By Ruby Lizon-Walker

2/1/2024

Last year was a bank holiday fest, stuffed to the brim with holiday opportunities that even had some people questioning whether there may have been too many.

Tweet from 2020 reading: Anyone else starting to think we get too many bank holidays?
Tweet from 2023 reading: Three bank holidays in a month is in fact too many bank holidays in a month.


On the other hand, a lot of people took the two early May bank holiday weekends to get a huge ten-day holiday booked with only four days of annual leave, leaving many offices (the Savoo office included) practically barren during the first half of May 2023.

So how many bank holidays are there in 2024, and will we get another chance to take the holiday of a lifetime? The sad and short answer is no, there are currently no additional bank holidays in 2024.

We’ve pulled together a guide on how to maximise holidays in 2024, despite the lack of extra days off.


When are the bank holidays in 2024?

In your average year in the UK with no extra bank holidays (not including regional bank holidays in Scotland and Wales), there are eight officially recognised bank holidays. These are:

  1. New Years Day
  2. Good Friday and Easter Monday
  3. Early May bank holiday
  4. Spring bank holiday
  5. Summer bank holiday
  6. Christmas day
  7. Boxing day


It’s no secret that one of the best ways to get the most holidays in 2024 is to use these bank holidays to your advantage.


Times you can get a 7+ day holiday with less than four days of annual leave

You can get a seven-day holiday by taking off any bank holiday weekend and the four days surrounding it. Even better, with a bank holiday on either side of the Easter weekend, you can get a seven-day holiday with only three days off.

The same is true at Christmas. Wednesday, December 25th and Thursday 26th are bank holidays. This means that by taking Friday 27th, Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st off, you could get an eight-day holiday From December 24th until January 2nd! (Note: Christmas Eve is not a bank holiday but many companies allow workers to finish early. New Year’s Day is a bank holiday.)

With Tuesday and Wednesday the cheapest days to travel, according to our investigation on flight prices we advise flying out on a Wednesday. This means taking two or three days off before the bank holiday, and flying back the following Tuesday - just one or two days off after the bank holiday.


What are the UK school holidays for 2024?

The UK school holidays in 2024 are as follows:

  1. Winter holidays from December to January
  2. February half term mid Feb
  3. Easter Holidays in March and/or April
  4. May half term late May
  5. Summer holidays begin mid-July
  6. Half term in October


Which bank holidays are outside the main school holidays?

The early May bank holiday is the only bank holiday that falls outside of the UK school holiday dates. If your New Year’s wish for 2024 was to have a vacation without noisy children and surcharged prices, this could be the opportunity you were looking for.

Calendar for May 2024 displaying the early May bank holiday

If, on the other hand, you are a parent on a budget, the school holidays can present some real challenges in terms of getting away with your family. My own experience of travelling as a family on a budget was in September of 2009. My family and I got on a red-eye flight back from Greece, arrived back in England at 5am, and drove directly to school for the first day because doing so was the only way we could afford to get away during the summer break.

We spoke to a UK mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, about school holiday price surges and how this impacts her time spent on holiday with her son.

"Taking kids on holiday, it made more financial sense to take them out of school and say they were sick. You can get fined for taking a child out of school in term time, but facing the £80 fine was cheaper than the extra £400 to fly on a Saturday!"

Our anonymous mum revealed that although she doesn't want to have to travel in term time, that this is the only way she can make sure her son gets to experience holidays while he is young. At Savoo we don't advise doing this as it can get you into serious trouble. However, this experience shared by many UK parents highlights just how much research is needed to get the best holiday pricing, as well as the startling cost of travelling during the school holidays.


Why were there extra bank holidays in 2022 and 2023?

In 2022, two royal events with a lot of significance meant that the UK received two additional days off. One, planned, for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, and then another, unplanned, for the Queen’s State Funeral just a few months later in September.

The extra bank holiday in 2023 was also for royal reasons; the King’s Coronation on May 6th meant that May 8th (following in the steps of the Monday before it) was also a bank holiday.

Some savvy holiday-makers figured out that, departing on April 29th (using the bank holiday on May 1st and May 8th and just four days of annual leave in between), workers were able to jet off on a ten-day holiday.

With Easter falling any time between March and April, this can also change the number of bank holidays in spring. 2023’s late Easter might also have made it feel like there were more days off than usual, turning the usual four bank holidays between March and May into five bank holidays from April to May.

Tweet from 2022 reading: There are too many bank holidays in April and May.



What is the reason for an extra bank holiday?

There are only a few reasons the UK might be gifted with an extra bank holiday at the behest of the prime minister. In the past hundred years, there have only been a total of ten extra bank holidays, proving just how rare they are (and how exceptional the past two years have been). Some examples of why we might be given an extra bank holiday are:

  • A royal wedding
  • Royal jubilees
  • A Coronation
  • A State funeral

There was also a one-off for the millennium year on December 31st, 1999.


While weddings, coronations and funerals are harder to predict, the next Jubilee lined up will be the 25-year Silver Jubilee of King Charles. Following the coronation on May 8th in 2023, you can expect that the next extra bank holiday could be on May 8th 2048.


Other tips for saving on your 2024 holiday booking

  1. Check for local events
  2. Have a read of our article how to save money on your hotel booking
  3. Travel outside of the school holiday times mentioned above
  4. Use a discount code for your travel provider (some of the top travel deals can be found on our travel page