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Public Holidays /Bank Holidays









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UK Bank Holiday Dates

Bank holidays are public holidays in the United Kingdom, when banks and many other businesses are closed for the day. The expected dates of bank and public holidays in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are shown below:

England and Wales 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
New Year's Day 3 January 2 January 1 January 1 January 1 January
Good Friday 22 April 6 April 29 March 18 April 3 April
Easter Monday 25 April 9 April 1 April 21 April 6 April
Royal wedding 29 April - - - -
Early May Bank Holiday 2 May 7 May 6 May 5 May 4 May
Spring Bank Holiday 30 May 4 June* 27 May 26 May 25 May
Queen's Diamond Jubilee - 5 June - - -
Summer Bank Holiday 29 August 27 August 26 August 25 August 31 August
Christmas Day 26 December 25 December 25 December 25 December 25 December
Boxing Day 27 December 26 December 26 December 26 December 28 December

Substitute Bank Holiday in lieu of 26th Dec because 26th falls at the weekend
Substitute Bank Holiday in lieu of 25th Dec because 25th falls at the weekend
Substitute Bank Holiday in lieu of 26th Dec because 26th falls at the weekend
Substitute Bank Holiday in lieu of 1st Jan
* substitute day

There are currently six permanent bank holidays in England and Wales and an additional one in 2011 and 2012. Christmas Day and Good Friday are public holidays.

Scotland 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
New Year's Day 3 January 2 January 1 January 1 January 1 January
2nd January 4 January 3 January 2 January 2 January 2 January
Good Friday 22 April 6 April 29 March 18 April 3 April
Royal wedding 29 April - - - -
Early May Bank Holiday 2 May 7 May 6 May 5 May 4 May
Spring Bank Holiday 30 May 4 June* 27 May 26 May 25 May
Queen's Diamond Jubilee - 5 June - - -
Summer Bank Holiday 1 August 6 August 5 August 4 August 3 August
St Andrew's Day 30 November 30 November 2 December* 1 December* 30 November
Christmas Day 26 December 25 December 25 December 25 December 25 December
Boxing Day 27 December 26 December 26 December 26 December 28 December

There are seven permanent bank holidays across the whole of Scotland. Christmas Day and Good Friday are public holidays. Since 2007, St Andrews Day has also been a permanent bank holiday.

Northern Ireland 2012 2013
New Year's Day 2 January 1 January
St Patrick's Day 19 March* 18 March*
Good Friday 6 April 29 March
Easter Monday 9 April 1 April
Early May Bank Holiday 7 May 6 May
Spring Bank Holiday 4 June 27 May
Queen's Diamond Jubilee 5 June
Battle of the Boyne
(Orangemen's Day)
12 July 12 July
Summer Bank Holiday 27 August 26 August
Christmas Day 25 December 25 December
Boxing Day 26 December 26 December

* substitute day

What are public holidays?

Generally, public holidays include bank holidays, holidays by Royal Proclamation and 'common law holidays'. Banks are not allowed to operate on bank holidays. When public holidays in the Christmas and New Year period fall on Saturdays and Sundays, alternative week days are declared public holidays.


What are 'bank' holidays?

British bank holidays are Public Holidays and have been recognized since 1871. The name Bank Holiday comes from the time when banks were shut and so no trading could take place.

The 1871 Act designated four holidays in England, Wales and Ireland (then wholly part of the UK), and five in Scotland. (For an historical look at Bank Holidays, please visit our Project Britain Blog.)

There are 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).


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.

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.

Bank Holidays in England and Wales

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

Bank Holidays:

  • New Year's Day,
  • Easter Monday
  • May Day (not necessarily 1 May),
  • Spring Holiday at the end of May
  • Late Summer Holiday at the end of August, and
  • Boxing Day (26 December or the Monday nearest)

*Common Law Holidays (Public holidays)

* In England, Wales & Ireland, both Christmas Day and Good Friday were traditional 'days of rest' and Christian worship .. as were Sundays, and did not need to be included in the 1871 Act .. unlike for Scotland

Bank Holidays in Scotland

Scotland has nine public holidays:

  • New Year's Day (or in lieu of 1 Jan, if a Saturday or Sunday)
  • January 2 (or in lieu of 2 Jan, if a Saturday or Sunday)
  • Good Friday
  • Early May Bank Holiday - May Day (not necessarily 1 May),
  • Spring Holiday at the end of May
  • Late Summer Holiday at the beginning of August
  • St Andrew's Day* (or in lieu of 30 Nov, if a Saturday or Sunday)
  • Boxing Day (or in lieu of 26 Dec, if a Sunday)

*In January 2007, the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act was given royal assent, making 30 November (or the nearest Monday if a weekend) a bank holiday in Scotland.

Bank Holidays in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has seven bank holidays, one public holiday and two common law holidays:

  • New Year's Day
  • St Patrick's Day (17 March),
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Early May Bank Holiday May Day (not necessarily 1 May),
  • Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May
  • Late Summer Holiday at the end of August

There are also two common law holidays on

  • Good Friday
  • Christmas Day

A public holiday on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne (12 July).

In 1903, the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act added 17 March, Saint Patrick's Day, as a bank holiday for Ireland only.


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.

 

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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.