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Summer Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the summer bank holiday is on the last Monday of August. In Scotland it is on the first Monday of August. This day marks the end of the summer holidays for many people who return to work or school in the autumn.

Is Summer Bank Holiday a Public Holiday?

Summer Bank Holiday is a public holiday in 4 constituent countries, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Summer Bank Holiday

The Notting Hill Carnival is a multicultural celebration in London.

©iStockphoto.com/ Bikeworldtravel

What Do People Do?

For many people, the summer bank holiday marks the end of the summer. Some people take trips or short vacations during the three day weekend. For others, it is another opportunity to work in their gardens or carry out home improvements.

In London the Notting Hill Carnival is held. This street festival is best known for its exuberant costumes, dancing and music played by steel drum bands. The festival has been held every year since 1965 and was originally organized by immigrants from the Caribbean, particularly Trinidad, to the United Kingdom. It started as a protest against the racism, poor working and housing conditions that they suffered.

Today, the Notting Hill Carnival is a multicultural celebration, attracting over two million people. It is thought to be the second largest street carnival in the world. In the past, a considerable amount of public disorder occurred round the event, but it has been calmer in recent years.

Public Life

On the summer bank holiday, many organizations, businesses and schools are closed. Stores may be open or closed, according to local custom. There is more local variation in Scotland, where local conditions, rather than national laws, dictate whether organizations and businesses close for the day. Public transport systems often run to a holiday timetable. As this three-day weekend marks the end of the summer holiday period, there can be a lot of congestion on roads and public transport systems.

Background

The summer bank holiday was introduced in the Bank Holidays Act 1871 and first observed in that year. It was originally intended to give bank employees the opportunity to participate and attend cricket matches. Exactly one hundred years later, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 moved this bank holiday to the last Monday in August for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This followed a trial period from 1965 to 1970 of the new date. In Scotland, it remained on the first Monday in August.

Summer Bank Holiday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015MonAug 3Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2015MonAug 31Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2016MonAug 1Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2016MonAug 29Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2017MonAug 7Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2017MonAug 28Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2018MonAug 6Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2018MonAug 27Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2019MonAug 5Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2019MonAug 26Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2020MonAug 3Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2020MonAug 31Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2021MonAug 2Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2021MonAug 30Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2022MonAug 1Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2022MonAug 29Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2023MonAug 7Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2023MonAug 28Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2024MonAug 5Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2024MonAug 26Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL
2025MonAug 4Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayScotland
2025MonAug 25Summer Bank HolidayCommon local holidayENG, NIR, WAL

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