Holidaymakers hit with 2-hour Dover ferry waits amid strong winds, as 2.6m hit the roads for Good Friday getaway

29 March 2024, 10:57 | Updated: 29 March 2024, 11:00

Drivers queuing in Dover on Friday morning
Drivers queuing in Dover on Friday morning. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Holidaymakers trying to catch ferries from Dover are being hit with delays of up to two hours amid strong winds brought by Storm Nelson.

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The Port of Dover said on Friday morning that delays were as long as 90 minutes after Thursday night's stormy weather, but that border controls in France were "flowing well".

Passengers are also being warned processing might take longer than usual because French authorities are conducting tighter security checks after the attack in Moscow last week.

Photos from Dover showed long tailbacks as drivers queued to board ferries to the continent for Easter getaways.

"Blustery scattered showers" on Friday are expected to turn "heavy and thundery at times, mainly in the south and west", according to the Met Office.

Read more: Easter Carmageddon: Over two million drivers to hit the road on Good Friday after Storm Nelson travel chaos

Read more: Exact date Storm Nelson to batter Brits with 641-mile wall of rain and strong winds ahead of Easter weekend

Traffic management in Dover for cars, coaches and lorries as they queue to enter the Port of Dover
Traffic management in Dover for cars, coaches and lorries as they queue to enter the Port of Dover. Picture: Alamy
Traffic on the A20 waiting to enter the Port of Dover in Kent to catch their ferries as the getaway continues for the Easter weekend. Picture date: Friday March 29, 2024.
Traffic on the A20 waiting to enter the Port of Dover in Kent to catch their ferries as the getaway continues for the Easter weekend. Picture date: Friday March 29, 2024. Picture: Alamy
Passengers queue for ferries at the Port of Dover in Kent as the getaway continues for the Easter weekend. Picture date: Friday March 29, 2024.
Passengers queue for ferries at the Port of Dover in Kent as the getaway continues for the Easter weekend. Picture date: Friday March 29, 2024. Picture: Alamy

P&O Ferries said on Friday morning that "there are currently queues in the Port of Dover."

"Please don't worry if you miss your sailing, we'll get you on the next available ship once you're through check-in," the company added.

Ferry company DFDS said that all Dover-France services "are currently operating with delays due to the earlier strong winds in the Channel.

"Please check-in as normal, we will transfer all passengers onto the first available sailing on arrival. Apologies for any inconvenience caused."

Lorries on the A20 waiting to enter the Port of Dover in Kent to catch their ferries as the getaway continues for the Easter weekend. Picture date: Friday March 29, 2024.
Lorries on the A20 waiting to enter the Port of Dover in Kent to catch their ferries as the getaway continues for the Easter weekend. Picture date: Friday March 29, 2024. Picture: Alamy

It comes as around 2.6 million drivers hit the roads for Good Friday getaways, with journeys to take twice as long as usual, as the bank holiday coincides with the start of a two-week holiday for schools.

The first drivers to depart on their Easter getaways were hit by travel chaos on Thursday after Storm Nelson arrived.

Read more: Brits warned of Easter weekend ‘carmageddon’ as 14 million journeys planned with double normal travel times

Read more: Hundreds of Border Force officers at Heathrow Airport to stage four-day strike

Travel chaos ensued after Storm Nelson hit on Thursday.
Travel chaos ensued after Storm Nelson hit on Thursday. Picture: Alamy

Drivers were advised to set off as early as possible or wait until later in the day to make their Good Friday journeys, as peak times are expected to hit between 11am and 3pm.

The RAC and transport analysis company Inrix commissioned a survey which suggested 2.6 million leisure journeys by car will be made on the bank holiday.

One of the busiest roads will be the western section of the M25 between the M23 for Gatwick Airport and the M1 for Hertfordshire, where journey times will double from two to four hours on average.

Network Rail urged train passengers to check their journey details before they travel because some major routes will be closed due to engineering work.

The West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes will be shut for four days from Good Friday.

Storm Nelson saw gusts of 50mph on Thursday.
Storm Nelson saw gusts of 50mph on Thursday. Picture: Alamy

More than 14 million journeys are expected to take place over the course of the four-day weekend.

Deputy chief meteorologist Dan Harris said of the upcoming weather: "The weather is expected to gradually improve following the widely unsettled spell of the past few days, with a fairly typical mix of spring-like weather across the UK.

"There will be some sunshine, and it will feel increasingly warm for most as the winds become lighter.

"However, the west and especially south west is likely to see passing showers too, which could be quite heavy and frequent at times.

"Eastern coastal districts are also likely to feel increasingly cold as an onshore breeze develops, threatening persistent low cloud in some areas too."

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