Since coming out of lockdown, the government has announced that dining out at restaurants and pubs is allowed in certain parts of England, albeit with some restrictions in place. For those of us living in Tier 2 areas, this means that we can still enjoy our 2020 Christmas festivities, meet friends and family and support local businesses.

After the strange year we’ve had, it’s a great opportunity to give yourself a break and get into the festive spirit, and to provide support to the restaurants and pubs who’ve struggled this year due to lockdowns. The lead up to Christmas is a crucial time of year for these businesses, and it’s important that we show them our support so that they’re able to continue operating.

Here’s our guide for what you can and can’t do, and best practices to make sure your festive celebrations go as smoothly as possible.

When can I eat out at a restaurant or pub?

If you live in London or any other area classed as Tier 2, you can go out for meals at restaurants and pubs, provided you follow a few key rules (detailed below).

You can stay out until 11pm, although last orders need to be made before 10pm (so just go for that dessert instead of waiting until after the mains!). 

Some pubs are still open, but only those which serve food – as you’re now only allowed to have alcohol alongside a substantial meal. Take this as an opportunity to indulge in a delicious Christmas meal alongside your glass (or two…) of mulled wine.

You can sit either indoors or outdoors, although if you’re planning a festive get-together with people from outside your household/support bubble then you’ll need to go somewhere with outdoor seating (and heaters). 

Can I go for a Christmas meal or party with friends and family?

Yes (thank goodness!), although it will need to be a venue that has outdoor seating. If you’re planning on going for a meal with a partner or your support bubble, you can still sit indoors, but if you’re meeting anyone else you should book a table outside.

For Londoners in particular, there are plenty of great lists of restaurants that do outdoor/al fresco dining – and some of them even let you know which places have heaters! Wherever you are though, there are plenty of online resources with more info about which spots have the best outdoor seating options.

You still need to follow the rule of 6, although if you book a sitter on Bubble you can take a night off with your friends while the sitter looks after your kids. Want to go out spontaneously or come back a bit early? That’s fine! You can book a trusted local sitter in minutes via our app – see how.

Tips for dining out if you’re in Tier 2

  • Book a table before you go – it’s always important at this time of year but particularly if you’re going somewhere with people outside of your household, so that you can find somewhere with the appropriate seating.
  • Get a sitter – make the most of your evening out by booking some flexible childcare. Bubble connects you with babysitters on-demand, and provides in-app payments so you don’t have to fumble around with cash at the end of the night! 
  • Don’t leave it too late – get your final orders in before 10pm so that you don’t miss out on dessert.
  • Make sure you keep up your social distancing – as lovely as it is to meet friends and don your party hats, the hugs will need to be postponed until after the New Year.


Download the free Bubble app for iOS or Android and get some childcare sorted for your festive meal out.