• By Katy Austin, Transportation Correspondent, and Andre Rhoden-Paul
  • BBC news

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Drivers plan around 14 million Easter holidays between Thursday and Easter Monday

Drivers are being warned to expect long delays as millions of Brits head off for the Easter holidays.

Transport analytics firm Inrix predicted that traffic congestion will be the worst on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, airports and airlines expect figures to return to pre-pandemic levels during the bank holiday weekend and school holidays.

And train passengers are advised to plan ahead due to construction work.

While periods of dry and reasonably sunny weather will occur across Britain, low pressure is expected to bring cloud and downpours, with snow already falling in Devon.

Car company RAC warned that journeys on popular routes could take twice as long if the bank holiday weekend coincides with the start of the Easter holidays.

A study by RAC and Inrix shows that 14 million Easter holidays are expected to be made.

“With Easter falling earlier than normal at the start of the school holidays, it could be a disaster for holidaymakers,” an RAC spokesperson said.

In particular, journeys on the M25, between the M23 to Gatwick and the M1 in Hertfordshire, are expected to take more than two hours – twice as long as normal.

The M5 southbound between Bristol and Taunton is also likely to be congested.

Meanwhile, tourism agency Visit England said 11 million people in Britain are planning an overnight trip this Easter.

Airports and airlines are expecting large numbers, in some cases above 2019 levels.

Image caption,

Stansted Airport had long queues this week

Manchester Airport said it was preparing for around 320,000 passengers this weekend, up 8% on last year.

Glasgow Airport said it would have additional staff during “three exceptionally busy weekends ahead”.

Low-cost airline Easyjet predicts the busiest Easter weekend ever.

What about train travel?

Network Rail is urging people to check their travel details before traveling.

There will be disruption on some rail lines over the holiday as some key routes are closed for works.

London Euston, one of Britain’s busiest train stations, is closed between Good Friday and Easter Monday, except for London Overground trains.

This is because Network Rail’s engineering work between London and Milton Keynes will close part of the West Coast Main Line.

Replacement buses run on this route. Avanti West Coast will operate a revised service on its network.

There is more information about other changes to train services across the country on the National Rail website.

Stricter controls in Dover

French authorities in Dover have stepped up border control following the attack on the Moscow concert hall. Drivers are advised to plan ahead and allow extra time.

About 20,000 cars are expected to drive through the port between Thursday and Easter Sunday.

People heading to the Channel Tunnel at the Port of Dover will find the Operation Brock traffic management system on the M20.

At peak times in the coming days, Dover has told bus operators that even with the right resources at the border, wait times could be up to 2.5 hours.

Eurotunnel told the BBC that it is deploying extra shuttles and staff to cope with the expected high numbers.

What does the weather look like?

It’s the first long bank holiday weekend of the year, but we’re still in a transition period between winter and summer, and that means the weather can go from one extreme to the other.

The BBC Weather Center says that when Easter falls in March, there is generally a greater chance of snow than at Christmas. Devon already woke up to snow on Thursday.

The good news is that there will be reasonable spells of dry and fairly sunny weather at several stages across Britain over the weekend.

Image caption,

Household residents in Devon woke up to snowfall on Thursday

Temperatures will also be largely at or above average for the time of year.

The not so good news is that low pressure will remain close to our coast, meaning showery clouds and isolated downpours are possible almost everywhere.

It is not yet clear which areas will receive the most rain. Currently it seems likely that a wider area of ​​rain could fall northwards across most of the country later on Easter Sunday and into Monday.

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