With the UK receiving an extra Bank Holiday on Monday 8th May, to mark King Charles III Coronation, it’s got us thinking about Bank Holidays.

Although Bank Holidays have now been adopted by countries all over the world, the idea originated in the UK!

Did you know these interesting facts about UK Bank Holidays?

1) Bank Holidays began as holidays for bank workers

Bank Holidays were originally established as holidays for bank workers, so this is where the term ‘Bank Holidays’ comes from.

The Bank Holidays Act of 1871 was introduced by the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir John Lubbock, a liberal MP and banker, to encourage leisure time for bankers and improve their well-being.

Over time, Bank Holidays became nationwide public holidays which most businesses have adopted and have formed an important part of the UK calendar.

2) Bank Holidays started with a cricket match

The first official Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom was on 5th August 1871. It was a designated day off so bank employees could attend a cricket match between England and Australia, at the Kennington Oval.

3) We have fewer Bank Holidays than most other places in the world

There are eight Bank Holidays in England and Wales, whereas Cambodia has the most Bank Holidays in the world with twenty-eight.

Scotland has nine Bank Holidays, with the 2nd January and St Andrew’s Day, but not Easter Monday. Ireland has ten Bank Holidays, with St Patrick’s Day and Orangemen’s Day.

4) There were just four Bank Holidays

In 1871 four Bank Holidays were introduced: Easter Monday, Whit Monday (now replaced by the Spring Bank Holiday), the first Monday in August and Boxing Day.

Then it was increased in 1971 to as it stands today, eight for England and Wales, nine for Scotland and ten for Ireland.

 5) Changes to Bank Holidays

In 2011 the Coalition government attempted to move May Day, associated with Morris Dancing and dancing around the maypole, to October and rename it UK Day or Trafalgar Day, but there was too much opposition that it would damage the May Day festivals.

In 2021 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) called for four additional Bank Holidays, but the requests were not granted. It will be interesting to see whether any further changes are made to UK Bank Holidays.

The dates of Bank Holidays are usually announced well in advance, to allow businesses and individuals to plan ahead.

Planning ahead for this year’s Bank Holidays

Avoid staff shortages

If your business plans to remain fully open or operate on reduced hours, it’s important to maintain the correct staffing levels by efficiently managing holiday and staff absences.

LeavePlanner makes it simple to set staff leave limits and blackout periods, to ensure sufficient staffing levels at all times.

Update rotas

If your opening hours are due to change, it’s vital to set new working hours and rotas for employees. Administrators can do this simply with LeavePlanner.

Organise cover

You may need to arrange cover staff to meet the demands of your business. LeavePlanner can help manage shift timetables, making the whole process simple and straightforward.

Automatically populate Bank Holidays

LeavePlanner will automatically populate Bank Holidays and calculate the employee’s remaining holiday allowance, saving you valuable time.

For a free no obligation 30 day trial call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email support@leaveplanner.com

Pssst! Check out our new all-in-one system, HR Planner, which includes all of the LeavePlanner features your are familiar with but also added HR functionality such as a Company Directory, Documentation and Expenses. 


For any queries, call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email support@leaveplanner.com