In the United Kingdom, Ireland and some other Commonwealth countries, there are public holidays known as ‘bank holidays’. Heard of them? Of course you have, blimey, you live in the UK – and there’s nothing us Brits look forward to more than a day off. Or sun… Yeah, sun, definitely the sun.
On bank holidays workers get time off or extra wages (if applicable to the position held), banks and certain shops close for business, and things around the island slowly come to a halt. It is a time when snow freezes over in mid-air, rivers stop flowing, and the stars dull their glow – all, all look forward to the next Bank Holiday!
How did it all start?
Quoted from the internet, “Until 1834, the Bank of England observed about 33 saints’ days and religious festivals as holidays, but in that year this was reduced to four: 1 May (May Day), 1 November (All Saints’ Day), Good Friday and Christmas Day. In 1871, the first legislation relating to bank holidays was passed when Liberal politician and banker Sir John Lubbock introduced the Bank Holidays Act 1871, which specified the days in the table below. Under the Act, no person was compelled to make any payment or to do any act upon a bank holiday which he would not be compelled to do or make on Christmas Day or Good Friday, and the making of a payment or the doing of an act on the following day was equivalent to doing it on the holiday. People were so grateful that some called the first Bank Holidays St. Lubbock’s Days for a while. Scotland was treated separately because of its separate traditions: for example, New Year is a more important holiday there.
Okay, now, the Act did not include”—wait, no, I’m not going to get into all that. It will bore you and not teach you that much, since it’s mostly a bunch of dates strewn about, interspersed with names and locations and all other kinds of dry, dull info.
That’s why Hipper wanted to give you a comprehensive list of 10 different things to do on a Bank holiday. All are fun, relaxing and good for you.
- Get some sleep. Today, most of our workforce is underpaid, overworked and lacking sleep. This is, of course, true all over the world. However, this is your chance to catch up. First of all, turn off all electronic devices where you might be reached. Second of all, send the kids (if you have them) to your mother, father, brother, why, even the milkman will do. Third, pull down the shades – we need to create an airtight, dark vacuum. Fourth, shut out all noise. You can either do this by using earplugs, noise cancelling headphones (these might be a tad hard to sleep with, though), or barricading yourself in your fortress of solitude. Fifth, sleep. Cancel all plans, meetings, social appointments, whatever it is that you had so enthusiastically planned for this year’s Summer Bank holiday. Sixth and last, sleep some more.
- Go out into the park, woods, or any other form of greenery. Granted, this is a much inferior alternative to point number 1 in this list (to the author of this article at least), but hey… to each their own. Spend some time breathing in the fresh air, speeding up the blood flow, activating those rusted muscles of yours confined in an office for 40+ hours a week. You’ll thank us. Then, after you’re done, return to point number one – sleep.
- Do nothing.
- Spend some quality time with your family. Whether you enjoy nature, sports, reading, watching movies, or TV shows, find something to do with them. You’ll end up thanking us – for in a world so fast and ruthless and full of information and obligations, we tend to forget the people we love the most. Don’t be that person.
- Buy some flowers and cards for the people you love. Well, okay, that’s not really an ideal way to spend your Bank Holiday, but more of a shameless plug for Hipper.com, the greatest online retailer of quality flowers and cards in the UK. Heck, go back to sleeping or walking through the woods – they are time much better spent on your day off (you can come back to Hipper’s world of delight some other day).
- Get a massage or a relaxing day at the spa. Transport your body and soul as far as possible from the stresses of the everyday.
- Read a book. This summer’s Bank’s Holiday is an ideal opportunity for you to relax, unwind, and reset for the upcoming workweek. Much like with item number one, disconnect any and all links to the outside world – and immerse yourself into the long-forgotten world of literature.
- Watch a movie.
- Watch a movie while reading a book. Wait, no, scratch that, that’s not going to work.
- Onwards down to Margate or Brighton pier! Not only are both seafronts beautiful, but the entrance to the fun fairs are free and rather enjoyable. For the whole family. No, it doesn’t matter that you’re 56 and greying, you can still ride the Ferris wheel with gusto.
This sums up our shabby to-do list for this year’s Summer Bank Holidays. To tell you the truth, you’re probably not going to do anything differently than during a regular weekend, so we spared you repeating ourselves. We only wish for you to have fun, relax, and use this opportunity to learn something new and connect with your loved ones.
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, there are few things us Brits look forward to as much as the sun and Bank Holidays, so use them wisely. They are a time of leisure, a time of joy, and a time of introspection.
Enjoy your Summer Bank Holiday, and good luck!