When do the clocks go back? And what to do with the extra hour

It's that time again...

The clocks will soon be going back, marking the start of Greenwich Mean Time. Even though the clocks change twice every year, many of us are caught off-guard.

Here's the exact day and time when the clocks go back this year, and what to do with that extra hour.

alarm clock on pile of old books

(Image credit: Future PLC/Annabel James)

When do the clocks go back?

The clocks will go back on October 31st, 2021. The clocks always change by one hour at 2 am on the last Sunday of October.

This year, it coincides with Halloween. British Summer Time - the period of time when we are one hour ahead - begins in March and ends when the clocks go back, when GMT begins again.

The news that the clocks are going back is often met with a groan. After a summer that never truly arrived, for many, it's an unwelcome signal that darker mornings and shorter days are coming.

large wall clock in grey room

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

But it's not all doom and gloom, as it means an extra hour in bed. Your smartphone will automatically update with the new time, so you can sleep easy without worrying about turning up to work late.

Other analogue clocks, such as the best world clocks, oven and car clocks will need to be updated by hand.

What to do with the extra hour

Catch up on sleep

pink bed with green wall panelling

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Head to bed early to really make the most of the chance to get some more shut-eye. Of course, for those with young children, this might not be possible.

Make it a more luxurious affair with a new bedspread - we love this pink knitted throw currently in the sale at Dusk (opens in new tab). You could also upgrade tired bedding with the best duvets and pillows.

Lots of us have been left feeling totally burnt out after a year and a half of lockdowns, so remember that rest is productive.

Prepare for Halloween

halloween wreath and decorations by a front door

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

This spooky season, lots of us are really going for it with Halloween decorating ideas. Use the extra hour to add finishing touches to your Halloween displays or to pick up some supplies for trick or treaters.

Tick off job you've been avoiding

Whether it's a tricky conversation, finally sorting out a return, or cleaning the oven - use the extra hour to get life admin done. These dreaded tasks weigh on us and it feels so good to finally tick them off our never-ending to-do lists.

We'll be taking the extra hour in bed.

Millie Hurst is Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She first joined the team at the start of 2021. Previously, she worked in women’s lifestyle and homes news, writing about everything from budget kitchen makeovers and gardening tips to homeware dupes and cleaning hacks. Millie can often be found looking up trending terms, spotting news stories our readers need to know about and finding ways to decorate her rented flat.