Public holidays in London

London has around eight public holidays every year, when banks and many businesses are closed. Plan your trip with these and school holidays in mind.
  • There are around eight public holidays a year in the UK.

  • Some businesses and attractions in London may be closed or have limited opening hours.

  • Public transport may also be reduced.

  • There is no public transport on Christmas Day and a limited service on Boxing Day. Most attractions, shops and restaurants are closed. 

  • On Easter Sunday large shops have to be closed by law, though small shops can open. Public transport may be reduced over Easter. 

Public holidays, or "bank holidays" as they are known, are spread throughout the year and mark religious, historical and special events.

Many of London's shops, attractions and businesses stay open throughout the public holidays. But be sure to check opening times before visiting on these days as some will open for reduced hours and others might not open at all.

Public transport may also be affected, with reduced services. Always plan your journey in advance on the Transport for London website.

Public holiday dates

 

Public Holiday 2017 2018
New Year's Day Monday 2 January* Monday 1 January
Good Friday Friday 14 April Friday 30 March
Easter Monday Monday 17 April Monday 2 April
Early May Bank Holiday Monday 1 May Monday 7 May
Spring Bank Holiday Monday 29 May Monday 28 May
Summer Bank Holiday Monday 28 August Monday 27 August
Christmas Day Monday 25 December Tuesday 25 December
Boxing Day Tuesday 26 December Wednesday 26 December

*substitute day as bank holiday falls on a weekend 

Christmas holidays and closures

The one time of year when London feels quiet is on Christmas Day (25 December) and Boxing Day (26 December).

There is no public transport on Christmas Day, and a reduced service on Boxing Day and the Christmas bank holidays.

Most London attractions and shops and many restaurants are closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Easter holidays

On Easter Sunday, large shops have to close by law. Small shops, pharmacies, airport and train station shops are allowed to open.

There may be reduced public transport over the Easter bank holidays. Most attractions will be open over Easter.

School holidays

School term dates change from year to year and differ from school to school. There are sometimes differences between term dates for local authority-run schools and independent schools.

Traditionally, there are three school terms, with short mid-term (half term) breaks and a longer break over the summer:

Summer holiday: late July to early September
Autumn half term: final week of October
Christmas holidays: late December to early January
Spring half term: one week in mid-February
Easter holidays: two weeks either side of Easter Sunday
Summer half term: one week end of May/early June

There are further differences with many local authorities now adopting a standard school year. This is made up of six terms, each of a similar length.