Daylight saving time: When do the clocks change? When do clocks go forward?

March has arrived and that marks the start of spring – meaning lighter mornings and sunnier weather. It also means we’ll need to think about changing the clocks. But thankfully explains exactly when you need to set your clocks forward in the UK and the USA.

When do the clocks change in the UK?

In the UK, the clocks go forward one hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, which this year is March 29.

When the clocks are one hour ahead, this is called British Summer Time (BST).

There’s more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings (sometimes called Daylight Saving Time).


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Clocks then go back an hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October.

This year, that will fall on October 25.

When the clocks go back, the UK is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The whole of the UK follows this practice.

When do the clocks change in the USA?

In the USA, Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday, March 8, 2020, which is when people turn the clocks forward an hour, losing one hour of sleep.

DST begins at 2am local time on Sunday, March 8, meaning it will spring forward to 3am at that point.

There’s a handy moniker to remember whether the clocks go forward or backwards, which goes: Spring forward and Fall back.

However, not all the USA will see the clocks change this week.


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The Uniform Time Act of 1966 standardised time zones and daylight saving practices around the US.

But it also allowed individual states to pass laws exempting themselves.

For example, Hawaii remains on Hawaii-Aleutian standard time all year round.

American Samoa, Guam, the Minor Outlying Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands also do not observe daylight saving time.

Why do the clocks change?

Benjamin Franklin is credited as the original brains behind the practice after he wrote an essay titled An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light in 1784.

His essay suggested Parisians could reduce candle usage by getting out of bed earlier, making use of the natural morning light.

Then in 1895, New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson outlined a daylight saving scheme to the Wellington Philosophical Society, which was trialled successfully in 1927.

In the UK, William Willett introduced the idea of Daylight Saving Time in 1907. 

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