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Are most shops and museums open during the Easter weekend (from Good Friday to Easter Monday) in London?

Is there any day during the four-day break where there is more chance of finding them open?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

Large Shops Must Close on Easter Sunday

The 1994 Sunday Trading Act allows small shops, i.e. those with a surface area less than or equal to 280 square metres, to open for trade any day they want. Large shops, i.e. those with a surface area of more than 280 square metres, must close on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. Some exemptions exist:

Exemptions

Shops exempt from the Sunday trading restrictions for large shops include:

  • airport and railway station outlets
  • service station outlets
  • registered pharmacies selling only medicinal products and medical and surgical appliances
  • farms selling mainly their own produce
  • outlets wholly or mainly selling motor or bicycle supplies and accessories
  • suppliers of goods to aircraft or sea-going vessels on arrival at, or departure from, a port, harbour or airport
  • exhibition stands selling goods

So the answer to your question regarding shops being opened during Easter weekend is: it'll depend on individual shop policy, for small shops. You'll likely find shops open for reduced trading hours. However, large shops which don't benefit from the exemptions will be closed on Easter Sunday.

Museums

Museums usually close only on Christmas eve, Christmas day and New Years. This is true for the British Museum, the Naural History Museum, and the National Gallery. Other museums will have their closing days published on their respective websites.

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@Dezza Indeed, thanks. P.S. You could have edited that in my post. ;) – JoErNanO Mar 1 at 11:44
    
Fair point - done :) – Dezza Mar 1 at 11:47
    
@Dezza Thanks. Here, have +2 rep for your trouble. :) And welcome to TSE. – JoErNanO Mar 1 at 11:47
1  
@JoErNanO Note that the law only applies on Easter Sunday. For the rest of the bank holiday weekend (Good Friday, Saturday, Easter Monday), I'd expect most things to be open. Oh, and re your last paragraph, are you really saying those museums are closed on Christmas Eve but not Christmas Day. – abligh Mar 1 at 16:40
    
Yes, most stores are open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Monday. Expect slightly reduced trading hours on some of those days, though. – jcaron Mar 1 at 18:24

As far as I know most (if not all) of the museums will be open. They are usually very good with publishing opening times on their websites, so you can always double check if in doubt.

So I thing you will find them open all the time.... but probably really packed :)

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There's no global rule for this sort of thing. For any museum of any note and any shops with a web presence, expect to find information about Easter opening times on their website. (Note - don't trust the opening times that appear directly on Google search - Google's scraper frequently fails to account for special events).

I would expect most Museums to be open all weekend, however for them to be unusally busy, as large numbers of UK residents take advantage of the long weekend to partake in some tourism.

Most shops will be open throughout the weekend (except Easter Sunday, for which only a limited number of shops (mostly smaller stores) are permitted to be open), although possibly with reduced opening hours on Friday and Monday. Saturday is likley to be unaffected except with small, owner-run stores, where the owner has taken a holiday over the weekend.

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Regarding your question:

Is there any day during the four-day break where there is more chance of finding them open?

I would order the chances of museums and shops being open during Easter in this order:

  1. Easter Saturday
  2. Easter Monday
  3. Good Friday
  4. Easter Sunday

This is from personal experience. As others have said. I would consult the web for individual places being open on given days. They are usually good at advertising opening times. As a rule of thumb though, museums don't generally close in the UK over Easter. Just Christmas and New Years Day. And shops may close on Easter Sunday but larger shops will be open on the rest of the period. Independent shops will possibly be closed the whole weekend but Easter Saturday is your best bet.

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