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British bank holidays

I just saw in another post that 29 May 2017 is a bank holiday. I have always just assumed that, well, banks close, maybe some businesses, and that lots of people take 3 day weekends. We will arrive in London from Edinburgh 26 May 2017 and leave 31 May. Now I'm wondering the extent of the effect on our planning. Will there be significant changes or closings...monuments, attractions, sights? We already have our hotel arranged and our tickets for the Chelsea show. I guessed it would just mean larger crowds, and we'll handle that, but now I wonder what else I might need to know. Thank you!

Posted by
8889 posts

And if a holiday falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, then the following Monday (or Monday plus Tuesday) is a holiday.
That is the case this year:

  • Sunday 25th December 2016
  • Monday 26th December 2016
  • Tuesday 27th December 2016 - extra day holiday

  • Sunday 1st January 2017

  • Monday 2nd January 2017 - extra day holiday

That rule is a British peculiarity. In other countries - hard luck, you loose the holiday.

On Summer Bank Holiday weekends the traffic is famously bad "bank holiday traffic" is a well known phrase.

Posted by
4930 posts

For visitors the May Bank Holidays don't really cause a lot of disruption unless you want to visit a bank that day ... but as a large percentage of people will be off work things will be busy, especially if the weather forecast is good. Book your trains early for these weekends, especially Friday travel.

England has just about the fewest public holidays of any country in Europe.

Posted by
920 posts

We had a similar situation in August. We arrived in London on a Friday and Monday was a Bank Holiday. We took the opportunity to do a London Walks tour of Salisbury and Stonehenge. It covered most of the day and was very well done. We met the tour guide at Waterloo train station. We stayed in the Conrad hotel between Buckingham and Westminster and didn't encounter any issues finding dining options.

Posted by
1942 posts

This is all so helpful. Thank you for the responses. I really appreciate this forum and all who contribute.

Posted by
4930 posts

Scotland can be especially complicated as they are also more of a local tradition that varies from place to place. Banks there often close on the English BH instead. However, for May everything is the same.

Note that although 1 May is a BH this year this is just because it is the first Monday in May. Nothing to do with May Day or any International Workers as it is in many other European countries.