Early May Bank Holiday

Observed as a national public holiday in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey, the Early May Bank Holiday is a day when many people have the day off and banks are closed.

It’s also a day when some businesses and shops close their doors for the day and postal services do not deliver mail. Since this holiday is usually observed on a Monday (although it was observed on a Friday in 2020), people use the three-day weekend to spend time with loved ones, take a short trip, or engage in other fun activities.

The History of Early May Bank Holiday

The Early May Bank Holiday began as a public holiday in 1978 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However, in Scotland, it had already been observed since the 1871 Bank Holiday Act was passed. It’s observed on the first Monday in May, but in 1995, it was moved to the second Monday of May to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. That was only a temporary change, however.

In 2011, it was debated by the British Parliament whether this holiday should be observed in May at all. They reasoned that perhaps it would be better to move it to October because that would space out the bank holidays more evenly, and there aren’t many holidays after the August Bank Holiday. That decision didn’t gain much traction, and it was decided that the holiday would remain in May.

Important Facts About Bank Holidays in the UK

Since we’re on the subject of Bank Holidays in the UK, we thought we’d take a moment out of our day to talk about it. Below are some facts that we’ve learned about Bank Holidays through our research.

  • Up until 1834, there were thirty-three public holidays in the United Kingdom.
  • Sir John Lubbock authored the Bank Holidays Act of 1871. This act made official four public holidays.
  • Bank Holidays were called St. Lubbock’s Day for a short while.
  • England and Wales only have eight public holidays. The U.S. has eleven public holidays, and India has twenty-one!
  • The only country with fewer public holidays than England and Wales is Mexico, which has only seven public holidays.

Observing Early May Bank Holiday

This is merely a day off for most people, who take advantage of the three-day weekend it creates to spend time with family, head out into nature, or take a short holiday trip. People also use the time to post on social media using the hashtag #EarlyMayBankHoliday.

Where is it celebrated?
Isle of Man (Public holiday)Jersey (Public holiday)United Kingdom (Bank holiday) Show all
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 6 Monday
Next year (2025)
May 5 Monday
Last year (2023)
May 1 Monday