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England Half Term Holiday England vs Amsterdam

Thanks to posting previously in this forum I have realized that May 27-31 is a Half Term Holiday in England. We are making last minute travel plans, for the same week. I am an ex airline employee and flying standby into London looks great but now worried that there may be difficulties with reservations in London, Bath, and maybe one smaller town nearby. Would the holiday affect us much? Would it affect travel (train-overnight ferry-train) to and in Amsterdam the same week? Trying to decide which would be best!

Posted by
1129 posts

No it won’t really affect you that much. Anything that is aimed at or appeals to children will be busier than normal, eg Natural History Museum or Science Museum along with coastal areas etc. I don’t think you’ll notice a huge difference in Bath or London in terms of general levels of busy-ness.

If you are thinking of flying from London onto Amsterdam then flights will be more expensive due to the school holiday but I doubt they will be sold out. There is a lot of capacity on that route.

I don’t know when the Netherlands takes it’s school holidays but I’d be surprised if this particular week lines up with the U.K. holiday.

Posted by
6473 posts

The half term holiday won't affect the 'Dutch flyer' rail/ferry service. Just be aware that the inclusive ticket now only covers you to the Hook of Holland. It no longer covers onward travel to any station in the Netherlands as in the past.

There is no major engineering on Greater Anglia that week.

The ferry is a big ferry designed to handle the numbers it was built for. At the time of writing the Ferry (looking at the Stena Line website) has plenty of cabin availability.

I don't know how wedded you are to going to London and Bath first. Maybe if you went to Hadrian's Wall or elsewhere in Northumberland first (or even the Yorkshire Dales) you would find life much less crowded. You could then use the DFDS ferry from North Shields (Newcastle) to Ijmuiden (Amsterdam) instead. You can pay a bit extra to take the DFDS transfer bus into Amsterdam. There is a local bus as well, but it is not the easiest to find from the Ferry Terminal- doable, just not as easy as it might be (I'm a long time veteran user of that service bus and the former Flying Fast Ferry up the canal to Amsterdam, which used ex eastern bloc hydrofoils).
A connecting bus runs from Newcastle Central Station to the Tyne Commission Quay in connection with all sailings.

I have no idea on how busy Amsterdam might be.

Posted by
5356 posts

The Netherlands still has it's holiday on real Whit week rather than the British "fake" Whit so will be over by then.

Prices will be a little higher for accommodation because of the half term probably but there shouldn't be a problem finding it.

Posted by
6839 posts

The Netherlands still has it's holiday on real Whit week rather than the British "fake" Whit so will be over by then.

Ha ha! That made me laugh, but also made me curious. So are all Half Terms in Britain tied in with religious holidays?

Posted by
6473 posts

So are all Half Terms in Britain tied in with religious holidays?

No, not in the Secular society we have now. I still regard next week as the Whit Holidays although the late May bank (public) holiday was decoupled from Whit week as long ago as 1965 (when I was very young) and legally in 1971.
Now the late May Bank Holiday is always the last Monday in May, and that week is always half term. So modern 'Whit Monday' should always be the same date as the American Memorial Day.

One of the effects of the move of 'Whit Week' which really struck me last week when in Manchester is that the Whit Friday Marches in the Pennine Towns (including my own home town of Hyde) now start in late afternoon (all ten of the Tameside Marches do), as the children are at school. In former times they were all day affairs.

Spring half term is always the 2nd full week of February and Autumn half term the last full week of October. It is incidental that Autumn half term falls more or less with All Saints and All Souls (and nowadays with Halloween where the secular has largely replaced the religious). That week is half way between the start of September (start of the School Year) and Christmas. Likewise February half term is halfway between New Year and Easter.

The early May bank Holiday didn't exist formally until 1978 (always 1st Monday in May) but has it's roots back in true May Day (1 May) celebrations- still commonly found across the UK if you know where to look.

But then our Mothering Sunday (not technically Mothers Day) is always the Sunday of mid-Lent, due to it's religious roots, not the American Mother's Day in the middle of May.

Posted by
1129 posts

The Feb and autumn half term weeks now vary a bit between areas. This year we did not match up on either holiday with friends in Manchester, for example. The May half term does seem to be standardised as the last week in May.

Posted by
5356 posts

Also there was an Act of Parliament passed in 1928 to fix Easter Sunday to always be the Sunday following the second Saturday in April. The requisite resolutions in both the Commons & Lords to bring this into force have never been held though.

Posted by
33133 posts

If you use the Stena Line ferries between Harwich and Hook of Holland, both the Hollandica and the Brittanica were given a brush up and update over the winter. They were fine when I was on them several times last year and I didn't see a need for an update but almost all our time was in our cabins (we usually pay the extra for Captains Class or even Captains Suite).

Those two boats between them manage a day and a night crossing both ways every day. We have left late from the Netherlands because of late truck movements but we have never arrived late.

I haven't crossed the Channel (or North Sea) yet this year. It will be interesting to see the changes, but I couldn't sleep better than I already did - always a comfortable trip.