What can you do on bank holidays and where do bank holidays come from?

26 May 2020

Events Food + Drink Summer

Bank holidays are a great way to spend some extra time with loved ones, or even indulge in a little down time. But what can you do on bank holidays, and where do they come from?

Although they often feel too short, bank holidays provide a short break from a hectic working life. Despite the name, bank holidays aren’t a rest day for bankers only – banks, and other businesses including shops and restaurants close for a day. As bank holidays either fall on a Friday or Monday, they result in an elongated weekend – the perfect opportunity for you to do something extra special with your time.

With a spare day off, you might want to see friends and loved ones, or treat yourself to a bit of TLC by indulging in some you time, but what can you actually do to make sure this extra day of freedom doesn’t go to waste? We take a look at how you can make your next bank holiday the best one yet. 

The history of bank holidays

The government was originally much more generous with their designation of bank holidays: In the early 19th century, the Bank of England had decided to select around 33 saints’ days and religious festivals as holidays, but in 1834 this was lowered to just four – May 1, November 1, Good Friday and Christmas day.

It wasn’t until 1871 that bank holidays were enshrined into law – a banker named Sir John Lubbock introduced the Bank Holidays Act, which introduced the concept of holiday pay with four set holidays throughout the UK (Easter Monday, the first Monday in August, the 26th December, and Whit Monday). These dates did not include Christmas and Easter, which were already public holidays, and were already allocated as days off through common law.

Unlike our bank holidays nowadays, the original bank holidays had a religious precedence behind them – they were seen as times of religious festivals and agricultural holidays. Although our public holidays – such as Christmas and Easter – still carry religious undertones, bank holidays are now merely seen as a way to take a break from a busy work life.

The development of bank holidays

To this day, bank holidays are still enshrined in the law, although the Bank Holidays Act was repealed in 1971 and replaced with the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 which covered both public holidays and bank holidays under its legislation.

Not all bank holidays we now enjoy were originally suggested by Lubbock – May Day bank holiday was introduced in 1978 by the Labour Government, and it was thought to be associated with the International Workers’ Rights day, which fought for better working conditions for employees. However, its precise roots are unknown, as May Day also has ancient Celtic and Germanic ties, as well as links to the Christian celebration of fertility.

Now, the UK government recognises eight permanent bank holidays per year: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, Late Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

What can you do on a bank holiday?

Bank holidays range throughout the year, so you’ll want to plan your day to suit the weather: for example, if it’s a summer’s bank holiday taking place in August, you may want to enjoy the outside sunshine with friends over a few drinks. We’ve explored some of the different ways for you to enjoy your bank holidays all year round.

Plan an activity

Creating memories makes for a bank holiday to be remembered. Although some businesses may be shut, many still opt to remain open – find a company which is offering something for all of the family to enjoy. Perhaps you go on a treetop adventure to work up an appetite for an Easter roast, or visit a public outside swimming pool to cool down on a hot day in August.

For a fail-safe activity, why not visit us and dive into the world of chocolate? Our chocolate experiences cover everything from a tasting adventure of chocolate, to a children’s workshop, ensuring each family member can fully enjoy this day out.

Feed the masses

Sharing a meal with family and friends is one of life’s simple pleasures. Why not celebrate the start of May with a BBQ – weather permitting, of course. We’ve taken a look at how to host the best BBQ for you and your loved ones to enjoy, resulting in a perfect bank holiday.

Or, if the temperature’s have really heated up, why not throw your own summer party in August? You don’t need to go all out with your cooking here – just whip up a few nibbles and bites for your guests to snack on as they sip on ice cold cocktails throughout the day (after all, they’ll need something to line their stomachs to prevent a next-day hangover!)

If the weather isn’t suited to hosting guests outsides, why not invite a few friends over for a meal? It can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be – just make sure you’re not putting any undue stress on yourself. Remember, bank holidays are meant to be a day of rest!

If you’ve been invited to a lunch with friends or an evening meal with family members, showing up with a bottle of booze is sure to win you favours. Our Vintage Red Wine has a wonderfully rich and spicy profile, which leaves a freshness in the mouth and pairs beautifully with red meats or earthy vegetables. 

A bit of TLC

Sometimes, a bank holiday really asks for a simple bit of me time. If this applies to you, then don’t feel guilty about it; self-indulgence is necessary every now and then. For us, there’s no other way to treat your body than by having a pamper session.

Our beauty products offer everything you need for the perfect relaxing evening: sink into a warm bath, scented with comforting notes of cacao and almond with our Cacao & Almond Bath & Body Oil, layer on our Liquid Chocolate Body Mask for exquisitely smooth skin, and breathe in the soothing aromas of our Cacao & Vanilla Votive Candle. All of our beauty products contain natural ingredients only, meaning they’re kind to your skin, whilst also smelling divine.

Of course, no self-indulgent evening would be complete without the addition of a sweet treat. This bank holiday, treat yourself to one of our chocolate creations – whether you have a penchant for the deep, bitter notes of dark chocolate, or prefer fruitier flavours coupled with milk chocolate, we have something to satisfy your cocoa desires.

However you choose to spend your bank holiday, we hope you fully enjoy your day off, and spend it the way you want to – we know we will!