For obvious reasons, UK bank holidays in 2021 have so far looked a little different this year. With the country having spent most of the past 12 months in a state of lockdown, opportunities to make the most off work have been limited at best.
But there is at least light at the end of the tunnel, as the government’s roadmap to easing lockdown restrictions gets underway. There are plenty of bank holidays in the UK still to come in 2021, which will hopefully be easier to enjoy than those that have already come and gone.
Bank Holidays UK 2021: What Are Bank Holidays?
Ever wondered why bank holiday happens in the UK? It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1870s, when the ‘Bank Holidays Act’ was passed to distinguish religious holidays from other public holidays.
Traditionally, bank holidays were seen as national days off - all businesses, schools and colleges would close for the day. The result of which was something of a national public holiday vibe, giving everyone a reason to celebrate.
These days, bank holidays aren’t nearly as ceremonious or celebrated as they used to be. While banks, schools, colleges and universities will typically close on bank holidays, it’s not uncommon for most shops to remain open.
Hospitality businesses in particular leverage bank holidays to their advantage, which tend to be among their busiest days of the year.
Limited public transport services are usually provided on bank holidays - often similar to those of a Sunday. It’s also not uncommon for taxi services to significantly increase their prices on a bank holiday, which is something to be wary of.
Most online businesses continue to operate in the normal way on bank holidays, including online course providers. If you’re taking a course online and you would prefer to continue working on a bank holiday, you’re free to do just that.
However, Royal Mail and most shipping services in general do not operate on bank holidays. Nor do most banks process transactions, which means that purchases made online on bank holidays may be delayed until the next working day.
While most bank holidays fall on the same dates each year (like Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), others are not fixed (like Good Friday and Spring Bank). In addition, there are also slight variances between the countries of the UK - each of which has its own unique bank holiday schedule.
This is the full list of 2021 bank holidays for England and Wales:
Meanwhile, Scotland’s bank holiday calendar for 2021 looks like this:
Over in Northern Ireland, the same bank holiday dates apply in general, with just a few key variations:
Bank holidays for Christmas Day and Boxing Day happen on December 27 and 28 this year, due to the fact that Christmas falls over the course of a weekend.
If looking for a productive way to spend your next bank holiday, why not take an online course?
At Brentwood Open Learning College, we offer a wide variety of short courses and even a collection of free introductory courses, spanning a broad range of subject areas.