UK public holidays in London for 2021-2022

Details about London’s public holidays in 2021 and 2022, Christmas closures and what’s on ahead of your trip to London.

UK public holidays

In the UK, there are a number of statutory holidays, known as Bank Holidays as banks were traditionally required to be closed on those days.

While many UK bank holidays are timed for specific events, such as May Day or Easter, candidly, not many people observe the origins of the holiday, so, for example, for the majority of people, Easter and Christmas are just days off work without any religous significance.

These days, most shops and restaurants are open on Bank Holidays, and many cultural venues will hold special events.

Easter

The big exception to the above is Easter, when there’s Good Friday and Easter Monday as holidays, but be warned, while most venues are open over the weekend, all large retail stores are closed on Easter Sunday — a hangover from the days when all shops in the UK closed on Sundays. You’ll still be able to go out and enjoy yourself on Easter Sunday, but you wont be able to do any department store style shopping.

Things to do in London on a Bank Holiday weekend

A number of major celebrations are also timed to coincide with a bank holiday, mainly because more people can attend them.

It varies each year, but typically the spring bank holiday will have a large festival in the canals near Paddington and the August bank holiday is famous for the Notting Hill Carnival. Many smaller local festivals also take place around the city on Bank Holidays.

Two other large events take place across the entire city, which are not on public holidays, but if they appeal, it’s worth timing a visit for — that’s the Open Garden Squares Weekend which opens up a lot of normally private gardens to visit, and the huge Open House Weekend, which is an amazing chance to see inside normally closed buildings.

If your idea of a good city visit is seeing the insides of grand buildings, then book your trip to time it for Open House Weekend in September – but note that many of the best buildings need pre-booking, in mid-August.

(There is also a similar event outside London the weekend before – Heritage Open Days)

In 2022, it’s also The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, which will involve a huge celebration in London over four days.

Christmas Holidays

If visiting over Christmas, then be aware that there’s no public transport at all on Christmas Day. Also all shops, and most restaurants are closed. It is however a magical time to visit the city as you can wander the almost deserted streets and see London in a way you will likely never see again.

Holiday transport

London’s public transport often uses the quieter weekends to carry out maintenance work, so there’s a chance that some tube and railways will be closed. You can always check for travel disruptions on the TfL website, and they will have replacement bus services if there’s no suitable local rail service available.

Buses are very rarely affected by closures at weekends.

UK public holiday dates

In the UK, if a public holiday falls on a weekend, then the following work days are subsituted for it as compensation. For example 25th December 2021 is a Saturday, so the following Monday is the substitute public holiday as compensation.

A tip, for most classic office workers, if you book three days holiday between Boxing Day and New Year, you will be out of the office for 10 days in a row. For example, in 2021, booking the 29th, 30th and 31st Dec as holiday means you will be out of the office from Friday 24th December 2021 until Monday 3rd January 2022. A similar pattern happens every year.

There are also a few differences in dates between Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England/Wales.

England/Wales public holiday dates

Public Holiday 2021 2022
New Year’s Day Friday 1st January* Monday 3rd Jan*
Good Friday Friday 2nd April Friday 15th April
Easter Monday Monday 5th April Monday 18th April
Early May bank holiday Monday 3rd May Monday 2nd May
Spring bank holiday Monday 31st May Thursday 2nd June
Platinum Jubilee holiday

Friday 3rd June
Summer bank holiday Monday 30th August Monday 29th August
Christmas Day Monday 27th December* Tuesday 27th December*
Boxing Day Tuesday 28th December* Monday 26th December

Northern Ireland public holiday dates

Public Holiday 2021 2022
New Year’s Day Friday 1st January* Monday 3rd Jan*
St Patrick’s Day Wednesday 17th March Thursday 17th March
Good Friday Friday 2nd April Friday 15th April
Easter Monday Monday 5th April Monday 18th April
Early May bank holiday Monday 3rd May Monday 2nd May
Spring bank holiday Monday 31st May Thursday 2nd June
Platinum Jubilee holiday

Friday 3rd June
Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day) Monday 12th July Tuesday 12th July
Summer bank holiday Monday 30th August Monday 29th August
Christmas Day Monday 27th December* Tuesday 27th December*
Boxing Day Tuesday 28th December* Monday 26th December

Scotland public holiday dates

Public Holiday 2021 2022
New Year’s Day Friday 1st January* Monday 3rd Jan*
2nd January Monday 4th January* Monday 3rd January*
Good Friday Friday 2nd April Friday 15th April
Early May bank holiday Monday 3rd May Monday 2nd May
Spring bank holiday Monday 31st May Thursday 2nd June
Platinum Jubilee holiday

Friday 3rd June
Summer bank holiday Monday 2nd August Monday 1st August
St Andrew’s Day Tuesday 30th November Wednesday 30th November
Christmas Day Monday 27th December* Tuesday 27th December*
Boxing Day Tuesday 28th December* Monday 26th December

*these are subsitute bank holdays due to the official date occuring at a weekend.