Bank holidays in 2020 and how to get the most out of them

An unexpected bank holiday is one of the great joys of working life. A surprise three-day weekend, where you can laze around a pub garden on a Monday afternoon? What a treat.

But it's even better when you plan your bank holidays around your annual leave, using tactical bookings to maximise your number of days off in a row.

Below, we'll remind you of the important bank holiday dates for 2020, with a particular booking trick that'll only work this year.

What are bank holidays?

Bank holidays are national public holidays in the United Kingdom. The dates are liable to change each year, and are decided by the UK parliament.

There are eight bank holidays each year in England and Wales, nine in Scotland, and ten in Northern Ireland.

The majority of businesses close on bank holidays, but employees aren't guaranteed the right to time off. That said, most reasonable businesses will give an annual leave allowance that includes bank holidays off.

2020 Bank Holiday Dates in England and Wales

Date Weekday Occasion
10 April Friday Good Friday
13 April Monday Easter Monday
8 May Friday Early May bank holiday (VE day)
25 May Monday Spring bank holiday
31 August Monday Summer bank holiday
25 December Friday Christmas Day
28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)

2020 Bank Holiday Dates in Scotland

Date Weekday Occasion
10 April Friday Good Friday
8 May Friday Early May bank holiday (VE day)
25 May Monday Spring bank holiday
3 August Monday Summer bank holiday
30 November Monday St Andrew’s Day
25 December Friday Christmas Day
28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)

2020 Bank Holiday Dates in Northern Ireland

Date Weekday Occasion
17 March Tuesday St Patrick’s Day
10 April Friday Good Friday
13 April Monday Easter Monday
8 May Friday Early May bank holiday (VE day)
25 May Monday Spring bank holiday
13 July Monday Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day) (substitute day)
31 August Monday Summer Bank Holiday
25 December Friday Christmas Day
28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)

How to maximise your 2020 leave by working around bank holidays

The way bank holidays fall in 2020 means that anyone working a Monday-Friday job in England and Wales can get a pretty massive holiday by cleverly booking annual leave around them.

You might want to get on this quick, though - the secret’s already out, and there’s probably a few savvy folk in the office who’ve already nabbed the leave places!

Over the Easter weekend in April, you can take the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th as annual leave and end up with 10 days off in a row.

You can also do a similar 4-day booking to create a 9-day holiday around the bank holidays in May and August.

Christmas is the big one, though, and you can wangle your way into 16 days off while only using 7 days of annual leave. As Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year, with Boxing Day being moved to the following Monday(!) that means you can take the 21st to the 24th of December as leave, along with the 29th, 30th and 31st, and you won't need to return to work until the 4th January 2021. Get those bookings in while you can!