white pound signs on a provident green background

A Bank Holiday can mean different things for different people. For some it’s just another day at work with maybe a chance to make a little extra money. For other’s it a time that’s often set aside for days out with the family or getaways with the other half, weather permitting.

The kids want ice cream, attractions aren’t free, and stays in hotels are often pricey. Are these holidays completely made up of fun-filled activities, or have we constantly got one eye on our bank account, praying for plans to be rained off?

We’ve conducted a survey to find out what the nation really gets up to on its supposed days off, to see if people make good on their plans to have a break from the humdrum, and just how much the privilege costs different parts of the UK.

Weather Warnings

You know the drill: plans are made for the bank holiday, only for the British weather to defy the forecast and sprinkle the nation with a shower or two.

Southerners often boast about the south benefiting from more of the sun’s precious rays than the opposite end of the nation. However, over 63% of respondents from Gloucester in the south-west have had their bank holiday plans washed away by the rain.

Elsewhere, residents of Oxford and Birmingham also suffered at the hands of the unpredictable British weather, with 52% and 51% respectively cancelling their bank holiday activities.

Not completely dispelling the myth that it’s ‘grim up north’, over half of York’s respondents also had their parade rained on.

Bank Holiday Costs

For those that do manage to dodge the clouds, is the classic bank holiday wallet drain also avoidable?

Well, it all comes down to location. At the pricey end of the scale, the average amount spent in Leicester on a bank holiday is £118.31. Unusually for the notoriously expensive capital, Londoners actually came in second by spending £109.56 – close to £10 less. Just 3p behind is Wolverhampton at £109.53, suggesting that the West Midlands city really likes to splash out.

But some places’ bank accounts have it far easier, with less than £50 spent in Worcester and Aberystwyth. As for the rest of the UK, our table has the full results.

Biggest Bank Holiday Spend by Location



1. Leicester £118.31
2. London £109.56
3. Wolverhampton £109.53
4. Glasgow £106.91
5. Aberdeen £99.57
6. Belfast £98.48
7. Oxford £98.19
8. Sheffield £97.39
9. Portsmouth £97.27
10. Manchester £95.98
11. Wrexham £92.87
12. Swansea £92.54
13. Cambridge £91.81
14. Leeds £91.48
15. Coventry £91.17
16. Liverpool £88.63
17. Norwich £87.04
18. Plymouth £86.40
19. Chelmsford £83.74
20. Brighton & Hove £82.88
21. York £82.88
22. Birmingham £82.85
23. Bristol £80.35
24. Edinburgh £79.50
25. Cardiff £77.10
26. Southampton £77.05
27. Gloucester £68.29
28. Newcastle £67.68
29. Aberystwyth £49.50
30. Worcester £49.50


Looking at the top 30 cities in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, bank holiday day-trippers spent an average of £87.81 on making the most of time away from work. This makes for quite an expense, so how can people stop their pockets from becoming lighter?

Fun For Less!

It is possible to cut costs on a bank holiday break, and travel expense is a good place to start. With areas like Wrexham even worse than London in terms of bank holiday traffic – 62% of Wrexham locals found the roads were clogged compared to 56% of Londoners – why not save both money and stress by taking public transport?

Another great option for a cost-effective bank holiday is to enjoy one of the UK’s many green spaces. Pack a picnic and head to your nearest national park, such as the Lake District, or take on something slightly more adventurous like ancient volcano Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

There are also countless free exhibitions and art galleries. Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry is one, and for a bit of variety you can stay in the city and couple this with the National Football Museum, which is also free to enter!

Despite the weather often doing its best to put a stop to the nation’s bank holiday plans, it seems as though we at least try our best to get out and make the most of our time off work. And if you’re worried about breaking the bank, perhaps try one of the UK’s many free activities.


2,509 people on the 27th of April 2016.