Home » Spring Bank Holiday in the UK: When and how to celebrate, how did it begin and more

Spring Bank Holiday in the UK: When and how to celebrate, how did it begin and more

The last Monday of May is a spring bank holiday in the UK. Many establishments in the UK will be closed and public transport may be affected according to local customs of the city or county. Which are the establishments that are open or shut, what are the origins of this Spring Bank Holiday and other facts related to this will be explored.

Is it a holiday?

For members of the general public, most schools and business establishments are shut during the Spring Bank Holiday. It is a holiday.

How is it observed?

Tourist spots in the UK experience increased footfall as many people take that holiday during the extended weekend. Many individuals take that holiday to also trek, visit family members, or read that novel in a laidback manner in the comfort of their homes. This time is also spent in undertaking various gardening activities or even carrying out maintenance of their homes.

There are also customs associated with this festival in different places. For instance, in Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth in Gloucestershire, people race down a steep hill chasing a large round of cheese. The hill is steep and the first person crossing the finish line wins a Double Gloucester cheese weighing about 3.5kgs. The tradition may have been started by the Romans.

‘Tossing the Sheaf’

Similarly, in Endon in Staffordshire, local men hold a competition known as ‘Tossing the Sheaf’, in which the participants compete to see who can toss a bale of straw, the highest. In other places, public places are dressed up and dances are held.

How did it begin?

Initially, the spring bank holiday began as the Monday after Pentecost. It is also known as Whitsun or Whit Monday in the United Kingdom. It is the enactment of ‘The Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971’ that shifted this holiday to the last Monday of May. This was done after a trial period of this arrangement from 1965-1970.


1. Does the Spring Bank Holiday always occur in May?
After the enactment of ‘The Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971’, it is observed on the last Monday of May. However, in 2002, the holiday was moved to June 4 to permit an extra bank holiday that was scheduled for June 3. In 2022, this was observed on June 2.

2. Is the stock market opened on Spring Bank Holiday in the UK?
The London Stock Exchange is shut today May 27 following the Spring Bank Holiday in the UK. It will reopen on May 28.

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