How to make the most out of the 9 bank holidays in 2023

Bank holidays 2023: When to book off and what to do.

Wineyard Sunset

There are nine bank holidays this year thanks to the addition of the coronation of King Charles III. Here’s how you can grab 48 days off by using just 19 days of annual leave. 

When are the bank holidays this year?

The bank holidays this year are as follows:

  • Monday 2 January: (New Year’s Day (substitute day as 1 January is on a Sunday)
  • Friday 7 April: Good Friday
  • Monday 10 April: Easter Monday
  • Monday 1 May: Early May bank holiday
  • Monday 8 May: King Charles III’s coronation
  • Monday 29 May: Spring bank holiday
  • Monday 28 August: Summer bank holiday
  • Monday 25 December: Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 26 December: Boxing Day

How to get the most annual leave

  1. Take off the week after Easter Monday off (Tuesday 11 April until Friday 14 April), and you’ll get a whole eight days off for just four days of annual leave. 
  2. You can have another ten days off if you book off Tuesday 2 May until Friday 5 May. This will only use four days of annual leave also.
  3. If you take another four days off (Tuesday 30 May until Friday 2 June) and you’ll get a total of nine days away from your desk.
  4. By taking four days of annual leave (Tuesday 29 August until Friday 1 September), you can nab nine days of “me time” between Saturday 26 August and Sunday 3 September.
  5. Christmas Day 2023 falls on a Monday, while Boxing Day is a Tuesday and New Year’s Day is also going to be on a Monday. By taking Wednesday to Friday (27 to 29 December) off work, you can get yourself 10 days off work from (Saturday 23 December until Monday 1 January). That’s ten holiday days for the price of just three days’ annual leave.

This leaves you with a grand total of 46 days off (almost seven weeks) for the price of 19 annual leave days.

What to do with your time off?

With all this extra holiday you’re going to need something to fill your time. Here’s our suggestions on what to do for each block of time off you’ve now got, both for trips abroad and some staycations.

A holiday in bloom

Saturday 8th April - Sunday 16th April

Eight days off in April is plenty of time to see all that the Netherlands has to offer. The countryside is awash with colourful tulips, particularly between Haarlem and Leiden to the west of Amsterdam. The Keukenhof Flower Gardens, to the south-west of Amsterdam, are a highlight, with 32 hectares of gardens planted with tulips, as well as daffodils and hyacinths.

For a trip closer to home our suggestion is the west coast of Ireland. With flowers starting to bloom and the weather starting to warm up, the Irish countryside is a sight to behold. Fill your day wandering through rolling green hills and exploring charming villages with traditional pubs serving perfectly poured Guinness.

A relaxing holiday by the water

Saturday 29th April - Monday 8th May

Not long after you’ve got another opportunity to spend some time away thanks to the coronation of King Charles III. A good time as any to get yourself to Spain before the crowds in the peak of summer. Our pick is Formentera. Just off of the island of Ibiza this island has some of the most stunning beaches in Europe, notably Ses Illetes who’s white sand and turquoise waters will make you feel like you’re in the Bahamas.

A May bank holiday is always a popular holiday time in the UK, which is why we suggest heading to the countryside for some waterside scenery. The Lake District, Norfolk Broads and the Gower Peninsula offer some of the best walks, cycles and rowing the country has to offer. However, if you know anything about the UK, you know that there’s the potential for crowds on hot sunny days. We suggest booking your parking ahead of time to avoid full car parks.

Island hopping

Saturday 27th May - Sunday 4th June

These nine days off give you the chance to live out your Greek island dreams. Head to Paros, Hydra or Syros to experience authentic Greece without so many tourists crowding your view of beautiful white sand beaches and brilliant blue seas. Additionally, late May weather in Greece is ideal as it’s not yet reached its hottest thanks to the Meltemi winds.

Island holidays are not exclusive to the med, however. The UK has its own destinations that are all unique in what they offer holiday-goers. For good weather, head to the Isle of Wight, which sees the fewest rainy days in the country. Nature lovers should head over to the Hebrides in Scotland where the abundance of bays and beaches offer up plenty of enjoyable walks. The Isle of Man is best for those with an interest in history with castles, forts and museums providing insight into Manx life.

Summer wine

Saturday 26 August - Sunday 3 September

The end of summer in Italy offers beautiful scenery in the countryside along the spine of the country. With nine days to explore Italy offers a great selection of trips from vibrant city breaks, lazy beach lounges and adventurous countryside fun. Our pick would be a Tuscan vineyard trip where you’ll be tasting some of the best wine Italy has to offer. Castello di Nipozzano and Castello di Ama bith made Decanter magazine’s top wineries to visit.

And not so dissimilar to the Tuscan countryside Kent offers a slice of Italian countryside in the UK Kent boasts over 50 vineyards that grow a variety of grapes including Champagne and Chardonnay. The late summer sun will ensure lovely sunsets whilst sipping wine in the evenings.

A festive folly

Saturday 23rd December - Wednesday 3rd January

Who doesn’t love a Christmas market? And with 10 days off you can visit some of the best markets the continent has to offer. Our picks are Cologne, Prague, Strasbourg and Basel: 

  • Cologne has a number of markets, from traditional markets to ones that are gnome themed.
  • Watch some open air concerts whilst sipping a mug of svarak in Prague.
  • France’s “Capital of Christmas” Strasbourg is as picturesque as a postcard.
  • Foodies should head to Basel to munch on some local delicacies, such as  Basel Lackerli (a local twist on gingerbread).

But, you don’t need to head too far for some festive fun. The UK has many options available. From Cardiff’s independent charm to the sheer size of Birmingham and the age-old feel of York; there’s something for everyone.

Now you should have all the information you need to go on some spectacular holidays this year, whilst only using the fewest number of annual leave days as possible.

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