Home Education Children's Education School holidays in the UK
Last update on May 12, 2020

Here is a list of school holidays in the UK in 2019 and 2020 plus information on different holiday childcare options for working parents.

School holidays in the UK vary both between UK countries and between the regional local authorities. If you are a parent living or working in the UK, check with your child’s school or with your local authority so that you know the exact dates to make plans. UK school calendars are split into three terms, with most schools having additional half-term breaks in the middle of each term meaning that children generally get six breaks per school year.


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School holidays in the UK

School holidays in the UK are set by the regional local authorities (also called local councils), who publish term dates on their websites. Schools in England and Wales usually have two-week holidays for Christmas and Easter, a break of around six weeks for summer, and week-long breaks halfway through each of the three terms. Scottish schools have the same number of breaks, with the half-term breaks often shorter or longer (ranging from a long weekend to two weeks). Schools in Northern Ireland have five annual holidays. They have shorter half-term breaks and miss out the mid-term break in the summer term, but usually have an extra two weeks off during the summer.

In general, families in the UK spend school holiday time getting together to celebrate festive holidays such as Christmas and Easter, going on family vacations or day trips, or planning activities for kids. School holidays may also coincide with important festival dates across the UK.

UK school holiday dates 2019–20

School holidays in England

  • Autumn break: one week between 21 October – 1 November 2019
  • Christmas break: 23 December 2019 – 3 January 2020
  • February break: one week between 17–28 February 2020
  • Easter break: two weeks between 30 March – 24 April 2020
  • May break: 25–29 May 2020
  • Summer break: six weeks between 15 July – 6 September 2020

School holidays in Wales

  • Autumn break: 28 October – 1 November 2019
  • Christmas break: 23 December 2019 – 3 January 2020
  • February break: one week between 17–28 February 2020
  • Easter break: 6–17 April 2020
  • May break: 25–29 May 2020
  • Summer break: 21 July – 28 August 2020

School holidays in Scotland

  • Autumn break: 1–2 weeks between 7–25 October 2019
  • Christmas break: 23 December 2019 – 3 January 2020
  • February break: one day to one week between 10–18 February 2020
  • Spring break: two weeks between 26 March – 26 April 2020
  • May break: 22–25 May 2020 (not all councils have this break, though)
  • Summer break: 29 June – 18 August 2020

School holidays in Northern Ireland

  • Autumn break: 31 October – 1 November 2019
  • Christmas break: 23 December 2019 – 3 January 2020
  • Easter break: 9–17 April 2020
  • Summer break: 1 July – 28 August 2020

Additional holidays and days off

Schools in the UK also close for a number of public holidays and bank holidays throughout the year. Some of these apply to all four countries, while each country also has its own holiday dates. See our guide to public holidays in the UK for full details. Each school may also have additional dates off for staff training or pupil book days and may grant days off for pupils of certain faiths to observe religious holidays. In general, you can find out details of school-specific days off from your local school or by visiting the school website. Meanwhile, many primary and secondary schools in the UK publish calendars online to keep parents and students informed.

Childcare during school holidays in the UK

If you are a working parent during school holidays in the UK, you may need to look into childcare provision if you don’t have relatives or friends to keep an eye on the kids. Most parts of the UK will have holiday schemes or a program of activities for various age groups, although public out-of-hours provision for both primary and secondary school children has been cut back over the last decade.

Provision varies across regions. The best place to start is by asking your school what is going on in your area, because most schools can provide information on clubs, holiday camps, or other activities; additionally, some providers run holiday activities out-of-hours. Check also with your local council to see what is being provided. Each council should have a Family Information Service that can tell you what’s available locally, a Youth Service that will normally run holiday activities programs, and a network of Children’s Centers that may have activities for primary school children. Councils can often also provide information on what privately run provision is available in your area. You can also find details of all local councils in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland from the British government.

There are other useful resources regarding childcare during school holidays, such as:

  • Childcare.co.uk, which allows you to search for childcare options in your area;
  • The Family and Childcare Trust, where you can also search for childcare services and find out information on help with costs;
  • Yell, where you can search for privately-run facilities such as summer camps and summer schools in different regions.

For information on other childcare options such as childminders, nannies, au pairs and babysitters, see our guide to childcare in the UK.