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Make the Most of Your Bank Holiday

Mon 10 Apr 2017

What are Bank Holidays?

There’s a clue in the name. Bank holidays originated from legislation in 1871 specifying particular days when no person was compelled to make any payment or action which they’d not be compelled to make or do on Christmas Day or Good Friday.

Initially there were just four bank holidays but this was later expanded to include others such as the August bank holiday and Boxing Day. Today there are eight per year; they often fall on slightly different dates each year but consist of:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Early May Bank Holiday
  • Spring Bank Holiday
  • Summer Bank Holiday
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

There are routine calls for more Bank Holidays; the number enjoyed in the UK lags behind many other European countries. Nowadays Bank Holidays are an important staple of British culture, offering hard workers an extra day of rest.

Typically banks and financial institutions close and the Royal Mail doesn’t run collections or deliveries. However, typically shops and malls remain open, to beckon in the hoards who might be out and about on their day off.

What to expect on a Bank Holiday

Bank Holiday stereotypes include that of a deserted vista not unlike the film 28 Days Later where the streets are emptied and no one can be seen for miles around. However, for the most part, transport and outlets remain open with normal if not reduced hours, so there’s always plenty to see and do.

What to do on a Bank Holiday?

Typically many places that are open over the weekend will remain open on the Bank Holiday itself. For example, cinemas, theatres and food outlets tend to want to make the most of the increased footfall and will remain open.

If it’s likely to be sunny on the Bank Holiday, expect to see huge swathes of people heading for local parks and even seaside destinations. Day trips and overnight stays are popular, with workers making the most of the extra day available to them.

So how to spend your Bank Holiday?

Perhaps catch a movie, dine in your favourite restaurant or explore a new park or tourist attraction. Alternatively, lots of people enjoy the time off at home to relax. It’s worth bearing in mind that although transport may differ, lots of shops, restaurants, bars and popular tourist destinations remain open.

Top Bank Holiday Tips

  • Transport systems tend to change over a Bank Holiday, with reduced or Sunday service on trains and buses. Check your journey before you travel to make sure you’re not in for any nasty surprises.
  • The evening before the Bank Holiday can be very busy too. If you’re travelling, be prepared for longer queues and heavier traffic than usual.
  • Keep an eye out for special ‘Bank Holiday Offers’ often publicised by restaurants, bars, venues and clubs.
  • Some shops may not be open. It may vary locally, so be prepared. If it’s a particularly sunny day, pack some sunscreen so you don’t have to locate a nearby pharmacy. Equally, if the weather’s looking poor, it’s worth bringing an umbrella in case you’re not able to find any nearby. 

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