The first main national holiday of the year is the bank holidays in April, where we get a lovely long weekend. It’s the only bank holiday of the year that bookends the weekend - so it’s no wonder we look forward to the four-day Easter Bank Holiday the most.
For families it comes bang in the middle of the school holidays - so plenty of opportunities to get away with the kids and explore new places. For those without kids its two free days off work - so planning a long-weekend break in the UK or a city break to Europe is usually front of mind at this time of year.
These are the April Bank Holiday dates for 2019:
Friday, April 19: Good Friday
Monday, April 22: Easter Monday
We crunched the numbers and looked at our most popular destinations for breaks in April. It seems we like a mixture of sunshine and culture for our first major bank holiday break of the year. Read on to find out our travel experts recommendations.
Top of the list for a four-day weekend is the capital of France. The city of romance remains one of the most visited places on earth and when it comes to getting there - the fact you can fly or take the Eurostar - means you’re not wasting precious time travelling. The other crucial thing is that there’s plenty of things to do no matter the weather. A little bit wet, hit the stunning shops like Galeries Lafayette, one of the prettiest department stores in the world. Of course hanging out in cafes drinking coffee and eating pastries that never skimp on the butter, has to be done. And if the weather is warm nothing beats a stroll around the city and alongside the River Seine. You’ll be ticking off the landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, while you walk off those macaron’s you just had to try.
The coastal capital of the Republic of Ireland is another great choice for an Easter break. Again you’re just jumping on a short flight to get there. And on arrival you’ll find a warm welcome - the local pub scene is one of the best in the world. If you want to do loads of sightseeing, consider grabbing a Dublin Pass to some of the major attractions - it’s most cost effective over three days if you planning a long weekend. The food and drink here is great - try the local seafood, from the Dublin Bay Prawns to cockles and mussels. And a trip to the Guinness Storehouse to try Ireland’s most famous drink is a popular stop off. If the weather is nice consider having a pint in the rooftop bar there. As you’ll have time, consider taking a bus tour or a free walking tour to learn as much as possible about the city.
If you’re after a cheap beach break at Easter, Malta is a great option. The average temperature in April is around 20 degrees, so warm enough to sit on the sand and take a dip in the sea. It’s almost like a staycation here, as thanks to its history as an English colony, everyone speaks the language and they drive on the left. Which is great if you fancy doing a road trip round the island. Food wise, you’ll find Mediterranean cuisine, with a huge Italian influence. And as the weather is still fairly mild, try one of the hiking or mountain bike trails and check out the scenery and the coastal views. The nightlife is cool here, with Paceville being the hub for clubs and bars, where you can dance the night away.
This is a super city break for spring so don’t forget to take your camera to see the parks and green spaces looking lovely. Head to the hills, Letna Hill has the oldest park in Prague, while the Petrin Hillside also offers sweeping views in the city. It has some of the best buildings in Europe and it will take you about five minutes to work out why it’s known as the City of a Hundred Spires. The city centre around Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square is a World Heritage Site. And the Charles Bridge is always worth a stroll across - especially as the sun sets. While you don’t need an excuse for a cheeky drink on holiday, in Prague you should try the Pilsner - it was invented near here and you’re basically supporting the local economy and the twenty breweries in the city by having a tipple.
While the flight here is slightly longer than to mainland Europe, you are guaranteed some super sun for Easter. You’re looking at average temperatures in the early twenties in April, which is good news as this is the place to try some watersports. It’s a very breezy island, so if you’ve ever fancied windsurfing, try it here. It won’t take you long to find a beach as the Spanish island has around 30 miles of the sandy stuff. The Corralejo Natural Park is great at this time of year for hiking and biking and you can also say you’ve visited one of the largest sand dunes in the world. The volcanic landscape is unusual if you love taking photographs on holiday. The food and drink is naturally mainly Spanish - so take time out for tapas in the evening and try the different bars and restaurants.
If you’re looking for a cheap family holiday this Easter, then this Egyptian resort is a great choice. In recent years the numbers of beach-front resorts have grown steadily offering great all-inclusive options. It’s also going to be hot - think the later twenties - so the kids will love cooling off at the waterparks as well as in the sea. For adult-only holidays, there’s specialist hotels and clubs with private beaches, if you’re looking to chill out away from the crowds. Holidaymakers of all ages however can enjoy the coral gardens and reefs. You can just snorkel and see the fish or go for one of the diving experiences the area is famous for. If you want a break from the beach - its possible to do a day trip to Cairo, and from there you can get to Giza and see the pyramids.
This year we have a late Easter, and we have to wait until we get well into April before our second bank holiday of the year. So let’s make the most of it when it arrives. In 2019 you can get a whopping 16 consecutive days off by only using eight days annual leave. All you need to do is book off April 15-18 and then the 23rd-26th the following week. Thanks to the four-day weekend - you can double your time off.
We get two bank holidays in May, both falling on a Monday. One at the beginning of the month, the other at the end. We then have to wait until the end of the summer for the late August bank holiday. After that it’s Boxing Day - December 26th.
And if you really want to get ahead of the game - it’s never too early to think about 2020. Again they fall in April rather than March.
Good Friday 10th April
Easter Monday 13th April (England, Wales and Northern Ireland only)