English Bank Holidays

I will be visiting London during an English Bank Holiday. What can I expect will be closed or unavailable?

Banks, obviously. Pretty well all government offices. Most shops, except for corner convenience stores. Libraries. Schools. Universities. The Post Office. Probably swimming pools, sports centres and the like.

Businesses catering specifically to tourists will mostly be open. Hotels and most restaurants will be open, except for restaurants in mostly commercial/shopping areas, which will mostly close. Pubs will be open but many coffee shops will close. Buses and trains will run.

Parks will be open and, unless the weather is wet, crowded.

To some degree the extent of closure will depend on which bank holiday you are speaking of. Practically everything closes on Christmas Day, obviously.

Not really. Most English supermarkets operate Sunday opening hours on Bank Holidays.


Not in London.

On reduced Sunday services. The London Underground will run a weekend style service, presumably. Many inter-city trains may be replaced by buses or not run (due to engineering works)

Basically, nowadays, Bank Holidays are more or less business as usual for shops etc, but for stuff like businesses (which aren’t shops/restaurants/etc) its a holiday.

Heavy rain is pretty much guaranteed on a bank holiday.

Most large stores, including large supermarkets, garden centres and DIY stores will be closed if the bank holiday in question is Easter Sunday.

It really depends where you are. As already pointed out, London will seem to function at 75% normality. If you’re out in small towns or the countryside, nothing will be open, apart from the pubs.

As pointed out, trains will run, but there are often changes to timetables for engineering work; the currently-planned ones are listed here, and for the London Underground

How about museums?

The three big museums that I tried have nothing on their websites for Bank Holiday opening, but you can always phone them:

(All with +44 international code)…

British Museum: 020 7323 8000
Victoria & Albert: 020 7942 2000
Natural History Museum: 020 7942 5011

Any others, you can Google yourself :stuck_out_tongue:

From experience in the last few years, the BM typically closes on Bank Holidays.