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When is the next bank holiday in 2024?

Everyone loves a bank holiday and the extra days off work that come with them. But do you know which 19th-century politician we have to thank for their inception?

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Full list of bank holidays in 2024

The next bank holiday for people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is the Early May Bank Holiday on Monday, 6th May.

2024 bank holiday dates

  • Monday, 6th May - Early May bank holiday (UK)
  • Monday, 27th May - Spring bank holiday (UK)
  • Friday, 12th July - Battle of the Boyne / Orangemen's Day (Northern Ireland)
  • Monday, 5th August - Summer bank holiday (Scotland)
  • Monday, 26th August - Summer bank holiday (England, Wales & Northern Ireland)
  • Monday, 2nd December (substitute day) - St Andrew's Day (Scotland)
  • Wednesday, 25th December - Christmas Day (UK)
  • Thursday, 26th December - Boxing Day (UK)

How many bank holidays are there in 2024?

In 2024, England and Wales will have eight bank holidays, while in Scotland there will be nine bank holidays while the Northern Irish get the most days off with 10 bank holidays in 2024.

Bank holiday ahead

History of bank holidays: The man who brought us bank holidays

The right honourable Lord Avebury was an eccentric character, to say the least. Known to his friends as John Lubbock, he kept wasps as pets and once tried to teach his poodle, Van, how to read. He was a certified jack-of-all-trades, dabbling in a variety of careers including banker, politician, author, philanthropist, archaeologist, anthropologist, entomologist, and geologist.

However, after the canine literature lessons failed, there is no doubt about his greatest achievement. It’s one that cheerfully affects us at least six days of the year, even if bank holidays, or Lubbock’s Day as they were formerly known, were a sort-of compromise to the 33 days of holiday enjoyed by the Bank of England, the Exchequer and other public offices, up until 1834.

These holidays were more in keeping with the (Catholic) European tradition of celebrating Saints’ Days, observing religious festivals, but also Royal events and one-off acknowledgments, such as ‘London Burnt’ to commemorate the Great Fire of London. In 1845 this was whittled down to a paltry four: Good Friday, May Day, 1st November, and Christmas Day.

The reason for this drastic reduction, which took place at the end of the industrial revolution, was to exert some sort of control over the voluminous days being taken off by public offices and to curb the random holidays being taken locally by factories. During all this, outside of Sundays, banks were virtually unable to close at all, to do so would have put them at the risk of financial ruin.

Enter Lubbock who, in 1871, drafted the Bank Holiday Bill. This meant that any business due on a new-fangled bank holiday was suspended until the following day, and the resulting delay in business would not incur any penalties. Subsequently, a list of officially recognised bank holidays was passed into law.

Lubbock permitted an additional four bank holidays in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland: Easter Monday, the first Monday in August, Boxing Day, and Whit Monday in June. Scotland, however, had an additional five: New Year's Day, Good Friday, the first Monday in May, the first Monday in August, and Christmas Day.

But first, what’s all this bank holiday stuff? Why isn’t it just a public holiday? Initially, it was just banks and financial buildings that would close, but as time went on, this trickled down to us mere mortals, so businesses, shops, schools and the like would shut as well.

By the time Lubbock’s Bill was reformed 100 years later in 1971, everyone, not just bankers, benefitted from the original bank holiday.

Whit Monday, the day after Whit Sunday (or Pentecost, acknowledging the visitation of the Holy Spirit to the praying disciples) occurs exactly seven weeks after Easter. This was formally replaced by the Spring Bank Holiday in May 1971. So, for once, you’ve not been short-changed by the bankers.

Even better, the date of the August Bank Holiday, which, in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, used to be on the first Monday in August, was moved to the end of the month, so it didn’t clash with the annual two weeks shut down that many companies enjoyed.

Let’s pause quickly, and take a look at where we’re at with a full list of the typical annual bank holidays in the UK:

  • New Year's Day (UK)
  • 2nd January (Scotland)
  • St Patrick's Day (Northern Ireland)
  • Good Friday (UK)
  • Easter Monday (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
  • Early May Bank Holiday (UK)
  • Spring Bank Holiday (UK)
  • Battle of the Boyne (Northern Ireland)
  • First Monday in August (Scotland)
  • Last Monday in August (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
  • St. Andrew's Day (Scotland)
  • Christmas Day (UK)
  • Boxing Day (UK)

While the above list has been pretty much the standard for the past forty-plus years, there have been a few additions, such as the Millennium Bank Holiday on 31st December 1999, and the Golden Jubilee Bank Holiday on Monday 3 June 2002. Monday, 3rd June 2022 was chosen again as a bank holiday in recognition of Queen Elizabeth’s Palatium Jubilee celebrations, but none of this goes to explain why Sir John Lubbock initiated the 1871 Bank Holiday Bill in the first place. Was it pure altruism, or was it to give Sir John some additional time off?

He was a very busy man after all and, as it turns out a huge fan of cricket. Therefore, the rumours that bank holiday dates fell on the days when village matches were played in his home county of Kent may not be so absurd after all.

I think we can forgive him that, though. Cheers John.

2025 bank holiday dates

  • Wednesday, 1st January - New Year's Day (UK)
  • Thursday, 2nd January - 2nd January (Scotland)
  • Monday, 17th March - St Patrick's Day (Northern Ireland)
  • Friday, 18th April - Good Friday (UK)
  • Monday, 21st April - Easter Monday (England, Wales & Northern Ireland)
  • Monday, 5th May - Early May bank holiday (UK)
  • Monday, 26th May - Spring bank holiday (UK)
  • Monday, 14th July - Battle of the Boyne (Northern Ireland)
  • Monday 4th August - Summer bank holiday (Scotland)
  • Monday, 25th August - Summer bank holiday (England, Wales & Northern Ireland)
  • Monday, 1st December - St Andrew's Day (Scotland)
  • Thursday, 25th December - Christmas Day (UK)
  • Friday, 26th December - Boxing Day (UK)

5 bank holiday facts

We all love a bank holiday and a chance to relax for a little longer away from work. Here are five facts you may not have known about bank holidays in the UK.

1. The modern bank holiday was created by Sir John Lubbock

Sir John Lubbock was a Liberal MP, renowned banker and polymath who was good friends with Charles Darwin. He also created the first bank holiday in 1871 with the introduction of the Bank Holiday Bill. They were informally known as ‘St Lubbock Days’ and included Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Boxing Day and the first Monday in August.

2. Bank holidays are regulated by the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971

The Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 regulates bank holidays in the United Kingdom. In addition to the original bank holidays, they also introduced New Year’s Day in 1974 and May Day in 1978.

This act also gives the monarch official power to add additional bank holidays as per their celebrations or commemorations. Additional days can be made bank holidays by Royal Proclamation and this has happened several times, usually around Jubilee celebrations.

3. We used to enjoy 33 public holidays a year

Before 1834, people used to enjoy significantly more public and bank holidays. Saint’s Days and many religious festivals were among the 33 days that people were not expected to work. Nowadays, it’s much less, with just 8 in England and Wales and 9 in Scotland.

4. Other countries enjoy many more public holidays

Mexico is the only country in the world with fewer bank and public holidays than England. Many countries hold significantly more religious holidays and top of the list is India where there are currently 25 separate public holidays.

5. The ‘Bank Holiday Hack’ can net you 49 days off work

Each year you can use your annual leave strategically to get extra days off work without having to book them formally. This is known as the Bank Holiday Hack, and in 2024 you could bag 49 days off work by only using 21 days of annual leave. It works by booking your leave around bank holidays and making the most of the weekends too.

For example, if you book Monday, 25th March to Thursday, 28th March off, you’ll get 10 days off in a row due to the bank holidays and weekends. There are similar ways to get that extra time off around each bank holiday throughout the year, it just takes a little planning.