When do the clocks change? Here's when they go forward in 2020 - and when spring begins

Monday, 17th February 2020, 3:23 pm
Updated Monday, 17th February 2020, 3:37 pm

It's no great secret that the British winter can be a bit of a drag.

While things often remain dark and dreary for the first part of the year, they do start to get noticeably brighter pretty quickly, especially once the clocks change.

Here's when the clocks go forward in 2020.

When do the clocks go forward?

In 2020, the clocks will be put forward by an hour at 2am on Sunday 29 March.

This means the sun will rise an hour earlier too. Once the clocks go back, the sun will come up at around 6.50am and will set around 7.50pm.

It signals the move between Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and British Summer Time (BST).

For the most part, you probably won’t have to do too much to keep up with the change – all of your internet-connected devices should update automatically.

The clocks will then go back by an hour on Sunday 25 October 2020.

Many people find the pneumonic device “Spring forward, fall back” helpful for remembering which way the clock moves at each time of the year.

Why do the clocks change?

BST or Daylight Saving Time was designed to help people maximise their sunlight hours all through the year.

It came into existence with the Summer Time Act of 1916, after a campaign started by British builder William Willet in 1907.

It was believed that the change would help to save energy by reducing the amount of coal households consumed.

The act was passed in the midst of the First World War when any method of stretching the country’s resources further was seen as a matter of great importance.

While Willet pioneered the notion in the UK, the concept of some sort of Daylight Saving Time was first floated by Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the US, in 1784. He wanted to save on candle usage and get people out of bed earlier.

When will it start getting lighter?

The good news is that even though we still have some time to wait before the clocks go forward, it has actually already started getting lighter.

However, the change happens pretty incrementally, so it might be a little while before you really notice.

In London, the sun currently rises around 7.10am and sets around 5.18pm.

It will continue getting lighter each day, with the difference becoming much more pronounced once the clocks go forward at the end of March.

When does spring start?

This year, spring will officially begin on Friday 20 March – just a few days before the clocks change.

Like the three other seasons, the start and end dates of spring are calculated based on the Earth’s position relative to the sun – beginning with the March equinox and ending with the June solstice.

The equinox is the exact moment when the Earth’s equator aligns with the sun, which only happens twice a year.

The solstice is when the sun reaches its furthest point either north or south of the Earth’s equator, which also happens twice in any given year.

Spring will then officially end on Saturday 20 June and summer will begin, heralding in lots of long, light days.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman.