Skip to main content

Comprehensive Overview of UK Bank Holidays in 2024

Table of UK Bank Holidays 2024

DateDay of WeekBank HolidayCountry
1 JanMondayNew Year's DayEngland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
2 JanTuesday2nd JanuaryScotland
18 MarMondaySt Patrick’s Day (substitute day)Northern Ireland
29 MarFridayGood FridayEngland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
1 AprMondayEaster MondayEngland, Wales, Northern Ireland
6 MayMondayEarly May Bank HolidayEngland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
27 MayMondaySpring Bank HolidayEngland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
12 JulFridayBattle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day)Northern Ireland
5 AugMondaySummer Bank HolidayScotland
26 AugMondaySummer Bank HolidayEngland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2 DecMondaySt Andrew's Day (substitute day)Scotland
25 DecWednesdayChristmas DayEngland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
26 DecThursdayBoxing DayEngland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland

 

The UK, consisting of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is renowned for its rich tapestry of traditions and its diverse cultural landscape. A significant aspect of this cultural milieu is the observation of bank holidays. Varying from region to region, these holidays encompass historical, cultural, and religious observances, providing opportunities for people to connect, celebrate, and take a break from their regular schedules. This article offers an in-depth insight into the UK’s bank holidays in 2024, elaborating on each holiday’s significance and exploring the various activities commonly associated with them.

When are the 2024 bank holidays?

In 2024, the United Kingdom will observe a series of bank holidays, with variations across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Here’s a distinctive overview of these dates:

England and Wales:

  • New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1
  • Good Friday: Friday, March 29
  • Easter Monday: Monday, April 1
  • Early May Bank Holiday: Monday, May 6
  • Spring Bank Holiday: Monday, May 27
  • Summer Bank Holiday: Monday, August 26
  • Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25
  • Boxing Day: Thursday, December 26

Scotland:

  • New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1
  • Additional Holiday: Tuesday, January 2
  • Good Friday: Friday, March 29
  • Early May Bank Holiday: Monday, May 6
  • Spring Bank Holiday: Monday, May 27
  • Summer Bank Holiday: Monday, August 5
  • St Andrew’s Day: Monday, December 2
  • Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25
  • Boxing Day: Thursday, December 26

Northern Ireland:

  • New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1
  • St Patrick’s Day (Substitute Day): Monday, March 18
  • Good Friday: Friday, March 29
  • Easter Monday: Monday, April 1
  • Early May Bank Holiday: Monday, May 6
  • Spring Bank Holiday: Monday, May 27
  • Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day): Friday, July 12
  • Summer Bank Holiday: Monday, August 26
  • Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25
  • Boxing Day: Thursday, December 26

New Year’s Day

Monday, 1st January 2024

New Year’s Day, the first blank page of a 365-page book, is eagerly awaited and widely celebrated by everyone in the UK. With an air of rejuvenation, it serves as a time for resolutions and new beginnings. The preceding evening, known as New Year’s Eve, sees nationwide parties and fireworks displays. Famous public events, like the fireworks on London’s South Bank or the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, attract crowds in the thousands. The actual New Year’s Day may be quieter, with families enjoying a special meal together, attending concerts or sports events, or partaking in the traditional New Year’s Day swim in locations such as Saundersfoot in Wales and Scarborough in Yorkshire. For the more adventurous, there are also New Year’s Day runs in various cities, including London and Edinburgh.

2nd January

Tuesday, 2nd January 2024 (Scotland only)

In Scotland, the 2nd of January is a statutory bank holiday, granting Scots an extended rest period after the New Year celebrations. This additional day off often involves visiting friends and family or partaking in the age-old tradition of ‘first-footing’. This custom, believed to bring good fortune, involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a home in the New Year, usually bearing gifts such as shortbread or whisky. Some Scottish folk also utilise this extra day to enjoy the stunning landscapes Scotland is famous for, going on hikes or short trips to places like Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, or the Highlands.

Saint David’s Day

Friday, 1st March 2024 (Wales only)

Saint David’s Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Wales, is celebrated with much fervour, particularly in Wales, although it’s not officially a public holiday. School children often participate in school concerts or eisteddfods, with recitations and singing, and local parades are common. In bigger cities like Cardiff and Swansea, you’ll find food festivals showcasing traditional Welsh delicacies, such as Welsh cakes, cawl, and rarebit. Furthermore, many people choose to wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales – the daffodil or the leek. In the evening, concerts and performances featuring traditional Welsh music, particularly male voice choirs, are popular.

Saint Patrick’s Day

Sunday, 17th March 2024, observed on Monday, 18th March 2024 (Northern Ireland only)

In Northern Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday celebrated with much enthusiasm. Parades with marching bands, traditional Irish music and dance, and plenty of green, white, and orange are common sights. In Belfast, the carnival parade and concert are a major highlight, attracting locals and tourists alike. Meanwhile, the smaller towns and villages across Northern Ireland often host local festivals, featuring activities like face painting, traditional music sessions, and craft markets. Many people also attend special church services and enjoy traditional meals like corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew, accompanied, perhaps, by a pint of Guinness.

Good Friday

Friday, 29th March 2024

Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is a solemn occasion observed across the UK. It is traditionally a day of fasting and reflection for Christians, with many attending church services or participating in passion plays and processions. The Hot Cross Bun, a spiced sweet bun marked with a cross on top, is a traditional Good Friday treat often enjoyed for breakfast or afternoon tea. However, for many people, the day also marks the start of a long weekend and the arrival of spring. Consequently, it’s a popular time for gardening, DIY, and visiting local attractions. Those living near the coast might partake in the British tradition of eating fish and chips by the sea on Good Friday.

Easter Monday

Monday, 1st April 2024 (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland only)

Easter Monday, celebrated as a public holiday in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, provides a joyful conclusion to the Easter weekend. Many towns and cities host special events like Easter egg hunts, parades, and Easter bonnet-making competitions. It’s also a popular day for families to get out into the countryside, with popular choices being the National Parks like the Lake District or the Brecon Beacons. Additionally, local National Trust properties often host special Easter events, making them an attractive option for a family day out.

Early May Bank Holiday

Monday, 6th May 2024

Also known as May Day, this bank holiday is a celebration of springtime. Traditional celebrations include Morris dancing, singing, and the crowning of the May Queen. The maypole dance, where dancers circle a wooden maypole, weaving intricate patterns with ribbons, is a charming spectacle often seen in village greens and school fields. The day is also associated with workers’ rights, and rallies and marches by trade unions are commonplace. Many people also take advantage of the long weekend for short breaks, particularly to the British seaside, with Blackpool, Brighton, and Bournemouth being popular choices.

Spring Bank Holiday

Monday, 27th May 2024

The Spring Bank Holiday, or Late May Bank Holiday, falls on the last Monday in May, providing a much-anticipated long weekend. Many communities hold local fairs and festivals, with activities like duck races, bake-offs, and tug-of-war contests. In London, the annual Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival, brings a Caribbean flavour to the city with its vibrant parade and music. This weekend is also popular for trips to the countryside or the coast, with people eager to enjoy the great outdoors in the warmer weather. Sporting events like football finals, cricket matches, and athletics meets also often fall around this time, providing another entertainment option.

Battle of the Boyne

Friday, 12th July 2024 (Northern Ireland only)

The Battle of the Boyne bank holiday in Northern Ireland remembers the significant battle in 1690 between Protestant King William of Orange and Catholic King James II. It’s often marked by parades and marches organised by the Orange Order. Besides the marches, many people take advantage of the day off for family activities, such as picnics in local parks, visits to the beach, or trips to local historical sites like the Giant’s Causeway or the Titanic Belfast museum.

Summer Bank Holiday

Monday, 5th August 2024 (Scotland only)

Monday, 26th August 2024 (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland)

The Summer Bank Holiday, celebrated on different dates across the UK, is a way to savour the last moments of summer. Many towns and cities host carnivals and fairs, while rural areas often hold agricultural shows, showcasing local produce and livestock. Music festivals are also common during this weekend. Trips to the seaside, family barbecues, and outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and camping are popular ways to make the most of the (hopefully) good weather before autumn sets in.

Saint Andrew’s Day

Saturday, 30th November 2024, observed on Monday, 2nd December 2024 (Scotland only)

Saint Andrew’s Day, celebrating Scotland’s patron saint, is an opportunity for Scots to honour their national identity. Music forms a major part of the celebrations, with ceilidhs (traditional Scottish dances) and concerts held across the country. Storytelling events, historical reenactments, and Whisky tastings are also common. The Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, for example, often holds special events for the day. For families, a visit to one of Scotland’s many historic sites or museums, many of which offer free admission on this day, can be an educational and fun way to spend the day.

Christmas Day

Wednesday, 25th December 2024

Christmas Day is celebrated nationwide and is a day for families to come together, exchange gifts, and share a festive meal. Traditional activities include decorating the Christmas tree, attending midnight mass, and watching the Queen’s Christmas (now King Charles) speech. The Christmas dinner, with its roast turkey, Christmas pudding, and mince pies, is a major highlight. Some individuals also choose to volunteer on this day, helping serve meals to the less fortunate. For those living near the coast, the day might even start with a brisk Christmas Day swim, a tradition in places like Brighton and Tenby.

Boxing Day

Thursday, 26th December 2024

Boxing Day is a day for relaxation and outdoor activities. Some people take part in or watch traditional Boxing Day hunts, while others might go for a long walk in the countryside. Football fans often spend the day watching the Boxing Day matches, a staple of the British football calendar. Meanwhile, others use the day to hit the high street or online sales, hunting for post-Christmas bargains. For the more adventurous, the Boxing Day Dip, a tradition in some seaside towns where people dress up and run into the sea, provides a refreshing and fun way to conclude the Christmas celebrations.

The UK bank holidays in 2024 offer a mix of historical, cultural, and religious celebrations, with each region adding its unique flavour. Whether you’re celebrating a patron saint, enjoying a communal festival, or simply relaxing with loved ones, these bank holidays are an integral part of life in the UK, providing cherished moments of unity, relaxation, and enjoyment.

Index