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Impact of Bank Holidays on Tourism

I am planning on visiting England, Wales, Scotland in May 2015. I noticed that there are two bank holidays in May (Early May bank holiday and Spring bank holiday). What impact do bank holidays have upon tourism, transportation schedules, restaurant hours, etc.?

Posted by
211 posts

Most of the tourist spots will be open but it's best to check the places you want to visit. Less trains scheduled on Bank Holidays. And taxi fares are more expensive; had to pay bank holiday rate from train station to Highclere Castle last year. Yeouch!

Posted by
16885 posts

Since most train lines have pretty frequent service in Britain, I don't think you'll notice the difference too much, unless you wanted to leave early morning. The holiday schedules will be online when the rest of the spring schedule is published in December or January. How to Look Up Train Schedules Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it.

Posted by
4684 posts

Nowadays there is usually at least one main rail route out of London closed every bank holiday for construction work. Tourist sites will be busy. Restaurants probably won't show much difference.

Posted by
28777 posts

Trains and airports will be busy, planned engineering works will likely interfere with some lines, roads will be busy, restaurants not a lot of change but some busier but some promotions will not be honoured, Many stores will have reduced hours. Hotels in or on the way to popular places will be busy.

If there is a snowstorm or flood that will add excitement and slow traffic further.

Posted by
203 posts

Thanks for the feedback--it is what I suspected and will plan accordingly.

Posted by
135 posts

Worth noting too that the second English Bank holiday in May is generally the Monday of a week long school holiday. Consequently you may find all tourist spots and main roads busier than would be the case the week before, or after.

Posted by
203 posts

Mark: Thanks for the added information--we will adjust travel plans accordingly to minimize any impact from the school holidays.

Posted by
3 posts

I encountered this situation in May 2014. I regretted not purchasing my train ticket in advance because the lines were extra long, and once I finally had a ticket and boarded, most of the seats were reserved. I was truly envious of all the empty seats in first class, especially since I had a bit of a tummy bug, wasn't feeling great, and would have preferred more space. This was on a Saturday before the last bank holiday in May. On the bright side, I met a lovely family from Colorado currently living in England who were traveling for the bank holiday.

Of course, the banks will obviously be closed so plan accordingly if you need to transact non-ATM bank business. I did not notice any other inconveniences, just lots of crowds and long lines. Next time I will definitely pre-purchase train tickets.