Motorists are being warned to expect severe delays on popular tourist routes on Good Friday as millions of people embark on an Easter getaway.
The worst jams are expected between 11am and 4.30pm with some journeys taking three times longer than normal, according to research by the RAC and traffic information supplier Inrix.
An estimated 4.4 million people will take to the UK’s roads for leisure trips on Good Friday.
The stretches of road likely to see the worst delays include:
– M62 westbound from Leeds to Manchester between Junctions 27 and 18 (56-minute delay)
– M6 northbound from Preston to Lancaster between Junctions 31 and 34 (39-minute delay)
– M25 anticlockwise from Orpington between Junctions 4 and 30 (30-minute delay)
Thursday saw a number of routes clogged up by people making an early start ahead of the bank holiday weekend.
Routes from west London to Exeter had significant delays on journeys via the M4 and M5, the AA said.
A broken down lorry on the M3 slip road to Basingstoke, Hampshire slowed traffic trying to get off the motorway.
AA president Edmund King said Saturday will see a “congestion cocktail” of day trippers, shoppers, sun-seekers and football fans taking to the roads.
“Expect delays and allow plenty of extra time for your journey”, he added.
For those staying in the UK, the Met Office is predicting plenty of warm, dry and sunny weather across the country.
Temperatures are expected to widely reach the low 20s Celsius and peak at 24C or 25C in the South.
The record temperature for Easter Sunday in the UK is 25.3C in Solent, Hampshire in April 2011.
Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “Temperatures will continue to rise day by day and with the sun getting stronger at this time of year, it’s going to feel warm or very warm across much of the country this Easter weekend.
“With temperatures usually around 12C to 15C at this time of year, it’s certainly going to be significantly warmer than average this Easter weekend and quite a contrast to the colder weather we’ve seen so far this month.”
A survey of 1,258 people by tourist board VisitEngland indicated that 7.4 million have planned an overnight trip in the UK this weekend.
This is up from 4.8 million last year and is the most since the annual survey was launched in 2013.
Among the attractions holding special events this weekend are Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire; Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire; Dreamland Margate, Kent and Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.
Travel trade association Abta expects 2.1 million British holidaymakers to head overseas this weekend, with strong demand reported for destinations including Spain, Turkey and Egypt.
Airports, ferry terminals and the Channel Tunnel will be extremely busy.
Motorists face paying the highest petrol prices for the Easter getaway in five years.
The average price of a tank of petrol has soared by more than £2.40 according to the AA.
Rail passengers also face disruption as Network Rail carries out engineering work.
London Euston, the fifth busiest station in the UK, will be closed between Good Friday and Easter Monday.
There will also be no trains at London Fenchurch Street, an amended service between Preston and Glasgow Central, and some lines closed through Wimbledon.
Network Rail said fewer passenger use trains during bank holidays compared with working days but admitted there is “never an ideal time to shut the railway for our must-do work”.