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 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 businesses 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.
Usually, Christmas is on 25 December, with Boxing day on 26 December, although if these fall on a weekend, there will be an additional day of holiday on the following Monday.
in 2020, when Christmas is on Friday (25 December 2020), and Boxing Day falls on a Saturday (26 December 2020) then Boxing day will move to Monday after and a lot of the people will take all the week off.
New Year’s Day always falls on 1 January (if it on the weekend then the Monday after will be a bank holiday) in 2020 1 January is Friday.
In addition to these, there are 3 more public holidays that are not related to any religion and are called Bank Holidays and always fall on a Monday, where most businesses are closed, although tourist attractions, larger shops, and restaurants may still be open.
The next Bank Holidays for 2021 are:
Holidays in England in 2021
1 January 2021 – New Years Day
2 -5 April 2021 – Easter weekend (Easter Sunday is the 4th of April 2021)
3 May 2021 – Early May Bank Holiday (also known as May Day)
31 May 2021 – Spring Bank Holiday
30 August 2021 – Summer Bank Holiday
27 December 2021 – Christmas
28 December 2021 – 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 there are differences 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 – usually in April
May half-term – usually in May
Summer Holiday – The big holiday in the year, Around mid-July and beginning of September
Autumn Break – A holiday between terms, usually around the end of October and the beginning of November.
Christmas Holiday – Around 23 December and 1 January
You can find more information on the UK school holidays in 2020 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 London tourist attractions.