When do the clocks go back? Date and time clocks go back in 2021 and why the clocks change explained

With Autumn now upon us, it will soon be time for the clocks to go back and we can finally look forward to that extra hour in bed.

By Sarah McCann, Search and Trends Writer
Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 11:49 am
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 9:50 am

Even though the clocks go back every year, it always seem to creep up on us.

Nowadays, our smartphones and laptops update themselves, but we still need to manually change the clocks in our house.

We wouldn't want you to get caught out and miss that all important extra hour in bed.

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The clocks will go back in Northern Ireland on Halloween, ushering in brighter mornings and darker evenings

So, to help remind you, we've put together everything you need to know about the clocks going back this year and most importantly why.

When do the clocks go back?

In the UK, the clocks always go back one hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October.

This year, the clocks will go back on Halloween, Sunday, October 31, 2021, allowing you an extra hour in bed and an extra hour to enjoy the festivities.

The clocks going back means we are going back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which give us brighter mornings and darker evenings.

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When did the clocks go forward?

The clocks went forward at 1am on Sunday, March 28, 2021.

This marked the beginning of British Summer Time (BST), with brighter, longer evenings and darker mornings.

Why do the clocks go back?

Putting the clocks back gives us an extra hour of daylight in autumn and winter.

We’re currently in British Summer Time (BST) – which means that when the clocks change on Sunday, October 31, 2021, we will move into Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

British Summer Time was introduced in 1916, to help save valuable resources during the First World War.

In the summertime, early morning daylight was not being used as people slept, by moving the clocks forward in summer, we would get darker mornings but lighter, longer evenings.

The clocks then revert back to GMT in Autumn, as we set the clocks back an hour, for brighter mornings and darker evenings.

There have been attempts to change the clocks, including bringing them forward two hours ahead of GMT during the Second World War and for periods in the spring of 1947, when there was fuel shortages.

There was even an unsuccessful experiment between 1968 and 1971, which kept clocks one hour ahead of GMT all year round, the results saw an increase in injuries.

Is British Summer Time Controversial?

Changing the clocks has not always been popular and there have been some campaigns to change it.

In 2018, the EU proposed plans to do away with daylight saving across Europe, but plans to do so have been stalled due to the coronavirus.

In the UK, some have campaigned for UK time to be brought in line with other countries in the EU in a bid to reduce road accidents.

That would mean the UK would be one hour ahead in the winter and two hours ahead in the summer.

Others argue that as our industries have changed and we now spend most of our time indoors in our homes and offices, daylight saving is no longer necessary.

When will the clocks go forward in 2022?

The clocks go forward in Spring, when we go back to British Summer Time. This always happens at 1.00am on the last Sunday in March.

In 2022 the clocks will go forward on Sunday, March 27.

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