Public holidays in London

Find out about the capital's public holidays, Christmas closures and half-term dates ahead of your trip to London.
  • 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. Make sure to check opening times before visiting on these days, as some only open for reduced hours and others might not open at all.

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

Public holiday dates

Public holiday 2019 2020
New Year's Day Tuesday 1 January Wednesday 1 January
Good Friday Friday 19 April Friday 10 April
Easter Monday Monday 22 April Monday 13 April
Early May bank holiday Monday 6 May Friday 8 May
Spring bank holiday Monday 27 May Monday 25 May
Summer bank holiday Monday 26 August Monday 31 August
Christmas Day Wednesday 25 December Friday 25 December
Boxing Day Thursday 26 December Monday 28 December (substitute day)

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, as well as 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 are 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.

Things to do in London on a bank holiday weekend

A bank holiday in London provides the perfect chance to discover more of the city, from its top attractions and family activities, to exploring new areas of the capital. Pick up a sightseeing pass to see many of London's top sights in one weekend and keep a look out for special events.

Start the year on a high with activities on New Year's Day in London, enjoy an action-packed Easter weekend in the capital, celebrate spring during the early-May bank holiday and the Spring bank holiday later in the month, or soak up the sun and carnival atmosphere over the summer bank holiday weekend in London. Towards the end of the year, there are many fun Christmas activities, including unique things to do on Christmas Day.