RECORD numbers will hit the roads this Easter Bank Holiday weekend with motorists facing the worst jams tomorrow.
Jams will peak on Friday with major routes clogging up between 11am and 4.30pm, according to Inrix, the analytics provider, with the M25 anticlockwise from Bromley (J4) through the Dartford Tunnel to the A13 (J30) among the worst congested in the UK.
The RAC said 15 million leisure car journeys are being taken in the run-up to Good Friday, with a further 12 million across the Bank Holiday weekend itself.
George Flinton, AA patrol of the year, said: “There will be a lot of pressure on major routes, particularly motorways and routes to coastal regions and Channel ports.
“Expect delays and allow plenty of extra time for your journey, particularly if you have a ferry to catch.”
Airlines, however, reported “massive bookings” despite the worries over Brexit, with easyJet reporting its busiest Easter getaway ever.
Network Rail engineering work means Euston and Fenchurch Street stations will be closed on all four days, with major changes to services to and from Waterloo mainline station.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of transport user watchdog Transport Focus, warned: “For passengers wanting to travel over the Bank Holiday engineering works could be a major inconvenience.”
Tracks are being replaced on the Tube, meaning disruption to the Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines.
For many national parks, Easter trails at castles and estates and traditional gardens such as Blenheim are competing with bucket-shop foreign holidays, with many preferring to stay at home rather than suffer the hassle of packed airport lounges and flights.
Tourist agency VisitEngland said the number of British people planning overnight trips this Easter is the highest since surveys began in 2013. Some 7.4 million people are reported to be planning overnight holidays in the UK, providing a £1.8 billion boost to the economy.
Director Patricia Yates said: “It is great to see so many Brits are planning holidays at home in the UK in what is set to be a cracking Easter, bringing a boost for businesses and local economies as the summer season gets underway.”
Easter, however, still attracts those taking the first foreign holidays of the year, with Abta, the travel association, estimating three million people either taking holidays between now and May Day or a long weekend. Florida, New York and Vietnam top the list for those taking a longer break while Majorca, Turkey and mainland Spain are favoured for Easter. For the stay-at-homes, the Lake District, Edinburgh, York and London are proving the most popular.
Abta’s Mark Tanzer said: “The Brexit extension should give people total confidence to book their holidays knowing that nothing will change regarding travel arrangements to the EU throughout the summer.”