What are bank holidays? And why do we have them?

Last updated at 14:37
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If the weather's nice, bank holidays can be a lovely time to get away to the seaside!

Everyone loves a bank holiday! But where did they come from and why do we have them?

Monday 26 August is a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, meaning lots of adults will have an extra day off work.

In England and Wales, there are eight bank holidays every year, while in Scotland there are nine and in Northern Ireland there are 10.

Find out more about them below.

Why do we have bank holidays?
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We have a Victorian gentleman by the name Sir John Lubbock to thank for bank holidays!

Bank holidays were first introduced by a man named Sir John Lubbock who was a scientific writer, banker and politician, and the first Baron of Avebury. (He is also reported to have studied ants and tried to teach his poodle how to read!)

In 1871, he drafted the Bank Holiday Bill. When it became law, he created the first official bank holidays.

Initially, it was just banks and financial buildings that would close, which is where the name comes from.

But as time went on, businesses, shops, schools and the government all joined in.

People don't have to take off a bank holiday if they don't want to - it all depends on their job contract.

Royals can also add extra bank holidays if they want to.

For example, the millennium bank holiday on 31 December 1999 and the Golden Jubilee bank holiday on Monday 3 June 2002 were extra special days when many adults got an extra day off work.

When are bank holidays?

Here is a full list of all of the annual bank holidays that take place across the UK:

  • New Year's Day (UK)
  • 2 January (Scotland only)
  • St Patrick's Day (Northern Ireland only)
  • Good Friday (UK)
  • Easter Monday (England and Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Early May Bank Holiday (UK)
  • Spring Bank Holiday (UK)
  • Battle of the Boyne (Northern Ireland only)
  • First Monday in August (Scotland only)
  • Last Monday in August (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • St. Andrew's Day (Scotland only)
  • Christmas Day (UK)
  • Boxing Day (UK)
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Christmas day is the most well known bank holiday

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