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British Bank Holidays
 

Bank holiday dates

What are Bank Holidays?

The 1971 Act - four holidays | Bank Holidays today

Are shops open on bank holidays?

Do workers automatically get a day off on Bank Holidays?

What happens when bank holidays fall on a weekend

 

What are Bank Holidays?

British bank holidays are public holidays and have been recognised since 1871.

Why are they called Bank holidays?

The name Bank Holiday comes from the time when banks were shut and so no trading could take place.

Bank holidays Today

There is currently a total of 8 permanent bank and public holidays in England, Wales and Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland. These include Christmas Day and Good Friday, which in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are common law' holidays (they are not specified by law as bank holidays but have become customary holidays because of common observance).

Follow this link to see a list of bank holidays today in each country in the UK

The 1871 Act - four holidays

The 1871 Act designated four holidays in England, Wales and Ireland (then wholly part of the UK), and five in Scotland.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

  • Easter Monday
  • Whit Monday (which could fall anywhere between 11 May and 14 June)
  • The first Monday in August (later changed to the last Monday)
  • Boxing Day (26th December)

Scotland

  • New Year's Day
  • Good Friday
  • The first Monday in May
  • The first Monday in August
  • Christmas Day

1903

St Patrick's Day (17 March) became a bank holiday for Ireland only.

1971
The Whitsun bank holiday (Whit Monday) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (which could fall anywhere between 11 May and 14 June) was formally replaced by a fixed spring holiday on the last Monday in May.

The last Monday in August was formally made a bank holiday in place of the first Monday in August in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

1973
2 January became an additional bank holiday in Scotland

1974
New Year's Day became an additional bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Boxing Day became an additional bank holiday in Scotland.

1978
The first Monday in May in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the last Monday in May in Scotland, became additional bank holidays.

Are shops open on bank holidays?

Even though banks are still closed on these days many shops today now remain open. Shops, museums and other public attractions, such as historic houses and sports centres, may close on certain public holidays, particularly Christmas Day.

Majority of shops and attractions are closed on Christmas Day

Traditionally many businesses close on Bank Holidays to enable the workers to have a holiday. This time is often spent with the family on mini breaks and outings. Because of this, anyone who works on Bank Holidays usually gets paid extra - "time-and-a-half" or even "double time," negotiated for them by the Trades Unions.

See shops opening times on a bank holiday

Do workers automatically get a day off on Bank Holidays?

Workers do not have a statutory right to paid leave on bank and public holidays. If paid leave is given on a bank or public holiday, this may count towards the statutory requirement for 24 days holiday.

What happens when bank holidays fall on a weekend?

There are holidays in lieu of those public holidays which fall at weekends.

Special Days and Festivals in England (with dates). Find out how the British celebrate traditional and religious holidays.


Bank Holidays in England and Wales

Follow this link for Bank holiday dates 2013 - 2015

In England and Wales there are six bank holidays and two common law holidays.

Date England & Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
New Year's Day
1 January
Yes
Yes
Yes
2 January
Yes
St. Patrick's Day
17 March
Yes
Good Friday
The Friday before Easter Sunday
Yes
Yes
Yes
Easter Monday
The day after Easter Sunday
Yes
Yes
May Day or Early May Bank Holiday
First Monday in May
Yes
Yes
Yes
Spring Bank Holiday
Last Monday in May
Yes
Yes
Yes
Battle of the Boyne - Orangemen's Day
12 July
Yes
Summer Bank Holiday
First Monday in August
Yes
Summer Bank Holiday
Last Monday in August
Yes
Yes
St Andrew's Day
30 November
Yes
Christmas Day
25 December
Yes
Yes
Yes
Boxing Day, St. Stephen's Day
26 December
Yes
Yes
Yes

 

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites projectbritain.com and primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.