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What is a Bank Holiday?

This blog post was updated on September 5, 2018.

What is a Bank Holiday?
A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom. Essentially, it’s a day when the banks are closed.

And when the banks are closed, trade slows and everything else might as well shut too.

Bank holidays tend to fall on Mondays, giving people an extended weekend. They often coincide with a festival occasion with plenty of special events (often free to the public) happening across the country to give folks something fun to do with their time off.

In England this year there are a total of ten bank holidays (the number may vary a bit in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland).

And the great thing is only two of them – January 1st and 2nd (New Year’s Day and the first Monday of the year) have passed so far.

That means there’s a whole lot more fun to come!
Here’s a list of England’s remaining eight bank holidays:

Friday April 6th: Good Friday

Monday April 9th: Easter Monday

Monday June 4th: Spring Bank Holiday

Tuesday June 5th: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Monday August 27th: Summer Bank Holiday

Tuesday December 25th: Christmas

Wednesday December 26th: Boxing Day

The majority of these national days off are stacked up in the summer months to help locals and visitors alike take advantage of an especially festive 2012 with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The extra long weekend in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s 60 year reign looks set to be a particularly epic fest! A thousand strong flotilla along the Thames, BBC hosted concert with a “who’s who” line up of acts, and more throughout London and the rest of Great Britain should ensure a great start to the summer.

It’s worth noting a few things if visiting the UK during a bank holiday. There’s a great chance you’ll get to experience the best of British culture and probably find an array of options to enjoy live music, art, markets’, festivals and plenty of family friendly events. In fact, you might leave thinking all they ever do in the UK is party and no one ever has to work! Unfortunately, that’s not the case but when the Brits decide to throw a party, they go all out!

It’s also important to keep in mind that during a bank holiday there’s the possibility that many shops, services (and obviously banks) will be closed. Checking with specific venues you plan to visit or enquiring about your plans at your hotel or accommodation is definitely a smart idea and may spare you from potential transport hassles and disappointment.

Image credti: Chris Osburn (author)

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