Bank holidays 2016: When is your next long weekend?

UK workers are spoilt in May, a month bookended by bank holidays as the country marks May Day and Pentecost. Although the first proved something of a washout, the second long weekend at the end of the month was bathed in sunshine across most of the country give or take the odd shower. After a long weekend of ideal barbeque weather, it’s no wonder the nation’s workforce will be wondering when they can enjoy the next bank holiday. Many hoped the Queen’s 90th birthday would be marked with a day off, following in the precedent set by the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, but alas, it was not to be. Nevertheless, here are the other dates you can look forward to this year:

Monday 29 August summer bank holiday

This day off was first enshrined in the Bank Holidays Act 1871, when it fell at the beginning of August.

Following the reforms of the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, it was moved to the last Monday in the month, which is why it can be something of a washout. The Notting Hill Carnival and the Leeds and Reading festivals, as well as the final days of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, are among the popular annual events to take place over the summer bank holiday, come rain or shine.

Monday 26 December Boxing Day

Boxing Day was previously known as St Stephen’s Day. Many historians believe that the holiday’s current name may have come from the church practice of opening alms boxes1 the day after Christmas to distribute donations to the poor. Historically, UK employers also offered workers and servants gifts or cash on 26 December and gave them the day off. While the gifts may have dried up in many modern workplaces, the day remains a bank holiday.

Tuesday 27 December Christmas Day (substitute)

The final bank Discount Holidays © holiday of 2016 will be a substitute for Christmas Day, which falls on a Sunday this year. The 25 December is celebrated in many different ways around the world2. Finns share a festive sauna, while in India families decorate a banana or mango tree and in Japan it has become customary to eat a festive feast of KFC on Christmas Day. Here in the UK, families traditionally tuck into turkey and open presents from stockings and under the tree.

Monday 2 January 2017 New Year’s Day (substitute)

The sensible decision to introduce a day off following New Year’s Eve first came about in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1974. Traditionally, the incoming year is welcomed in with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne at midnight and a resolution.

This year, New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday night and New Year’s Day is on a Sunday, so the bank Discount Holidays © holiday falls to Monday 2 January with Scotland also getting the next day off.

Friday 14 April 2017 Good Friday

Easter is always a highly anticipated event, combining as it does two bank holidays to give the majority of workers a four-day weekend. Traditionally, Good Friday is a sombre day, on which Christians mark Jesus’s crucifixion with prayer and fasting.

Monday 17 April 2017 Easter Monday

Historically, the resurrection of Jesus was celebrated with egg-rolling and games, some of which, such as the Hallaton bottle-kicking contest, are still played today. Easter Monday is not an official break in Scotland but many local authorities treat it as a public Discount Holidays © holiday so businesses can synchronise their opening times with the rest of the UK.


Scotland has a slightly different bank Discount Holidays © holiday schedule to England and Wales.

Here are the next days off north of the border:

  • Monday 30 May spring bank holiday
  • Monday 1 August summer bank holiday
  • Wednesday 30 November St Andrew’s Day3
  • Monday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Tuesday 27 December – Christmas Day (substitute)
  • Monday 2 January
  • Tuesday 3 January – New Year’s Day (substitute)
  • Friday 14 April – Good Friday


  1. ^ opening alms boxes (
  2. ^ different ways around the world (
  3. ^ St Andrew’s Day (

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