UK Bank Holidays

May Day bank holiday celebrations in UK

Welcome to Holidays in the UK’s definitive guide to UK bank holidays including the dates of official bank holidays in the UK in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Bank holidays are some of the busiest times for travel in the UK and some of the best festivals and celebrations also revolve around bank holidays so if you’re planning a holiday in the UK its worth checking the bank holiday dates and adjusting your travel arrangements accordingly.

UK Bank Holidays in 2012

The table below shows the dates of bank holidays in the UK during 2012. Click the name of the bank holiday for more information.

Bank Holiday Date
New Year’s Day Holiday 2nd January 2012 (Monday)
St Patrick’s Day
(Northern Ireland Only)
19th March 2012 (Monday)
Good Friday 6th April 2012 (Friday)
Easter Monday 9th April 2012 (Monday)
May Day Bank Holiday 7th May 2012 (Monday)
Spring Bank Holiday 4th June 2012 (Monday)
Diamond Jubilee Holiday 5th June 2012 (Tuesday)
The Twelfth
(Northern Ireland Only)
12th July 2012 (Thursday)
Summer Bank Holiday
(Scotland only)
6th August 2012 (Monday)
Summer Bank Holiday
(England, Wales, NI only)
27th August 2012 (Monday)
St Andrew’s Day
(Scotland only)
30th November 2012 (Friday)
Christmas Day 25th December 2012 (Tuesday)
Boxing Day 26th December 2012 (Wednesday)

UK Bank Holidays in 2013

The table below shows UK bank holiday dates in 2013. Click the name of the bank holiday for more information.

Bank Holiday Date
New Year’s Day Holiday 1st January 2013 (Tuesday)
St Patrick’s Day
(Northern Ireland Only)
18th March 2013 (Monday)
Good Friday 29th March 2013 (Friday)
Easter Monday 1st April 2013 (Monday)
May Day Bank Holiday 6th May 2013 (Monday)
Spring Bank Holiday 27th May 2013 (Monday)
The Twelfth
(Northern Ireland Only)
12th July 2013 (Friday)
Summer Bank Holiday
(Scotland only)
5th August 2013 (Monday)
Summer Bank Holiday
(England, Wales, NI only)
26th August 2013 (Monday)
St Andrew’s Day
(Scotland only)
2nd December 2013 (Monday)
Christmas Day 25th December 2013 (Wednesday)
Boxing Day 26th December 2013 (Thursday)

UK Bank Holidays in 2014

The table below shows 2014 UK bank holiday dates. Click the name of the bank holiday below for more information.

Bank Holiday Date
New Year’s Day Holiday 1st January 2014 (Wednesday)
St Patrick’s Day
(Northern Ireland Only)
17th March 2014 (Monday)
Good Friday 18th April 2014 (Friday)
Easter Monday 21st April 2014 (Monday)
May Day Bank Holiday 5th May 2014 (Monday)
Spring Bank Holiday 26th May 2014 (Monday)
The Twelfth
(Northern Ireland Only)
14th July 2014 (Monday)
Summer Bank Holiday
(Scotland only)
4th August 2014 (Monday)
Summer Bank Holiday
(England, Wales, NI only)
25th August 2014 (Monday)
St Andrew’s Day
(Scotland only)
2nd December 2014 (Tuesday)
Christmas Day 25th December 2014 (Thursday)
Boxing Day 26th December 2014 (Friday)

The Great British Bank Holiday: A Definitive Guide

Throughout the year the British public enjoys a number of ‘bank’ holidays in the UK. Nowadays the term ‘bank holiday’ is also freely used to describe the public holidays taken when religious festivals such as Christmas and Easter are observed. However, the original bank holidays (four in England and Wales and five in Scotland) were established under an Act of Law: the Bank Holidays Act 1871. The days chosen as bank holidays, on which banks would close and all trade would cease, were linked to existing and ancient traditions. May Day, for example, has its roots in pagan ritual and celebrates spring, fertility and the sowing of crops.

The Bank Holidays Act 1871 was repealed exactly one hundred years after its original passing, to be replaced by the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 which retained the original bank holidays but in one or two instances redefined their scheduling in the calendar: the bank holiday formerly known as Whitsun, for example, became the Late Spring Bank Holiday and adopted a fixed date of the last Monday in May.

Occasionally, the British Government may declare additional bank holidays in a year when there is a public celebration or event of sufficient to warrant this. For example, 2012 commemorates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and to mark the occasion the Late Spring Bank Holiday has been moved to Monday 4th June 2012 and an additional Jubilee Bank Holiday has been granted on Tuesday 5th June 2012.

The prospect of an extended weekend prompts many people to use bank holidays as an opportunity to take a break away in the UK and many UK visitor attractions such as stately homes, public gardens and theme parks, as well as many British towns and cities, host special bank holiday events.

Current UK bank holidays and public holidays:

The definitive annual list of UK bank holidays and public holidays is as follows:

New Year’s Day Bank Holiday

January 1st of each year is an official public holiday in the UK and celebrates the beginning of a new year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Financial and commercial institutions largely remain closed and public transport operates on a reduced timetable, if at all. Should January 1st fall upon a Saturday or Sunday, the nearest following Monday is observed as the public holiday.
In celebration of the traditional Scottish Hogmanay festival, Scotland is granted an additional public holiday following New Year’s Day, thus in Scotland only January 1st and 2nd are public holidays and once again; adjustments are made if these dates fall upon a weekend.

2013: Tuesday January 1st (+ Wednesday January 2nd (Scotland only))

St Patrick’s Day (Northern Ireland only) Bank Holiday

Celebrating Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Day falls upon March 17th each year or upon the nearest Monday if the 17th is a Saturday or Sunday. Cities throughout Ireland hold St Patrick’s Day festivals and parades, and it is traditional to wear green. The emblematic Shamrock, a green three-leafed plant, has strong associations with St Patrick who is said to have used it explain the Holy Trinity when teaching Christianity.

2013: Sunday 17th March/Monday 18th March (Northern Ireland)

Good Friday Bank Holiday

Good Friday is a religious holiday which observes the day of the crucifixion of Christ. Part of the festival of Easter, Good Friday falls two days before Easter Sunday, which itself is designated as the first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the Spring Equinox on March 21st. As such Easter is a ‘moveable feast’ and therefore the date upon which Good Friday falls will change each year.

2012: Friday 6th April      2013: Friday 29th March

Easter Monday Bank Holiday

The Monday immediately following Easter Sunday, a religious holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ, is a public holiday designated as Easter Monday. In the UK the four-day Easter weekend is a popular time for short breaks and many UK visitor attractions and resorts take advantage of the generally fair weather. Easter is a great time to visit the UK’s public gardens or walk in the countryside as spring flowers begin to bloom, whilst many stately home and country parks offer fun activities for children, such as organised Easter egg hunts.

2012: Monday 9th April      2013: Monday 1st April

May Day Bank Holiday

This bank holiday traditionally falls on the first Monday in May. May Day unofficially marks the start of the British summer and has been celebrated for more than two thousand years. Many traditions are associated with May Day, such as dancing around a May Pole to celebrate the end of winter and herald a new season of fertility for crops. May Day is an excellent time for exploring Britain’s villages where all kinds of festivities and celebrations may be observed.

2012: Monday 7th May      2013: Monday 6th May

Spring Bank Holiday

Also known as the ‘Late May Bank Holiday’ the Spring Bank Holiday falls on the last Monday of May. Many UK towns and villages hold fetes and festivals to celebrate the Spring Bank Holiday, perhaps the most famous of these being the annual cheese-rolling competition at Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire. Exceptionally, in 2012, the Spring Bank Holiday has been moved to the first Monday in June to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

2012: Monday 4th June      2013: Monday 27th May

The Twelfth (Northern Ireland) Bank Holiday

Falling on July 12th each year the Twelfth is an important day for the Protestant Orders of Northern Ireland and commemorates the victory of the Protestant king William of Orange over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of Boyne, fought in 1690. This annual public holiday is marked by parades and festivals throughout Northern Ireland and whilst the day has many religious and political connotations, attempts are being made to enhance its appeal as a cultural celebration.

2012: Thursday 12th July      2013: Friday 12th July

Summer Bank Holiday (Scotland only)

Scotland’s Summer Bank Holiday falls on the first Monday in August each year.

2012: Monday 6th August      2013: Monday 5th August

Summer Bank Holiday (England, Wales and Northern Ireland only)

Excepting Scotland, the summer bank Holiday falls on the last Monday of August each year and this is a particularly busy holiday weekend for tourists wishing to visit Britain’s holiday resorts and theme parks. A defining event of the Summer Bank Holiday is the Notting Hill Carnival which takes place in Notting Hill, London and is a colourful Caribbean-styled street festival featuring flamboyant costumes, dancing and steel-band music.

2012: Monday 27th August            2013: Monday 26th August

St Andrew’s Day (Scotland only) Bank Holiday

Scotland celebrates its patron saint on November 30th each year and in 2003 this became an official bank holiday in Scotland. As with other bank holidays, if St Andrew’s Day falls on a weekend, the holiday is observed on the next following Monday. Celebrations can be found throughout Scotland including festivals, bagpipe parades and country dances

2012: Friday 30th November            2013: Monday 2nd December

Christmas Day Bank Holiday

2012: Tuesday 25th December      2013: Wednesday 25th December

Boxing Day Bank Holiday

Falling upon December 26th, Boxing Day takes its name from the custom of boxed gifts and can refer to the alms boxes which appeared in churches at Christmas time allowing churchgoers to donate money to the poor, or from the wealthy classes giving boxed gifts to their servants. Traditionally in the UK Boxing Day is associated with sporting events and particularly hunting.

2012: Wednesday 26th December      2013: Thursday 26th December