Motorists stuck in ’horrendous’ 20-mile queues as millions hit the roads for Easter weekend

29 March 2024, 18:51 | Updated: 30 March 2024, 00:36

Drivers have been stuck in 20-mile-long queues.
Drivers have been stuck in 20-mile-long queues. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Holidaymakers setting off for the bank holiday weekend have been hit by serious delays on the roads amid reports of 20-mile queues on some major motorways.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Routes to areas in the south, particularly those heading towards Devon and Cornwall or the Port of Dover, have faced lengthy queues on Good Friday.

Drivers had been warned ahead of Friday that some 2.6 million drivers journeys were expected on the first day of the bank holiday weekend.

Queues between 15 to 20 miles long were seen on the M4 and M5 interchange near Bristol, adding around 45 minutes to journey times.

The western side of the M25 had reports of 40-minute queues as the road was described as a “lot worse than normal”.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Everyone's heading to Devon and Cornwall, that's the attraction, and there's been a bit of better weather.

“It's causing some pretty horrendous queues.”

It comes after the Port of Dover reported queues of up to two hours earlier in the day, which have since fallen to around 90 minutes.

One driver told the MailOnline: “It took me five hours to get from the Isle of Man to our Airbnb in London yesterday - and it's going to take longer to get out of this queue!

“It's a complete nightmare. You'd think they'd changed something with the systems but no, they just can't cope. Unbelievable.”

Heavy congestion was reported on major motorways.
Heavy congestion was reported on major motorways. Picture: Getty

Passengers heading to the Port of Dover had also been 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 were predicted 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 was expected to be the western section of the M25 between the M23 for Gatwick Airport and the M1 for Hertfordshire.

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."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Prince William has returned to royal duties for the first time since Kate's cancer diagnosis.

Smiling Prince William returns to royal duties for first time since Kate’s cancer diagnosis

Football chiefs have agreed radical changes to the FA Cup

FA Cup scrapping replays as football chiefs announce radical overhaul of the competition

Firefighters work on a building that was partially destroyed after a Russian bombardment in Chernihiv, Ukraine (Francisco Seco/AP)

Russia reports downing five Ukrainian military balloons

Britain's most expensive coffee revealed as £265 cup from Japan's 'island of eternal youth'

Britain's most expensive coffee revealed as £265 cup using beans from Japan's 'island of eternal youth'

Fire and smoke rise out of the Old Stock Exchange, Boersen, in Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen and Paris mayors discuss lessons learned after fires wreck landmarks

Mark Menzies (l) who has had the Conservative whip withdrawn in another headache for Rishi Sunak (r). Inset Cabinet Secretary Simon Hart. Picture: Getty

Tory MP suspended after claims he used party funds to pay for matter of 'life and death' escape from 'bad people'

Prince Harry backdated his new official status as a US resident to the exact day he and Meghan left Frogmore Cottage

Harry ‘backdated US residency to the day he was evicted from Frogmore Cottage ‘to make point to King & William’

Police officers clean the debris from an earthquake in Uwajima, Ehime prefecture, western Japan

Strong earthquake in Japan leaves nine with minor injuries, but no tsunami

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump meets with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda

Poland’s president becomes latest foreign leader to visit Donald Trump

A pharmacist stocks shelves at a chemist

Brexit has ‘exacerbated’ UK drug shortages with supply 'broken', research finds

Following a "remarkably wet" start to April, the Met Office says Friday will see that cold front clearing as high pressure moves in from the Atlantic.

UK prepares for two weeks of sunshine as temperatures set to soar to 25 degrees

German far-right politician of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Bjorn Hocke, centre, attends his trial in the state court in Halle, Germany

Far-right politician stands trial in Germany over alleged use of Nazi slogan

Home Office worker arrested for ‘selling’ UK residency as dozens of staff remain under criminal investigation

Home Office worker arrested for ‘selling’ UK residency as dozens of staff remain under criminal investigation

Sadiq Khan has promised to give all primary school children in London free school meals for another four years if he is re-elected

Sadiq Khan pledges four more years of free primary school meals for children if re-elected as Mayor

'If we can't trust the Tories on defence what can we trust them on?': Nick Ferrari puts Grant Shapps on the spot

'If we can't trust the Tories on defence what can we trust them on?': Nick Ferrari puts Grant Shapps on the spot

Belgium EU Summit

EU leaders vow to impose tougher sanctions on Iran as Ukraine pleads for support