When do the clocks go back? When does Autumn start? Why do we change the clocks?

After summer ends people always ask about when the clocks go back again. Here’s everything you should know about when the clocks go back and why they go forwards and backwards every year.

Each year, the clocks go forward in Spring and back in Autumn by an hour – yet, despite the annual event many people forget this.

Fortunately, smartphones automatically update the time, making the mistake easier to avoid.

Currently, the UK is operating on British Summer Time (BST) or ‘Daylight savings’ but when the clocks go back we will resume regular Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

According to the 'astronomical calendar', Autumn begins on 23 September 2022 and ends on 21 December 2022.


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When do the clocks go back?

The clocks change twice a year, once going forwards and once going backwards.

In Spring 2022, the clocks went forward on Sunday, 27 March.

And in Autumn, the clocks will go back an hour on the last Sunday of October at 2:00amSunday, 30 October.


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The clocks will go forward again next year on Sunday, 26 March 2023.

When does Autumn start?

According to the meteorological calendar, the first day of Autumn will be Thursday, 1 September.

The Met Office, however, states that Autumn starts on Friday, 23 September as it refers to the astronomical calendar.


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Meteorological seasons follow the annual temperature cycle, while the astronomical seasons act according to the position of the Earth in relation to the sun.

The meteorological calendar states that spring always begins on 1 March and ends on 31 May.

The seasons, therefore, are as follows: Spring (March, April, May), Summer (June, July, August), Autumn (September, October, November) and Winter (December, January, February).

Why do we change the clocks?


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Originally the clocks were changed to save energy and get people to take advantage of the longer hours of daylight. After all, why waste the fuel or time when there is more daylight available?

The idea originated in Britain and was proposed by builder William Willett, according to the senior curator for the History of Science at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, Dr Richard Dunn.

Willett suggested the idea from his frustration with working early hours while others were still asleep, which he considered a ‘waste’.

It was the result of Willett’s campaign, that he started in 1907, to get people to stop wasting valuable hours of light in summer months and in doing so save precious fuel like coal during World War I.


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By 1916, parliament passed the ‘Summer Time Act’ that saw the creation of British Summer Time.

How many days until Christmas?

Once Autumn begins, there are 115 days until Christmas if we go by the meteorological calendar that states Autumn starts on 1 September.

The astronomical calendar used by the Met Office, however, states that Autumn begins 23 September, making it 93 days until Christmas thereafter.


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