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Bank holidays and British Summer Time

Bank holidays are holidays when banks and many other businesses are closed for the day. Public holidays are holidays which have been observed through custom and practice. Find out about the bank and public holiday dates and when the clocks go forward and back for British Summer Time.

Bank holiday and public holidays in England and Wales

There are different bank and public holidays in different parts of the UK. 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.

The expected bank and public holidays for England and Wales are listed in the table below.

Special bank holidays

There are laws that allow the dates of bank holidays to be changed, or other holidays to be declared, for example to celebrate special occasions.

It has been announced that there will be a special bank holiday in 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The 2012 late May bank holiday will be moved to Monday 4 June 2012 and an additional Jubilee bank holiday will be on Tuesday 5 June 2012. 

29 April 2011 was also a special bank holiday to celebrate the royal wedding.

England and Wales  2010    2011    2012
New Year's Day 1 January  3 January* 2 January*
Good Friday 2 April  22 April 6 April
Easter Monday 5 April  25 April 9 April
Royal wedding  -  29 April  -
Early May Bank Holiday 3 May  2 May 7 May
Spring Bank Holiday 31 May  30 May 4 June*
Queen's Diamond Jubilee  -  - 5 June
Summer Bank Holiday 30 August  29 August 27 August
Christmas Day 27 December*  26 December* 25 December
Boxing Day 28 December*  27 December* 26 December

* substitute day

When the usual date of a bank or public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, a 'substitute day' is given, normally the following Monday. For example in 2009, Boxing Day was on Saturday, 26 December, so there was a substitute bank holiday on Monday, 28 December.

Public and bank holidays in Scotland

There are seven permanent bank holidays across the whole of Scotland. Christmas Day and Good Friday are public holidays. There are also other public or local holidays which can be determined by local authorities, based on local tradition.  Since 2007, St Andrews Day has also been a permanent bank holiday.

There was an additional bank holiday on 29 April 2011 for the royal wedding.

Businesses and schools are not necessarily closed on Scottish bank holidays, and the Scottish banks follow the English and Welsh bank holidays for business reasons.

Scotland 2010  2011 2012
New Year's Day 1 January  3 January* 2 January*
2nd January 4 January*  4 January* 3 January
Good Friday 2 April  22 April 6 April
Royal wedding  -  29 April  -
Early May Bank Holiday 3 May  2 May 7 May
Spring Bank Holiday 31 May  30 May 4 June*
Queen's Diamond Jubilee  -  - 5 June
Summer Bank Holiday 2 August  1 August 6 August
St Andrew's Day 30 November  30 November 30 November
Christmas Day 27 December*  26 December* 25 December
Boxing Day 28 December*  27 December* 26 December
* substitute day

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, there are eight permanent bank holidays - the same six as in England and Wales, plus St Patrick's Day and the Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Christmas Day and Good Friday are public holidays.

Time off for employees

You don't have an automatic right to paid leave on bank and public holidays, though many people receive the day off work. Any right to time off or extra pay for working on a bank holiday depends on the terms of your contract of employment.

For more information about your right to paid leave, see 'Holiday entitlements'.

British Summer Time

British Summer Time (BST) starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October, at 1.00 am Greenwich Mean Time (GMT):

  • in spring the clocks go forward, losing an hour - at 1.00 am GMT the UK moves to 2.00 am BST
  • in autumn the clocks go back, giving an extra hour - at 2.00 am BST the UK moves to 1.00 am GMT

Summer time periods begin and end on the following dates:

  2010  2011  2012
Clocks go forward 28 March 27 March 25 March
Clocks go back 31 October 30 October 28 October

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