An estimated 7.4million people are planning an overnight trip during the Easter weekend as Britain prepares for its first spell of prolonged warm weather of the year.
Temperatures are expected to reach 77F (25C) by the Easter weekend – beating highs in many European holiday destinations, including Costa Del Sol and Corfu.
But the ‘staycation’ boom is set to create chaos on the UK’s roads as millions of families face motorway misery with delays of up to an hour.
Temperatures are expected to reach 77F (25C) by the Easter weekend – beating highs in many European holiday destinations, including Costa Del Sol and Corfu. Pictured: The seaside resort of Lyme Regis in Dorset
Holidaymakers and locals flocked to the beach at Lyme Regis in Dorset today as Britain began its first prolonged spell of warm weather so far this year
A survey by VisitEngland revealed 7.4million Brits are holidaying overnight for the Easter weekend, the highest amount recorded since records began in 2013.
Figures showed a further seven million Brits are undecided about whether or not to take an overnight trip in the UK this Easter, suggesting roads could be even more congested than feared.
Last year, only 4.8million people planned at least a two-day trip during the break and in 2017 it was 6.6million.
Meanwhile, Britain is set for the warmest day of the year so far on Good Friday and temperatures could build further to reach 77F (25C) by Saturday.
The ‘staycation’ boom is set to create chaos on the UK’s roads as millions of families face motorway misery with delays of up to an hour (file photo of the M25)
The country looks set to be hotter than Rome as an area of high pressure brings warm air north from the Mediterranean – giving Britain an Easter heatwave and its first real taste of summer this year.
But it’s bad news for hayfever and asthma sufferers as a pollen bomb clashes with soaring pollution levels, putting millions of people at risk of potentially lethal ‘grey fever’ this week.
Rising temperatures will spur trees to spew out clouds of irritant pollen as a cloud of traffic smog and factory fumes blows in from the Continent, with a combination of airborne toxins and allergens hanging in the air.
The warmest day of the year so far was nearly two months ago February 26, when 70.1F (21.2C) was recorded in Kew Gardens, South West London, during February’s record-breaking spell of sunny weather.
Temperatures will be rising as the week goes on towards the Easter weekend, with 72F (22C) possible on Good Friday
Elsewhere, motorists have been told to avoid travelling on Good Friday as they were warned to expect long tailbacks on some of the country’s routes right through to Monday.
As many as 400 engineering projects are being carried out on Britain’s rail network over the weekend, leading to station closures and replacement bus services.
The widespread train disruption will force millions of extra people onto the UK’s roads on what is already one of the busiest times of the year.
RAC expects 15million car journeys to be taken in the run-up to Good Friday, with a further 1million across the bank holiday weekend itself.
Traffic data from mobility analytics provider INRIX indicates that jams will peak on Good Friday, with major routes clogging up between 11am and 4.30pm.
Millions of families are facing motorway misery this Easter weekend with delays of up to an hour as four-day rail closures cause chaos on the roads
The worst delays are expected on the M5 southbound, passing west of Bristol – part of the popular holiday route towards Devon and Cornwall.
Other badly-hit routes include the M25 anticlockwise from Bromley through the Dartford Tunnel to the A13 and the M6 north between Preston and Lancaster.
The M62 west between Leeds and Manchester is also expected to be busy, with delays of around an hour are expected.
Top tips to avoid traffic jams
The RAC has developed some top tips in order to make your journey as stress-free as possible
1. Plan when to travel
Traffic queues are caused by too many cars on the road at the same time. By travelling outside of peak times you can avoid the jams.
2. Prepare your vehicle
Before travelling make sure you check tyre pressure, oil and coolant levels to avoid a breakdown.
3. Keep you and your passengers happy
No one wants to argue in the car so make sure that you pack enough food and water for the journey and that the temperature is right for all passengers
In a bid to ease the congestion, Highways England is removing more than 450 miles of roadworks.
Rail stations such as London Euston, one of Britain’s busiest, will be closed throughout the four days for preparation work on the HS2 high-speed line.
The Gatwick Express will be closed on Friday and Saturday, while there is a bus service running between Glasgow and Lancaster from Saturday to Monday.
There will also be no trains at London Fenchurch Street, an amended service between Preston and Glasgow Central, and some lines through Wimbledon will be closed.
Dan Croft, spokesman for INRIX, said: ‘During peak hours over Easter, journeys could take UK drivers three times longer than usual.
‘We are predicting Good Friday will be the worst for traffic from late morning into the afternoon.
‘For drivers looking to avoid the worst congestion, the best options are to travel on Saturday, set off early in the morning and keep updated with real-time traffic data.’
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: ‘We recognise there is never an ideal time to shut the railway for our must-do work.
‘Bank holidays are the least disruptive time to do it, when fewer passengers use the railway compared to the working week.
‘That way we can do the maximum amount of work while impacting the fewest number of people.’
Millions due to hit the roads for an Easter staycation this weekend will be hit by highest spring-time petrol prices in five years with full tank costing up to £80
Millions of drivers hitting the roads this weekend will face the highest Easter petrol prices in five years – with motorway service stations charging up to £80 to fill your tank.
A report from the AA shows the cost of filling up a petrol car has surged by £2.40 in just a month as retailers have rushed to offload the recent rise in oil prices on to motorists.
It means petrol now costs 125.41p per litre on average, or just under £69 to fill up a 55-litre family car.
Millions of drivers hitting the roads this weekend will face the highest Easter petrol prices in five years – with motorway service stations charging up to £80 to fill your tank
The average price of diesel has gone up much more slowly, rising from 130.32p a month ago to 131.97p.
But the AA said it is the oil company-branded sites – including BP, Esso, Texaco and Shell – rather than supermarkets which are really turning the screws at the pumps.
These are owned by a combination of independent retailers, service station operators including Welcome Break and Moto – and the oil companies themselves.
Often they are situated at motorway service fuel stations, which are notoriously expensive.
The AA said motorway petrol costs as much as 145.9p per litre, or just over £80 to fill up.
This is more than 20p a litre or £11 a tank more expensive than the UK average.
Two BP-branded forecourts on the M25 between junctions 5 and 6 near Westerham in Kent charging this amount were identified in the report.
The report shows a ‘huge’ 6.4p a litre gap has opened up between supermarkets, which charge 120.73p per litre on average, and non-supermarkets – which charge 127.16p per litre on average.
This difference equates to more than £3.50 for a tank. The gap last Easter was around £2.40 a tank.