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2017 Bank Holidays - Plan your trip around the UK & Ireland's public holidays!

Our Bank Holidays page gives you all the information you need to plan your next trip on the upcoming public holidays. Simply select which region you would like to find information on below. Then, after selecting your desired arrival and departure dates you will be presented with a range of available holiday homes which suit you!

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Bank Holidays in the UK & Ireland

New Year's Day
Just imagine having to wake up on New Year’s Day and go to work. Luckily, unless you happen to be a footballer the chances of that happening are not very high because for everyone in the UK and Ireland, the 1st of January is always a bank holiday. That means that no matter how heavy your head feels after a night out celebrating, you can put off those excel spreadsheets for at least another day and focus on the good things in life, such as what to do with the last scraps of turkey you have left over from Christmas.

Although, these celebrations originate in the winter solstice, they have now come to represent new beginnings and the chance to leave behind the passing year's sombre memories, celebrate the good ones and make a fresh start in the next. This may even come in the form of a new year’s resolution, in which a person sets themselves a goal or a target for the future. Some people vow to abstain from chocolate, give up smoking or try to be more positive in their life. However, for many this sense of hope is often short lived as they see their football team crash and burn in the day’s Premier League fixtures.
2nd January
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra day at home to recover from the Christmas period? Well, as per usual the Scots have got it all worked out, carrying the festivities right through to the 2nd of January with a bank holiday in celebration of Hogmanay. This traditional mid-winter festival predates Christianity and until recently actually held more importance than Christmas to the people of Scotland. Originating from pagan rituals which sought to tempt back the sun at the deepest point in winter, Hogmanay is traditionally celebrated by feasting on steak pies, stews and Scotch pancakes. Bonfires are lit in defiance of the dark and in some areas of Scotland, such as Stonehaven, the locals swing fire balls of tar, paper and wire around their heads in a procession leading down to the harbour where they extinguished the balls of fire in the North Sea.

Whilst today, the 2nd of January bank holiday may well be seen as more of a chance to catch your breath following a heavy night out, its roots have not entirely been forgotten. Not least by the many Scots who spend each year with their loved ones and make the most of one last chance to relax before the working year begins.
St. Patrick's Day
To many, St Patrick’s Day is all about donning green and binge-drinking Guinness in an attempt to win an oversized leprechaun hat. However, Ireland’s national day is about much more than alcohol, even if its consumption on this day does offer a clue to the celebration’s beginnings. That’s because the 17th of March was originally recognised in order to celebrate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Since the church deemed that it should also be exempt from the restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol for lent, it became a day upon which the Irish pubic could let loose.

Despite still being a religious day at heart, it has become much more than that for the Irish people, as well as others all over the globe, who take their chance to celebrate all aspects of Irish culture on St. Patrick’s Day year after year. Just go to any Irish pub on this day and you’re sure to find the festivities in full swing as people sing their favourite songs amid a sea of four leaf clovers.
Good Friday
Good Friday is a religious holiday, celebrated as part of the Easter week in which Christians pay tribute to the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, for many non-Christians it also means the beginning of a four day weekend, a chance to visit family in other parts of the country and enough time off to finally paint that shed. So whether you’re abstaining from fish for the day, or drawing up blueprints for your next DIY project, chances are that you’ll still be in bed by midmorning.

This is also a good time to think about taking a trip somewhere since Easter always seems to herald the return of spring. With the children off school and the sun shining once again, families all over the UK head to the likes of Cornwall and Scotland to feel the countryside in their lungs. It goes without saying, though, that holidays and DIY projects are best enjoyed independent of one another if you’re to retain any hope of getting back your deposit.
Easter Monday
It’s the day that Jesus rose from the dead, which is exactly how you might feel on Easter Monday if you overindulged on chocolate the day before. By now those DIY projects will either be about to take shape or fall apart for good. However, if you don’t end up basking in the glory of your new wardrobe, it’s never too late to make a last gasp dash to Ikea, unless it’s already gone 16:00 and your daughter has taken the car down to Devon for the weekend for a holiday with her friends.

This is perhaps the point to consider what you’re going to do next time the Easter holiday rolls around. The four day weekend could be better spent in a holiday cottage in Scotland or seeing the sights of London, Easter egg induced comas notwithstanding. Of course, Easter Monday is also just a great chance to unwind before you have to go back to work, take a trip down to the beach or spend time perfecting that golf swing.
Early May Bank Holiday
May Day is celebrated in many ways across the UK, as people north and south come together to celebrate spring. Traditional activities include Morris dancing, festivities involving a maypole and the crowning of a May Queen, however there is a great wealth of regional variations to how this bank holiday is celebrated. Perhaps one of the most well known is the May Day Run, a 55 mile motorbike race from London to East Sussex ending up at the Jack in the Green festival in Hastings.

The Obby Oss festival in Cornwall is perhaps one of the more out there May Day celebrations, involving two people dressed up as horses who parade through the streets in as part of a fertility dance which dates back hundreds of years. Perhaps the best thing about this bank holiday is that due to its proximity to Easter, it can provide a good opportunity to take a few days off work and still end up with an entire week to yourself. Until the kids start bugging you to take them to the zoo, that is.
Spring Bank Holiday
Whilst there’s nothing particularly special about the spring bank holiday, it’s a day off, which is for most of us enough. In fact, that there are no formal celebrations to adhere to on the final Monday in May is probably even the best thing about it. Free from the pressure to get everything ready for a big event like Christmas, you can just relax at home or have an enjoyable day out with the family. Since the weather is usually brightening up by this time, you might even consider taking a trip further afield to the likes of Scotland or Cornwall.

Heading down to places like London on bank holiday weekends is also often a good idea, especially if you’re looking for a good night out with your friends. On the Sunday of spring bank holiday weekends, bars and clubs are usually packed to the rafters with party goers and there are many special events on for people to enjoy. Wherever you wake up on the Monday morning, it’s sure to come best served with a bacon butty and a hot cup of tea.
June Holiday
In Ireland, the first Monday in June is all about getting outside and making the most of the summer. Whether they’re heading down to the beach, popping out for a picnic in the park or camping with the kids, people are generally out and about enjoying themselves. There’s usually a great deal of events taking place as well, so if you’re feeling fit you might even find yourself running a marathon or enduring the far more exhausting task of going to a music festival.

Alternatively, there’s always the chance to cross the Irish Sea and see what’s going on over in the UK. Spending a romantic weekend in London with your other half is, for example, a great way to spend the June Bank Holiday. It might also present the perfect opportunity to dust off your surfboard and journey south to Cornwall for some water sports while it’s still warm enough to do so. Then again, you could always just stay at home and work your way through a DVD box set. That’s the beauty of bank holidays; you can actually just do whatever you fancy.
Orangeman's Day
On the 12th of July each year the people of Northern Ireland get a bank holiday all to themselves in commemoration of the Battle of Boyne. Known as Orangemen’s Day or sometimes ‘The Glorious Twelfth’, this is a chance for all Northern Irish people to reflect on the war which shaped their country. William III of Orange’s victory over the Catholic King James in 1690 meant that Northern Ireland would go on to be a predominantly Protestant land and in this respect the holiday has also gone on to be about the expression of Republicanism. This usually takes the form of Orange Lodge marches, which are in turn often viewed as provocative by the Catholic community.

Still, the majority of people are probably just glad to have another day off work and want to enjoy Orangeman’s Day as if it were any other bank holiday. For many it might even be time to explore other parts of the UK or get out into the countryside while the weather is still good. Orangeman’s Day is also celebrated in other parts of the UK including Scotland and Liverpool which have historically been home to many Irish people.
August Bank Holiday
If you happen to live in Ireland, you can expect to wake up on the first Monday of August to a feeling of complete comfort. That’s because you will have opened your eyes to the August Bank Holiday and a chance to enjoy the sunny weather or get involved with the many cultural activities taking place on this day. Punters across the land bury their heads in betting slips for a day of horse racing, others head to exhibition rooms across the land to celebrate Irish art and musicians take to the streets to offer their own tribute to the country’s heritage.

For all of those who want to make the most of what Ireland has to offer though, there are also those who prefer to spend the August bank holiday weekend further afield. Since the kids are also off school in August, it’s a good opportunity to show them the sights of London or even take a trip to the Scottish Highlands. As always on a bank holiday, this weekend is all about doing the things that you want to do and recuperating from the working week. You might even be tempted to close your eyes and go back to sleep.
Summer Bank Holiday
It might take some rummaging around the car boot but whatever it takes to find your wellies ahead of the August Bank Holiday, it’s going to be worth it, especially if you’re one of the thousands who make the yearly pilgrimage to the likes of the Leeds and Reading music festival. For everyone else, this weekend might well present the final chance to make the most of the summer, in which case it’s probably best to forget the wellies and get straight out into the sun.

London’s Notting Hill Carnival attracts over 2 million people each year and also makes a great day out on the Summer Bank Holiday. This is the second largest street festival in the world and attracts visitors from all over who come together to celebrate West Indian Culture. For many others, it’s simply seen as a relaxing weekend at home and an excuse to break out the toolbox for a spot of home improvements. No doubt even harder to find than the wellies.
October Bank Holiday
Often falling on the day after daylight saving time comes to an end, Ireland’s October Bank Holiday is a final chance to take a little respite before the winter takes hold. It’s common for friends and families to get together for a meal celebrate traditional food and drink or rustle up Halloween costumes ahead of the 31st. In recent years the bank holiday, which takes place on the final Monday of October has even become known as the Halloween Holiday due to the amount of pumpkins and ghostly characters on show at this time of the year.

However, for many the October Bank Holiday is about much more than about bursting out of your kids’ bedroom closet with a sheet over your head. Runners from all over the world head to Ireland on this day for the Dublin marathon. Since its inception in 1980 the event has become increasingly international, causing something of a drought in terms of home grown winners in recent times. In fact 2013 was the first time in 20 years that an Irish competitor won both the men’s and women’s events, seeing Sean Hehir and Maria McCambridge take gold.
St. Andrew's Day
As the patron saint of Scotland, it’s no surprise that St Andrew gets an entire day to himself. Legend has it that on the morning of his battle against the Angles in 832 AD, a cross shaped cloud appeared in the sky which led him to victory and thus inspired the design for Scotland’s national flag, known as the Saltire. Plenty examples of this flag can be spotted on the 30th of November each year as Scots celebrate St Andrew’s Day, along with their national heritage and culture.

Traditional activities such as ceilidh dancing, readings of Scottish literature and bagpipe playing are all highlights of the St Andrew’s Day festivities. In addition to this, a large party is held in Glasgow city centre in celebration of all things Scottish, attracting people from far and wide. To many Scots, St Andrew’s Day is the first of the three major winter festivals including Hogmanay and Burns Night. For the rest of us, it’s merely a chance to visit Scotland and soak up the atmosphere on one of the most vibrant evenings of the calendar.
Christmas Day
Christmas Day is the day on which Christians believe that their lord and saviour Jesus Christ was born. However, for many it is just the chance to spend quality time with loved ones, exchange gifts and feast on food and drink. Although the holiday itself only takes place on the 25th of December, Christmas fever tends to take hold of the UK and Ireland for the whole month with Christmas trees, decorations and Santa’s grottos being set up everywhere you look.

Although there are undoubtedly regional variations on how Christmas is celebrated, there is a unanimous feeling of festive spirit. In the run up to Christmas Day people show great kindness to one another and engage in many community events including carol singing and charity galas. It’s a time for reconnecting with old friends, watching over the top television specials and keeping each other warm as winter takes hold. So whether you’re wrapped up tight at home with the Die Hard box set or down at your local raising a glass of mulled wine to the good times, make sure you have a merry Christmas!
Boxing Day
Boxing Day is the perfect chance to recover from the rigors of Christmas Day, which can at times push people’s energy levels even further than it does their waistlines. Its name can be traced back to the Christmas boxes which employers used to give to their workers on the 26th of December containing small gifts such as food or clothing. These days the focus is more on spending time with family, watching football and eating turkey sandwiches.

All in all Boxing Day is about lounging around the house and making the most of the festive fever, free from the worries of day to day life. You might like to take a Christmas stroll through the woods or take the kids down to the park on their new bikes. Whatever you end up doing, it’s bound to be a relaxing day which will help you come to terms with the fact that work is set to resume in a day or two.
St. Stephen's Day
The 26th of December is known as St Stephen’s Day, or sometimes also The Day of the Wren, in Ireland. On this day people traditionally dress up in tattered cloths and straw hats, going from door to door to spread good will by singing, dancing and playing music. Each ‘wrenboy’ carries with him a fake wren calling upon various legends which link the life of Jesus Christ with wrens. Various mummer’s festivals are also held in the likes of County Kerry and Galway to celebrate St Stephen’s Day.

St Stephen himself is known as the first martyr of Christianity who, according to the bible, was stoned to death after denouncing the Jewish authorities who had accused him of blasphemy. This act of defiance was enough to earn him a saintly status within the church and his sacrifice is remembered on St Stephen’s Day, which is also mentioned in ‘Good King Wenceslas’, a traditional Christmas carol.

2017 Bank Holidays in the UK & Ireland

If you’re looking to get the most out of your days off this year, there’s nothing better than taking a trip on a bank holiday weekend! You don’t even need to take any time off work, just pack your things and get ready to spend the weekend in a holiday home.

Bank holidays are great opportunities to visit friends and relatives on religious holidays, go on a road trip or make the most of the nice weather in the spring and summer months. No matter where you visit on a bank holiday, you’re sure to find something exciting to do!