Bank holiday: Brits set to buy 42 million pints as forecasters predict weekend heatwave

28 May 2021, 16:42 | Updated: 28 May 2021, 20:14

Pubs are welcoming tourists but expect to be left short overall
Pubs are welcoming tourists but expect to be left short overall. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Brits are set to buy 42 million pints this bank holiday weekend as forecasters predict temperatures of up to 25C in some parts of England.

Thousands have packed their bags and are heading to top getaway locations for the weekend, with long queues forming on motorways across the South and South West of England and Wales.

Saturday is set to be cloudy but Sunday will bring sunshine to thousands getting away for the first time in over a year - on staycations and seeing loved ones.

The end of the bank holiday weekend could see temperatures rise as high as 25C in West London, the Met Office said.

Many will also head to the pub with friends for a drink indoors for the first time in months.

But the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) estimates that despite a huge number of pints set to be bought, drinks sales are expected to be down 34% compared to pre-pandemic years due to social distancing rules.

The association said the lifting of all restrictions next month - something now in doubt - is essential for the survival of the sector, which has left many tables empty and some pubs unable to reopen at all.

Motorways are busy as Brits head to Wales and the South West for a bank holiday getaway
Motorways are busy as Brits head to Wales and the South West for a bank holiday getaway. Picture: PA Images
Thousands of Brits are heading to South West coastal towns to get away for the bank holiday
Thousands of Brits are heading to South West coastal towns to get away for the bank holiday. Picture: PA Images

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "We estimate Brits who go and support their local this bank holiday weekend will buy 42 million pints. Whilst that is better than being closed with no trade at all, it is 21 million pints fewer than normal for the spring bank holiday.

"Revenues for pubs this bank holiday weekend will be £80 million lower than normal when it comes to beer sales. That is a huge amount of money and could be the difference between surviving or thriving for thousands of pubs in communities across the country.

"As more and more people get their vaccine, and if reports continue to suggest that the Indian variant is less prevalent than originally believed, all restrictions must be removed in pubs on June 21 as per the Government's own road map.

"Pubs only have a fighting chance of recovering from more than a year of lockdowns and restrictions if they can fully reopen as normal."

Approximately 95% of the UK's 47,000 pubs have reopened but must still operate under restrictions including table service only, one metre-plus social distancing and only tables for up to six customers.

Manchester City supporters are heading to Portugal over the bank holiday weekend
Manchester City supporters are heading to Portugal over the bank holiday weekend. Picture: PA Images

Major sporting events are also welcoming back customers for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Thousands of British football fans are on flights to Porto, Portugal ahead of the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea on Sunday.

Footage online shows fans chanting and fighting in the streets ahead of the much-anticipated match, where 16,500 spectators are being allowed into the stadium to watch the game.

Meanwhile, staff at Chester Racecourse are preparing for 3,000 people to enter the grounds for the first time since September 2019 to watch Saturday's Roman Day races.