England has only 8 official public holidays a year, although don’t fear for the locals as they are entitled to at least another 20 days holiday on top of that as a statutory minimum of 28 is in place.
The main holidays are the traditional Christian holidays: Easter, Christmas (also called Xmas sometimes) and the Gregorian calendar New Year (1st January), in addition to these, there are a few more Bank Holidays and Public Holidays. Traditionally all Banks and business were closed during Bank Holidays, although these days, more and more of the larger shops tend to be open during these holidays, although usually with shorter hours. Public holidays are usually observed through custom and practice.
Easter and Christmas are considered family holidays and as such, many businesses, shops and tourist attractions may be closed, and occasionally will be closed for a few days before and or after the holiday, especially around Christmas time, although one of the regular exceptions is Chinatown where almost all the shops and restaurants remain open.
The Easter holiday always falls on a Friday (Good Friday) and the following Monday (Easter Monday), although the dates do change.
Easter 2017 has already passed, Easter falls between 14 April and 17 April in 2017.
Christmas is always on 25 December, with Boxing day always on 26 December, although if these fall on a weekend, there will be an additional day of holiday on the following Monday, this is not the case in 2017, when Christmas is on a Monday (25 December 2017) , and Boxing Day is on a Tuesday (26 December 2016)
New Year’s Day always falls on Monday 2 January 2018.
In addition to these, there are 3 more public holidays which are not related to any religion and are called Bank Holidays, and always fall on a Monday, where most business are closed, although tourist attractions, larger shops and restaurants may still be open.
The next Bank Holidays for 2017 are:
29 May – Spring Bank Holiday
28 August – Summer Bank Holiday
Holidays in England in 2018
1 January 2018 – New Years Day (this is due to 1 January being on a weekend)
30 March to 2 April 2018 – Easter
7 May 2018 – Early May Bank Holiday (also known as May Day)
28 May 2018 – Spring Bank Holiday
27 August 2018 – Summer Bank Holiday
25 December 2018 – Christmas
26 December 2018 – Boxing Day
Holidays in the rest of the UK (made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) are not always the same as in England and Wales which share them and you can check them out here: Scotland, Northern Ireland.
UK School Holidays
UK School holidays are not fixed and are different between each borough and sometimes even each school will have its own holiday calendar.
These are the dates that most schools will have time off and are always subject to change:
Half Term – A holiday between terms, usually around mid February.
Easter holiday – 3 April -21 April 2017
Summer Holiday – The big holiday in the year, between 17 July and 5 September 2017
Autumn Break – A holiday between terms, usually around 16 October and 27 October 2017
Christmas Holiday – Between 18 December 2017 and 5 January 2018
You can find more information on UK school holidays in 2017-2018 here.
Please note, that if you are in London during school holidays, many of the tourist attractions, public transport hubs, shops and restaurants are likely to be busier than normal and it is recommended to book your tickets in advance, not only securing you a place, but possibly also allowing you to pay less. You can find more information about attractions on our dedicated page here.