Bank holidays. Yay! The perfect excuse for a day out or, as me and my small folk prefer, a day lazing in front of the telly. Indeed, yesterday – August Bank Holiday – was typically dull and rainy, so we stayed in and watched Disney movies all day. Parents secretly enjoy days like this, even if they say they don’t…
In Britain, we have 8 bank holidays each year including Christmas Day and Boxing Day. We sometimes even sneak in an extra one when a Royal decides to get married (hurry up Harry, we want a day off!).
But why do we have them? Bank holidays were traditionally the days that the banks were shut so that their staff could go off for a jolly to the beach or to their mum’s for lunch. Bank holidays started way back in 1871 when workers were given 4 days off a year. In the 1970s, the trade unions stamped their feet a lot to get better rights for workers, and hey presto! 4 more bank holidays were added to the British calendar. Hooray!
These days, many shops, restaurants and places of interest open on Bank Holidays, though the banks and schools remain closed. If you are unlucky enough to have to work on a Bank Holiday, you may get paid a bit extra that day, which makes up for the fact that you’re missing a re-run of The Sound of Music on the telly.
5 British Bank Holiday Activities:
- A trip to the seaside in the rain
- A long country walk in the rain
- Waiting in a queue of traffic on the M1
- Unsuccessfully hunting for a bargain in the end-of-season sales
- Moaning about the rain
(Please note: these activities may not apply to all British families; many thoroughly enjoy the day and make good use of their time together)