Rowan's World, et Cetera

iCalendar for English Bank Holidays

by Rowan on 10 August, 2009

I’ve been making increasing use of Lightning (backed onto Google Calendar) recently, for both work and personal use, and being able to see bank holidays in my calendar would be very handy. But for some reason, all I can ever find is calendars for “UK Holidays”, which are pretty useless – for one thing, not all parts of the UK have the same bank holidays, and for another, they tend to include random events like Saints’ Days which aren’t “holidays” in the sense of a day off work!

So I decided to make my own calendar, showing bank holidays, in England, and nothing else. And, just for the sake of it (and because there was a very nice-looking library available), I wrote my first ever Ruby script to generate the iCal file for it! A seasoned Ruby coder will probably look at it and laugh, but hey, it works!

The dates are based on this government website, which currently has data up to 2011. The resulting files should work fine in Lightning, and as imports to Google Calendar, so feel free to “subscribe”.

Update: For those still finding this after the end of 2011, I should point out that I have been regularly updating this calendar as new dates are added to the government website, and will continue to do so whenever I think to check.

Additional Note: The best way to use these links is not to download the files themselves, but to right-click and copy the URL. Then in Lightning, or Google Calendar, or whatever other calendar you use, find the option to set up a new calendar and paste in the URL (calendar type is “iCal” if it can’t guess). That way, when I update the files (generally once a year to add the next year’s dates, but occasionally to fix a typo), it will update like any other shared calendar.

46 thoughts on “iCalendar for English Bank Holidays

  1. Nik says:

    “…for both home and personal use…” Married to your work are we?

  2. Rowan says:

    Ooh, erm, *ahem*… You must have imagined it! ;)

  3. kie says:

    Great – been looking for a bank holiday only calendar. Is this likely to go offline in the future?


  4. Rowan says:

    Well, I obviously can’t guarantee it 100%, but I certainly intend to keep URLs on this domain permanent, so these should remain available (and updated as necessary) “for the foreseeable future”.

    Glad to be of service! :)

  5. Krivine says:

    Ta! (And what a shame that the Government Web site isn’t clued up enough to do this.)

  6. Tony says:

    Thank you! :-)

  7. Neal says:

    Excellent. Thanks. Was thrown a few times when I told people we could not hold a meeting because of the Bank Holiday (in Scotland) and I live in England. Doh!

  8. steve says:

    So New Year’s Day 2011 is on the 3rd January. I think it would be better if you changed these ‘substitute days’ to be called ‘Bank Holiday’. I’m such a halfwit I’ll probably arrange my christmas dinner for the wrong day otherwise.

  9. Rowan says:

    @Neal: Yeah, arranging meetings is hard enough without misleading calendars! Glad to be of service. :)

    @steve: Haha! I hadn’t thought of that, I just copied them straight from the government lists. This would have been particularly confusing for the Scottish calendar, on which the 4th January was labelled “2nd January”!

    I’ve gone through and added the word “Holiday” at the end of all the affected dates. (If anyone can think of a better label for the second Scottish New Year’s holiday than “2nd January Bank Holiday”, let me know…)

  10. Matt Gibson says:

    Thanks! Very handy. I keep on having my hopes raised by impending bank holidays on my calendar, only to find out they’re Scottish-only!

  11. Ben says:

    Brilliant, I’ve been looking all over for this. Thanks.

  12. Nigel says:

    Well, finding your calendar files has saved me a few hours typing and Alt-Tabing between the net and the calendar prog! Thanks Rowan, I owe you a virtual pint!

  13. Dow says:

    DELIGHTED to find your calendar – was amazed at how difficult it is to find an England-only ical. Many thanks!

    A poss suggestion for naming ‘offset’ hoiidays – I call mine ‘in lieu of…’, eg ‘in lieu of Christmas Day

  14. Phil says:

    Fantastic, thanks! I don’t really care if it’s a bank holiday in Scotland!!

  15. Paul says:

    Great idea, such a simple and obvious expectation, why nobody had produced one before I dont know.
    Curious as to whether it is possible to produce one that has an infinite projection of future bank hols, would probably crash my android phone though if it existed.

  16. DM says:

    Cheers mate, just what I was looking for.

  17. Sy says:

    Perfect, just what I was after and stopped me having to make one myself! Thank you!

  18. S says:

    Thanks, that’s great the apple one was out of date and missing the extra days off we have this year and next. Cheers!

  19. rob says:

    Thanks very much – exactly what i was after!

  20. Gordon says:

    Thank you!

  21. Jag says:

    This is exactly what I wish Google would publish, thanks!

  22. zoara says:

    I just want to add my thanks to the list. My wife just called to say this coming Monday was a bank holiday and we started making plans before realising it was Scotland only. Have subscribed her and myself to your version, so we won’t get false hopes again. Thanks!

  23. neonike says:

    Excellent – thanks very much! Works a treat!

  24. Ricky says:

    Thank you for doing this.

  25. Ricky says:

    Thank you for doing this.

  26. Jon says:

    Any chance of updating for 2012 / 2013. I have only just seen this site!

  27. Rowan says:

    Hi Jon,

    The calendar currently includes all the Bank Holidays up to the end of 2012; it looks like the government site lists the “expected” dates up to 2015 now, though, so I will update with those shortly. :)

  28. Matt says:

    This calendar gives me exactly what I want to see: bank holidays. Hope to see it updated soon, and keep up the good work.

  29. Lee says:

    This is great – just one suggestion – would it possible to make these “all day” events so that the start and finish times aren’t shown? Thanks!

  30. Rowan says:

    Hi Lee, glad you like it.

    In Thunderbird/Lightning and Google Calendar they show as “all day” for me. What application are you using, and would you be willing to do a bit of testing if I sent you some sample files to see how different variations display for you?

  31. Alex Tingle says:

    Just a thank you note. Keep up the good work. If you had a Google Ad, I’d click on it!

  32. alex says:

    Thank you! You seem to be the only person on the whole internet to have thought of this. It works a treat

  33. Alex Cleater says:

    Thanks so much for this! Please keep the updates coming each year!


  34. Steve Green says:

    Perfect! Thanks so much for this. Finally, I can get rid of those Scottish bank holidays from my iCal!

  35. Asif says:

    thanks first useful calender for England BH.

  36. Asif says:

    Can you please share calendar(google calendar) so we can use it as shared calendar and no need for u to upload after each update and for us to download and import.
    If u make only this calendar public and post link here will help us all.

    • Rowan says:

      Hi Asif,

      Glad it’s helpful. :)

      It’s not managed in Google Calendar, so it’s not a case of me not having shared it. If you click the arrow by “Other calendars” and select “Add by URL” instead of “Import Calendar”, it will be added to your list like a shared calendar, and updated automatically.

  37. Danny says:

    Hey buddy, just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to make this and keep it up to date, really helps me balance my home/worklife out.


  38. Stuart says:

    Hi, I’m getting error messages when trying to subscribe. Is this updated for 2018 and beyond?

    • Rowan says:

      Hi Stuart, the calendars were updated for all of 2018, and I’ve just added in 2019.

      I’m not seeing any errors my end, so could you let me know some more details? What calendar software / service are you using, and what’s the error message you’re seeing?

  39. Angela says:

    Thank you for doing this! Very useful!!

  40. Alex says:

    Hi there. The 2020 version of these calendars has broken my calendar app.

    Last year’s had balanced DTSTART and DTEND entries, but this year’s is missing the DTEND, which is causing chaos with my libical based application.

    libical reports “missing VEVENT::DTEND property”.


    Last year’s, good:

    SUMMARY:New Year’s Day

    This year’s, bad:

    SUMMARY:New Year’s Day

    • Rowan says:

      Hi Alex,

      Sorry about that! I tweaked the generation script due to some system upgrades, and ended up with a slightly different format (the “;VALUE=DATE” is apparently required by the standard if not specifying a time).

      I’ve made another change to add in the DTEND field, but it’s still a slightly different format from before, so could you test and see if it works in your app now?


  41. Rowan says:

    Just a note to everyone that I still keep this updated whenever I remember to check the government site, and it currently has everything for 2020 and 2021.

    Note that there was a last-minute change to the Early May Bank Holiday this year, which I only fixed in the calendar yesterday. If your calendar still shows it as Monday 4th, you need to tell it to refresh/update the calendar feed.

  42. Peter Kidd says:

    Thnak you for this service.

    It boggles the mind that Google can’t find 5 minutes per year to provide tailored calendars for major countries like England and Scotland!

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