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The best things to do for the August Bank Holiday 2021

Updated On 25th June, 2021

As summer gets into full swing, the temperatures get warmer, and we all start to look for things to do on our UK summer holidays. England lockdown restrictions are slowly easing, the sun is showing its glorious self and coming up we have the summer bank holiday, or the UK August bank holiday 2021.

The UK August bank holiday is a great time to spend time with friends and family, see a bit more of the UK, or take the opportunity of a long weekend to go abroad. It’s hard to make exact plans at the moment as it’s hard to tell how the pandemic will evolve over the coming weeks, but we can make plans for our next adventures and get excited about the prospect of travel anyway – dreaming about my next trip is something that I love to do when I’m bored at home!

Bank holiday weekends are full of fun, friends and family, and the weather… well it can be hit and miss! There are plenty of fun things to do in the UK and places to visit in the UK that can be enjoyed whatever the weather. Last year’s August bank holiday 2020 saw some of the highest summer temperatures in the UK, so who knows, it might be the perfect time to go camping in the UK or to try some of these fun things to do in London in summer

In this blog post I hope to answer questions such as ‘When is the UK August bank holiday 2021?’ and ‘What are the best things to do for the summer bank holiday?’, offering you loads of ideas of fun things to do on the August bank holiday 2021 as part of your UK summer holiday! 

Other blog posts you might be interested in…

The best things to see and do in Devon, England

When is the UK August bank holiday 2021?

In England and Wales we have four bank holidays and eight public holidays. If you’re wondering ‘when’s the August bank holiday 2021?’, it falls on different dates depending on where you are in the UK. In Scotland, the August bank holiday is on the first Monday of August, whereas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland the August bank holiday is on the last Monday of August. 

Fun fact: EnglandWales and Northern Ireland changed the August bank holiday from the first to the last Monday in August in 1971, because it too often clashed with the two-week summer shutdown that many companies had!

UK August bank holiday 2021 date: this year the August bank holiday in EnglandWales and Northern Ireland will be on Monday 30th August 2021, whereas the August bank holiday in Scotland will be on Monday 2nd August 2021!

The best things to do for the UK August bank holiday 2021...

1. Head to a music festival in the UK.

One of the best things to do on the August Bank Holiday, and most fun, is to head to a UK festival. Summer is a great time to enjoy the atmosphere, buzz and energy of a festival and the UK has many big festivals that happen this weekend! 

Note: not all the festivals are happening this year due to the England lockdown restrictions. Keep an eye on the festival websites for the latest updates!

UK Festivals that regularly happen on the August bank holiday weekend include: 

  • Notting Hill Carnival, London (cancelled 2021)
  • Reading Festival & Leeds Festival (27th-29th August 2021)
  • Creamfields, Cheshire(26th-29th August 2021)
  • SW4 London (27th-29th August 2021)
  • Manchester Pride (27th-30th August 2021)
  • Pride Cymru, Cardiff (cancelled 2021)
  • Big Feastival, The Cotswolds (27th-29th August 2021)
  • Shambala Festival, Northamptonshire (cancelled 2021)
  • Solfest, Cumbria (26th-29th August 2021)
  • Victorious Festival, Portsmouth (27th-29th August 2021)

Check out this bucket list of festivals around the world that you shouldn’t miss in your lifetime! 

Heading to a festival? Check out this festival packing list so you don’t miss anything! 

The best things to do on the UK August bank holiday

2. Learn more about UK arts, culture and traditions at local festivals.

Not all festivals are about dancing the night away in front of huge lineups with a drink in your hand!

The UK is home to a variety of traditional and arts festivals, so why not learn a bit more about the local area during your long weekend. If you’re looking for something a bit more chilled and a bit more family-friendly, this is a great thing to do on the August bank holiday.

Traditional, arts and culture festivals in the UK that take place on the August bank holiday weekend include:

  • Shrewsbury Folk Festival (27th-30th August 2021)
  • Arundel Festival of the Arts (20th-30th August 2021)
  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival (6th-30th August 2021)
  • Llanwrtyd Wells Bog Snorkelling Championships (cancelled 2021). 

See more unique things to do in England here. 

3. Hit the beach.

The UK is home to some absolutely glorious beaches, especially in summer. From beaches on the Norfolk Coast to the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, as well as the world-famous beaches in Cornwall and Devon, there are plenty of places to get some sun on your UK summer holiday without leaving the country! 

Grab your swimming stuff, a couple of camping chairs and some towels, and head down to a beach for this August Bank Holiday 2021. The water will be warm (ish!), the sun will be shining (hopefully!), and whatever the weather, there will be plenty of fish and chips followed by ice cream for everyone! 

Porthmeor Beach, St.Ives: A guide to the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, England

4. Get outdoors: go for a walk or bike ride.

With 15 national parks spread across the UK, including the Lake District, South DownsPeak District,  Dartmoor, Snowdonia and the Yorkshire Dales, you have plenty of nature in all areas to choose from. Not only are there the National Parks, but there are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, in CornwallDevonSurrey and more.

One of the best things to do this August bank holiday weekend is to get back out into nature and explore! Whether you want a more challenging day hike or a gentle stroll, a long cycle ride or to potter around a park on a bike, there are so many options for you to get active, get outdoors, and get some fresh air and sunshine! 

5. Go camping in the UK.

Sunshine, nature, time in the countryside or by the coast (along with a strong chance of rain to spice things up) make for an exciting UK adventure. If you want to go camping in the UK this August bank holiday, I don’t blame you! 

With the rising use of campervans and van conversions, summer camping in the UK is becoming more and more popular.

Even without a van, pitching a tent up at a campsite in the UK is still a great way to spend a weekend in friends and feel close to nature, something that many of us have been unable to do during the pandemic.

If you and your best friend are looking for another weekend of memories, camping in the UK is guaranteed to give you exactly that. If you’ve done the camping vibes with your bestie, check out 35 bucket list adventures to go on with your best friend here.

But back to camping… With so many beautiful places to visit in the UK, stunning National Parks in the UK and walks and hikes in the UK, summer is a great time to enjoy the (hopefully!) better weather and spend some more time outside. And why not make the most of the long August Bank Holiday weekend and stay an extra night?!

See all the best places to go camping in the UK in this blog post. 

A guide to exploring Dartmoor National Park, Devon

6. Enjoy a picnic by a river or lake.

If you want to make the most of the sunshine and you’re looking for things to do on the August Bank Holiday weekend that don’t involve hiking up hills or pitching tents, get together with your nearest and dearest and spend some quality time together over a picnic. Everyone can pitch in and you can all share your snacks while you have a well overdue catch up!

If the weather’s nice, don’t forget your swimming stuff for a dip in the water!

7. Watch a film at an outdoor cinema.

Outdoor film screenings are becoming more and more popular each summer in the UK, and many show films over the August bank holiday weekend! See what’s on in your local area, gather up your friends or family, park up and watch a movie together. Don’t forget the popcorn!

8. Visit London in summer.

London is hands down one of the best cities in the world to experience. It’s one of the best capital cities to visit in Europe and without a doubt a must if you’re heading to England. Even if you wouldn’t say you’re a ‘city person’, you have got to visit London at least once in your life. It’s just as vibrant and as full of life as you’ve seen it in the movies.

London is filled with some of the most creative and talented people in the world and it’s a host to world-class performers, chefs, venues, events and more. Whether it’s for a night in the West End, for a Sunday morning stroll through some of the best markets in Europe, to watch a world-famous talent perform, to soak up the iconic landmarks or to dine under the menu of a Michelin Star Chef – London will quickly capture your heart and I can guarantee it will leave you with lifelong memories.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe and are thinking to add London to your itinerary but have no idea what to do in London, London in summer is one of the best places to explore this August bank holiday weekend. Yes, it will be busy, but it’s worth it for the buzz and the energy you’ll get here. From kayaking on the Thames to rollerskating in Hyde Park or enjoying Notting Hill Carnival, there are lots of things to do in London in summer that are awesome things to do on the August bank holiday weekend.

9. Go on a UK road trip.

If you’re stuck for things to do this August bank holiday 2021, why not explore more of the UK? 

I think you’re going to be surprised at just how much beauty there is to pack into a UK road trip. I certainly had no idea how much was right on my doorstep until I bought myself a camper van and begun exploring it. See the best things to do in the UK here.

There are so any beautiful places to visit in the UK, so while it might be hard to choose where to go for the August bank holiday 2021, I can guarantee that wherever you choose will be filled with fun and you’ll come home with a bucket load of memories!

The best things to do and see in Padstow, Cornwall

10. Enjoy a weekend away.

Whether you choose to explore a new city in the UK (there are so many beautiful places to visit in the UK, so I wouldn’t blame you!) or go further afield and head to Europe for a weekend, the best thing to do for the August bank holiday weekend is to make the most of the extra day off!

Plan a mini holiday, explore a new city or country… the world is your oyster (subject for lockdown restrictions!).

From exploring capital cities in Europe to hidden gems in Europe, there are so many weekends in Europe that you cannot miss. There are loads of fun things to do in Europe, you just need to decide which to do first.

How do you celebrate the UK August bank holiday?

What are you planning for the UK summer holiday? Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring,


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