s Store Locator to find out the priority hours of your local store. Tesco Express won’t have any priority hours for vulnerable customers, so if your only local store is a Tesco Express, it may be a good idea to consider another supermarket with similar prices, that does offer priority hours for vulnerable customers.

Shopping at Tesco with a disability

If you have a disability or you care for someone who has a disability, it’s important that you have the right support while shopping in-store at Tesco. Tesco supports customers with disabilities, including ‘hidden’ conditions such as autism, diabetes and hearing loss, in the following five ways.

1) Sunflower lanyards

Tesco participates in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme. Wearing a sunflower lanyard shows the people around you, including Tesco staff, that you need extra support, help and time. For example, you could get support loading your shopping into you car if you struggle to do it yourself.

You can pick up a sunflower lanyard at any customer service desk in Tesco, or purchase your own lanyard to wear any time you go out, from a website such as Hidden Disabilities.

It’s important to note that wearing the sunflower lanyard will show staff that you have a hidden disability, but they won’t know the exact challenges you face. If you have specific needs, you can approach a member of staff to help meet them.

2) Booking help in advance

If you have a disability and you need personalised assistance, for example, an accompanied shop, you can call your local store’s customer service, and request the support you need in advance.

3) Changing Places toilets

All Tesco stores will have disabled toilets, of course, but 100 stores across the UK also have Changing Places toilets. These are toilets with generous space (which can easily fit up to two carers and any equipment).

Changing places toilets will include privacy screen, a height adjustable adult sized changing bench, ceiling track hoist system and a peninsular toilet (a toilet which sticks out from the wall enough to allow carers to assist from either side).

Tesco has created a toilet map, which you can access online to check your nearest store with a Changing Places facility.

4) Support for the hard of hearing

Tesco will have signs with the ‘hearing loop ear’ symbol to show where induction loops for your hearing aids are available. You can also bring your hearing dog or guide dog, of course.

5 )Visual shopping guide if you have autism

Going shopping if you have autism can be a really difficult experience, especially with the bright lights and sensory overload of many shops. If you like, you can wear the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard to indicate to staff that you might need extra support. You can also google ‘shopping with a disability at Tesco’ to access their Tesco’s visual guide and shopping list.

When is the best time to get a Tesco delivery slot?

The best time to get a Tesco delivery slot is midnight, according to The Sun and Money Saving Expert. New Slots are released at midnight, although Tesco also says it releases delivery slots throughout the day.

Tesco delivery slots are released up to 21 days in advance, so if you are very organised with meal planning, you can access slots before they run out and get your grocery shops for the next few weeks sorted.

Tesco is adding hundreds of thousands of slots to deal with rising demand during the third national lockdown, so don’t worry too much about being unable to access a slot.

If you still can’t get a delivery slot, you can also try Tesco’s Click+Collect service, which allows you to book a collection slot at a specific Tesco store. You’ll then go and pick up your groceries, which will be waiting for you in temperature-controlled storage, ensuring that they stay fresh. You’ll sign an electronic delivery note and get a physical receipt.

According to The Sun, Click+Collect slots are also released at midnight, although as Tesco is working on adding thousands more slots during lockdown, you’ll likely be able to access new slots during the day.

How do I get a priority delivery slot at Tesco?

If you have a condition that makes you more vulnerable to Covid-19, you’ll need to avoid going out as much as possible. To find that there is a shortage ofTesco delivery slots can really add to the stress, so here’s how to get a priority delivery slot at Tesco if you’re a vulnerable person during Covid-19.

At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, the government issued a list of people who are ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ and therefore at the highest risk of experiencing severe illness if they catch Covid-19: the Shielded Patient list.

You should be on the list if you have any of the conditions that the government identifies as very high risk, including severe respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis, or a condition that makes you immunocompromised.

You’ll also be classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ if your GP or clinician has added you to the Shielded Patient list because they think that your condition puts you at high risk of serious illness. If you’re on the Shielded List, you’ll have received a letter from the NHS or your GP confirming this.

If you’re not on the list, but think you should be, get in touch with your GP straight away, and they’ll assess you. If you haven’t already, go to the Gov.uk website, and register yourself as extremely clinically vulnerable. You can also get someone to do this on your behalf.

If you’re already registered as a Tesco customer and you’re on the Shielded Patient list, Tesco should already have been in touch to offer you priority slot booking, as they have access to the government’s list. Just go to the Tesco website, and sign in to book your slot.

If you’re not registered as a Tesco customer but you are on the Shielded Patient list, you can create an account on the Tesco website, and Tesco will check if you’re on the government’s list. You should then have access to priority booking.

If you need any help setting up your account or more support on accessing priority slots as a vulnerable customer, you can call Tesco’s helpline for vulnerable customers: 0800 917 7359. You should also call this number if you’re not on the government’s Shielded Patient list, but you can’t shop in-store safely.

Tesco says that, because they are trying to prioritise slots for as many vulnerable customers as possible, slots for vulnerable customers will be within an 8-hour time frame. Make sure you give your correct mobile phone number to Tesco, as they’ll text you on the day of your delivery, to let you know which hour your shopping will arrive within the 8-hour window you choose.

How can I make sure I get a delivery slot as a vulnerable person?

To make sure you get a delivery slot in time, a good tip is to put a few items in your basket and book a slot, so that you secure it. You can always go back and edit your basket later to add your full shop.

Can I get a priority delivery slot if I’m not a vulnerable person?

If you have Tesco Delivery Saver, you will have access to a priority 4-week slot view. This means that you can see delivery slots available in the 4th week, ahead of everyone else, which gives you the best chance of securing a slot.

However, Tesco has temporarily paused new sign ups to Delivery Saver to support people who can’t leave their home due to being on the Shielded Patients register, so you may have to wait until the current lockdown has eased. If you can shop in-store at Tesco, it is better that you do so, to ensure that the most at-risk customers will have access to food.

How do I get Tesco home delivery?

To get a Tesco home delivery, you’ll have to register on the Tesco website. As slots are filling up extremely quickly at the moment, it’s a good idea to select just a few items so that you can book a delivery slot before it goes, and then edit your basket later to add all the items you need.

Here are four easy steps to register as a customer, and organise a Tesco home delivery.

How to register online

  • Go to Tesco.com and click ‘my account’. Then select ‘Register for an account’.
  • Choose an email address as a username, and a secure password. If you have a Google account and are using a Google Chrome browser, Chrome it will suggest a strong password and save it automatically for you.
  • Add the details that Tesco asks you for, such as your name, address and telephone number. If you already have a Tesco ClubCard, Tesco will ask you to put down your details. If you don’t, you’ll automatically receive one by registering online. Tesco ClubCards allow you to earn points that you can exchange for cash (150 ClubCard points is £1.50 in cash) or rewards such as days out.
  • Before you create your account, Tesco will give you the chance to opt out of its Marketing communications. If you don’t want to be contacted by Tesco about offers and promotions (by email, text, phone and post) make sure you opt out now, to save having to contact Tesco’s customer service later.
  • Click, ‘create account’, and you’re done!

How to book your delivery slot

  • When you’ve logged in, click ‘Browse Tesco’ and ‘groceries’. This will lead you to Tesco’s home-page, which has a large button saying ‘Book a slot’.
  • Click on ‘Book a slot’. You’ll then choose whether you want your shopping as a Home Delivery or Click+Collect. If Home Delivery slots are very full due to lockdown, you might have more luck with a Click+Collect slot, where you can order your food and pick it up, already selected and bagged, at a local store.
  • Once you’ve clicked on Home Delivery or Click+Collect, you can choose the date and time of your preferred slot.

How to add to basket

  • On Tesco’s main page you’ll find the Groceries section. Here, you can find products by hovering your mouse over the department name at the top of the page, for example, ‘Fresh Food’ or ‘Health & Beauty”. Alternatively, you can search the item you’re looking for by typing it into the search bar at the top of the page.
  • When you’ve found the product you are looking for, it will show up with a bar where you can type the number of the product you want, for example, if you want two tubs of butter, type ‘2’. Then, click on the Add button, and your product will be added to the basket.

How to check out

  • When you have finished shopping, click on your basket (in the top right hand side of the page).
  • Make sure your delivery details are correct, and select the delivery time you want. You can put down any delivery instructions you have, and then select the ‘checkout’ button.
  • After you’ve selected the ‘checkout’ button, you can review everything you’ve selected and check all the quantities are correct. Sometimes, Tesco might not have the exact item you’ve ordered, so you’ll have the chance to suggest suitable alternatives by clicking on ‘substitutions’.
  • Once you’re satisfied with the contents of your basket, you can select the ‘proceed to payment’ button. Put in your payment details, and select ‘confirm your order. You’re done!

How much do I have to spend for a Tesco free delivery?

There’s no such thing as a free delivery from Tesco if you spend above a certain amount. Tesco has axed its varying delivery fees, which used to range from £2-£7, and now has a £4.50 flat rate per delivery, and £1.50 for Tesco Click and Collect (where you have your order delivered to a certain store, and pick it up at your convenience). Sometimes, your delivery fees will be £5.50, if you live at an address which is only supplied by a ‘fulfilment centre’ (a warehouse which costs slightly more to operate than an ordinary Tesco store).

You can get free deliveries with Tesco Deliver Saver or ClubCard plus (see our next section, “How can I save money on a Tesco delivery?”). However, you do have to pay £7.99 for the benefits of both schemes, so definitely consider whether it is financially worth it, and include these fees in any food budgets you create for yourself and your family. Check out the food and delivery prices at competing supermarkets, for example, ASDA and Aldi, to see where you can save the most money.

How can I save money on a Tesco delivery?

If you regularly get your shopping delivered, Tesco’s Delivery Saver is a good way to save money on delivery fees. When you have Tesco Delivery Saver, any Tesco order you make over £40 will come with free delivery, saving you the £4.50 you’d usually have to pay per delivery.

If you get deliveries twice a week, you could save £468 a year. With Tesco click and collect, you can get free deliveries for orders of £25 and over. Tesco has temporarily paused its Delivery Saver scheme due to the current lockdown and need for priority slots for the most vulnerable, but check back every few weeks to see when it’s back.

Tesco delivery saver costs £7.99 per month, or £47 for a six month period. However, make sure you get enough deliveries a week or month to make it worth it. If you’re always nipping down to Tesco for a couple of bits that aren’t part of your planned delivery, then maybe deliveries aren’t the right thing for you.

On the other hand if you do commit to only getting your shopping delivered, this can help you budget, as you can plan your meals, get all your ingredients delivered, and not spend anything on food outside of this.

Seeing as it is usually the ‘extras’: the bars of chocolate, ready meals or other impulse buys that add up, this could be a great way to save money and stick to your food budget.

Exchanging 50p in Tesco ClubCard vouchers gives you £1.50 in vouchers to use in a Delivery Saver plan. If you’re on Tesco’s ClubCard scheme, you get one ClubCard point per £1 you spend, so you’ll need to make sure that you actually spend enough on Tesco shops in the first place to make it worth it to exchange ClubCards for Delivery Saver plan vouchers. There’s no point spending more just for the sake of the vouchers, as you won’t be making any savings.

Tesco do offer a Deliver Saver Guarantee, which is were they work out what you saved on grocery delivery fees by using the Delivery Saver Plan. If it’s the case that you would have spent less money without it, they’ll refund you the difference via a grocery eCoupon, which you can use on your Tesco shops.

If you’re a ClubCard Plus member at Tesco, you now get free deliveries included in your benefits.

If you don’t want to commit to a delivery plan, it’s a good idea to try Tesco’s ‘flexi saver’ slots. These charge £3 for delivery, and you’ll have your shopping delivered at any time within a four hour window. It’s less convenient, but seeing as so many of us are at home due to lockdown, it may not make much difference when your shopping is delivered!

Now that we’ve gone through all the details of the best time to shop at Tesco, from the quietest shopping hours during the week and weekend, to the best time to get a Tesco delivery slot, we hope you’ve found it a useful guide. We’re wishing you a stress-free shop, a lack of queues and many available delivery slots!