UK holiday travelMillions travelling over Easter weekend

13 April 2006

A go slow sign on a road

Millions of people will take to the roads and head for the UK's airports over the long weekend.

The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) estimates that 2.3 million people will go abroad over the holiday period.

Today is expected to be Heathrow's busiest day of the holiday period with 214,000 passengers passing through the west London airport. It will handle a further 201,000 passengers tomorrow.

People remaining at home will also have to contend with busy roads and a series of rail disruptions caused by engineering work.

Rail disruption

There will be no services running into or out of King's Cross station in London from Easter Saturday until noon on Easter Monday, with trains starting and ending at Finsbury Park station in north London.

Although the Highways Agency has lifted roadworks at 27 major sites over the Easter period, many are still in place. These include works on the M1 in Hertfordshire and on the M60 in Greater Manchester.

The AA expects 18 million motorists to take to the roads over the holiday weekend and warned that congestion was most likely today on the M25, on the M1 northbound, the M4 westbound, the M6 through the West Midlands, and roads going southbound from Bristol.

M1 warning

Roads to attractions such as Alton Towers in Staffordshire, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Thorpe Park in Surrey are also expected to be busy over the weekend.

The RAC said that traffic was likely to build up from 1pm on Thursday, with the M1 northbound through Hertfordshire one of the most congested routes.

Abta said the recent cold weather had fuelled demand for warmer destinations, with Spain and its islands the most popular destinations.

Abta President Martin Wellings said: 'Although Easter is always a busy time of year for the travel industry, there seems to be a real pent-up demand this year that we've been able to fulfil. It promises to be a very busy weekend.'

The VisitBritain tourism promotion body said that 23 per cent of British adults are planning a trip over the Easter period. Popular destinations include the Lake District, the Cotswolds and seaside resorts with Blackpool, Brighton and Torquay leading the way.