When are the bank holidays in 2021? Full list of public holidays in England and Wales - including May bank holiday

There are multiple public holidays in 2021, from the May bank holiday to August bank holiday weekend

It’s good news for those who relish an extra day off work, as there are multiple bank holidays to look forward to in 2021.

A bank holiday usually consists of some much-needed time off, which can be filled with countless possibilities and activities, not to mention the rare chance for a lie-in.

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And as the country gradually emerges from lockdown, many people are looking forward to the easing of restrictions in time for some of the last public holidays of the year.

For many people, a bank holiday is a time to relax (Shutterstock)For many people, a bank holiday is a time to relax (Shutterstock)
For many people, a bank holiday is a time to relax (Shutterstock)

We’ve put together the full list of bank holiday dates for England and Wales so you can be prepared – here is everything you need to know.

When are the bank holidays in 2021?

Most bank holidays fall on a Monday in 2021, with a couple of exceptions. There will be two substitute days for the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays, since the two days fall over the weekend.

The dates for the bank holidays in England and Wales for 2021 are:

1 January, Friday - New Year’s Day

2 April, Friday - Good Friday

5 April, Monday - Easter Monday

3 May, Monday - Early May bank holiday

31 May, Monday - Spring bank holiday

30 August, Monday - Summer bank holiday

27 December, Monday - Christmas Day (substitute day)

28 December, Tuesday - Boxing Day (substitute day)

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The government warns that your employer isn’t entitled to give you paid leave on bank or public holidays, and it also notes that bank holidays might affect how and when any benefits are paid.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own bank holidays on several dates throughout the year.

Why is there an extra bank holiday in 2022?

Britain will also get an extra bank holiday in 2022 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced in November 2020.

A four-day weekend has been created in June 2022 to mark the Queen reigning for 70 years, which is the first time a British monarch will have been on the throne for seven decades.

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The late May Spring Bank Holiday will be moved to Thursday 2 June, and the public will be given Friday 3 June off as an additional bank holiday.

Unfortunately, there have been no “special” bank holidays created for 2021.

When else has there been special bank holidays?

Another special bank holiday, similar to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, was created throughout the UK to honour the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

The day, Friday 29 April, was celebrated across the country with people hosting street parties and gatherings in public parks to watch the occasion.

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Prince Charles’ wedding to Princess Diana was also famously marked with a national holiday in 1981.

There wasn’t a bank holiday to mark Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding as it was held on a Saturday, on 19 May 2018.

Why do we have bank holidays?

Bank holidays were first introduced by banker and politician Sir John Lubbock, who drafted the Bank Holiday Bill in 1871.

Initially, it was just banks and financial buildings that closed, which is where the name comes from, but gradually businesses, shops, schools and the government joined in the holidays.

You don’t actually have to take a bank holiday off - it’s all dependent on your job contract.