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Why Are They Called ‘Bank’ Holidays?

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If you’re looking for bank holiday hotel deals in London, you go online, find what you’re looking for and book it. Nowadays, you can do it all on your phone in five minutes.

There are lots of bank holiday deals in London hotels (the best deals are, of course, at The Rathbone) and over the weekend, while we were looking at all our bank holiday bookings, it got us thinking…


Why Are They Called Bank Holidays?


Well, we owe the tradition to a rather obscure nineteenth century polymath called John Lubbock who should be one of Britain’s most celebrated men, and here’s why.

Latterly John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, 4th Baronet PC, DL, FRS (or simply Sir John Lubbock), he became friends with Charles Darwin when the botanist moved into his village and in the 1850s he assisted Darwin’s research by examining and illustrating barnacles. Not only that, he:

  • Went to Eton
  • Was a partner at his father’s bank (which merged with Coutts & Co) at 22
  • Was vice-chancellor of London University
  • Was a Liberal politician promoting the study of science in primary and secondary schools
  • Invented the terms ‘Palaeolithic’ and Neolithic’ and published one of the 19th century’s most influential archaeological text books
  • Bought land at Avebury to prevent part of the world-famous stone circles being built on
  • Founded the Bankers Benevolent Fund to help past and present bankers and their dependents
  • Received honorary degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Dublin universities
  • Was president of the Royal Statistical Society

He also had three brothers who played first-class cricket for Kent, two of which also played in the 1875 FA Cup Final replay for Old Etonians (losing 2-0 to Royal Engineers.) We’re sure Mr & Mrs Lubbock were very proud!

The list goes on and on and he’s most famous for inventing bank holidays but we bet you’ve never heard of him!

Anyway, we digress.

In 1871, he drafted the Bank Holiday Bill and the search for bank holiday hotel deals in London was well and truly on! The four days he chose were Easter Monday, Whit Monday, the first Monday in August and Boxing Day and under the act, the banks were closed and ‘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.’

Before 1830, banks closed for around 40 saint’s days and anniversaries but that year it was reduced to 18. In 1834 it was reduced further to four (Good Friday, May 1st, November 1st and Christmas Day) and as we said, the act of 1871 constituted the four above. It’s hard to say why bankers needed 40 days’ holiday and no-one else… Imagine if that was the case today, there would be riots on the streets!

Hence ‘bank’ holiday. A holiday for banks.


London Bank Holiday Hotel Deals


These days, we have eight bank holidays in the UK – New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day and it may seem we’re a little hard done by!

Cambodia has 28, Sri Lanka has 25, India has 21, Colombia and The Philippines have 18, China has 16, Turkey, Thailand and Pakistan have 16 and Japan, Argentina and Sweden have 15!

With the advent of cheap and regular flights to London from all over Europe and the rest of the world, finding bank holiday hotel deals in London is pretty easy but because it’s such a popular city, hotels like the Rathbone get booked up pretty quickly. If you are looking for a London Bank Holiday hotel deal, especially for late August, take a look at our special offers and book today because we’re getting full and we don’t want you missing out!

London Bank Holiday Hotel Deal 1: Stay 4 Nights and Save 15%

London Bank Holiday Hotel Deal 2: Save up to 20% on our best available room rates


What Would You Rather Do?


You’ve got a choice for the next bank holiday (August 26th) – stay at home, catch up on domestic admin and chores, staring out the window wishing you’d planned something more exciting than switching energy suppliers, or going online and searching for a great bank holiday hotel deal in London?

What’ll it be?

We thought so! If you’ve decided on a break over banking and you’re looking for a bank holiday hotel deal in London, you know exactly where to come!

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08 December 2023