Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-storm-nelson-sparks-getaway-chaos:-millions-thrown-into-easter-holiday-hell-as-80mph-winds-cancel-ferry-services-and-planes-are-forced-to-abort-landings-–-as-london-is-put-on-tornado-watchAlert – Storm Nelson sparks getaway chaos: Millions thrown into Easter holiday hell as 80mph winds cancel ferry services and planes are forced to abort landings – as London is put on Tornado-watch

Britain’s getaway was hit by Storm Nelson today as busy roads were deluged by torrential rain, trains were delayed by high winds and planes had to abort landings.

Ferries were cancelled as the UK endured 80mph gusts, snow, hail and thunder while parks, zoos and gardens had to close with the south of England particularly badly hit.

The Met Office extended a 17-hour wind warning to cover the whole of the south coast from Cornwall to Kent and up to Suffolk with strong gusts until midnight.

Also today, the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation warned there was a ‘low end chance’ of one or two tornadoes developing over an area of England including London – with a Met Office meteorologist saying ‘the odd tornado’ was possible. 

DFDS had to cancel some ferries from Dover to Calais and Dieppe to Newhaven, while Thameslink warned rail passengers that the winds could delay trains. Services between Bournemouth and Weymouth in Dorset had to run at reduced speed. 

Drivers were told to expect ‘carmageddon’ amid the ‘danger to life’ weather alert as families on leisure journeys competed for road space with regular commuters.

Some 14million getaway trips across the weekend are set to cause gridlock on the roads, with some journeys expected to take twice as long as normal because the bank holiday coincides with the start of a two-week holiday for many schools.

The RAC and transport analysis company Inrix estimated two million trips will take place today, with the worst congestion anticipated to be between 2pm and 7pm.

The busiest route is expected to be the western section of the M25 between the M23 for Gatwick Airport and the M1 for Hertfordshire. Journeys on this stretch from 4pm are expected to take over two hours, which is more than twice as long as usual.

In addition, two million British holidaymakers are set to jet off abroad over the Easter weekend, with Manchester Airport bracing for a ‘record-breaking’ passenger total.

Meanwhile the Port of Dover warned those catching a ferry today that sea conditions in the English Channel were ‘rough with a strong south-easterly breeze, force six’.

An easyJet pilot has to abort a landing at London Gatwick Airport today in the strong winds

An easyJet pilot has to abort a landing at London Gatwick Airport today in the strong winds 

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington this afternoon

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington this afternoon

Traffic builds up on the M25 motorway near Cobham in Surrey today as the getaway begins

Traffic builds up on the M25 motorway near Cobham in Surrey today as the getaway begins


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Large waves crash over the harbour wall as Storm Nelson arrives at Newhaven in Sussex today

Large waves crash over the harbour wall as Storm Nelson arrives at Newhaven in Sussex today

Storm Nelson brings heavy rain and strong winds to Bournemouth seafront in Dorset today

Storm Nelson brings heavy rain and strong winds to Bournemouth seafront in Dorset today

People take cover on Brighton beach in East Sussex today as Storm Nelson hits Britain

People take cover on Brighton beach in East Sussex today as Storm Nelson hits Britain

Two men get a soaking at the 'Doughnut' on Brighton seafront in East Sussex this afternoon

Two men get a soaking at the ‘Doughnut’ on Brighton seafront in East Sussex this afternoon

TODAY: Wet and windy conditions are expected to hit many parts of Britain throughout today

TODAY: Wet and windy conditions are expected to hit many parts of Britain throughout today 

The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation warned there was a 'low end chance' of one or two tornadoes developing over an area of England including London (shaded in yellow)

The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation warned there was a ‘low end chance’ of one or two tornadoes developing over an area of England including London (shaded in yellow)

Journeys could also be delayed due to extra border security checks by the French after the concert hall attack in Moscow last Friday that killed more than 130 people.

READ MORE Storm Nelson’s 70mph gales batter Britain: Terrifying moment easyJet plane aborts Gatwick landing at last second in strong winds, as UK battens down the hatches with parks closing early, rail firms warning of delays and ferry services cancelled

A dramatic video showed the moment an easyJet pilot was forced to abort a landing at Gatwick Airport. The clip showed flight EZY52FR from Faro in Portugal coming into land in heavy rain just after 12.30pm before wobbling then pulling up again.

The flight on an Airbus A320 circled around West Sussex for ten minutes then landed successfully on the second attempt. EasyJet has yet to comment on the incident.

The forecast had an impact on London , with Kew Gardens closing early at 3pm due to the conditions, along with parts of Bushy Park and Kensington Gardens.

Dartmoor Zoo in Devon shut because of the winds, while National Trust sites such as Needles Old Battery and Mottisfont Gardens in Hampshire also had to close.

Some snow even fell in parts of Devon and Wales overnight – after accumulations also built up at the other end of the UK in the Scottish Highlands earlier this week.

Nearly 3in (8cm) was recorded this morning at Sennybridge in Powys, while 2in (5cm) settled on the ground overnight at North Wyke, just north of Dartmoor.

STORM NELSON: A map by Spanish weather service Aemet showing the low pressure system

STORM NELSON: A map by Spanish weather service Aemet showing the low pressure system

GOOD FRIDAY FORECAST: Showers and breezy conditions for Britain this Friday with 14C highs

GOOD FRIDAY FORECAST: Showers and breezy conditions for Britain this Friday with 14C highs

GOOD FRIDAY: The Met Office has warned of 'unsettled' weather for much of Europe this week

GOOD FRIDAY: The Met Office has warned of ‘unsettled’ weather for much of Europe this week

EASTER SATURDAY: Spain and Portugal are likely to see thunderstorms and strong winds

EASTER SATURDAY: Spain and Portugal are likely to see thunderstorms and strong winds

The southern section of the West Coast Main Line will be closed between Good Friday and Easter Monday, with replacement buses replacing Avanti West Coast trains in some areas

The southern section of the West Coast Main Line will be closed between Good Friday and Easter Monday, with replacement buses replacing Avanti West Coast trains in some areas

The Met Office said exposed coastal areas could face 70mph gusts. A top speed of 78mph was recorded at Cairngorm in Scotland and 59mph on the Isles of Scilly.

READ MORE Easter getaway scramble begins: Drivers face ‘carmageddon’ on the roads with 14 million trips planned over four-day weekend as Port of Dover warns of ‘rough’ seas and rail passengers brace for closures

Devon council officials said teams worked ‘all night to keep the roads passable but drive with extreme care, avoid high roads and stick to main roads where possible.’

The UK overnight low this morning was -4.9C (23.2F) at Cairngorm, while Devon fell to -1.2C (29.8F) at Okehampton. Newcastle and Inverness dropped to 0C (32F).

Rose Mallard, 50, a smallholder from near Bideford in north Devon, said: ‘To wake up to see the snow settled and a beautiful blue sky was a gift.’

Forecasters say an area of rain, sleet and hill snow is moving north across the UK as holidaymakers prepare to embark on Easter getaways.

Oli Claydon of the Met Office said: ‘There is still a chance of some snow over the Scottish hills as the weather front moves northwards.

‘The weather story now really turns into an area of low pressure that’s going to bring some very strong wind and rain.’

Yellow weather warnings for rain and strong winds were issued across parts of Northern Ireland and the south of England respectively.

Passengers queue for Eurostar trains at London St Pancras International station this morning

Passengers queue for Eurostar trains at London St Pancras International station this morning 

Storm Nelson brings heavy rain and strong winds to Bournemouth seafront in Dorset today

Storm Nelson brings heavy rain and strong winds to Bournemouth seafront in Dorset today

People watch the stormy weather on Brighton beach today as Storm Nelson batters the coast

People watch the stormy weather on Brighton beach today as Storm Nelson batters the coast

Pedestrians brave the heavy rain and gusty conditions on Westminster Bridge today

Pedestrians brave the heavy rain and gusty conditions on Westminster Bridge today

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington this afternoon

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington this afternoon

Swimmers take a dip in the rough seas by the Cobb harbour at Lyme Regis in Dorset today

Swimmers take a dip in the rough seas by the Cobb harbour at Lyme Regis in Dorset today

Strong waves crash into Dawlish in Devon as Storm Nelson strikes Britain this morning

Strong waves crash into Dawlish in Devon as Storm Nelson strikes Britain this morning

Storm Nelson brings heavy rain and strong winds to Bournemouth seafront in Dorset today

Storm Nelson brings heavy rain and strong winds to Bournemouth seafront in Dorset today

Air passengers queue for bag drop at the easyJet desks at Bristol Airport early this morning

Air passengers queue for bag drop at the easyJet desks at Bristol Airport early this morning

Forecasters say heavy downpours could impact travel in County Antrim and County Down, with up to 1.2in (30mm) falling in some areas today.

Rail passengers warned of fresh travel chaos as drivers strike again

Rail passengers are being warned of fresh disruption to services because of strikes and an overtime ban by train drivers in a long-running pay dispute.

Members of Aslef at 16 train operators will stage three one-day strikes across different train operating companies between April 5-8 as well as an overtime ban from Thursday April 4 to Saturday April 6 and from Monday April 8 to Tuesday April 9, which may lead to short-notice cancellations.

Revised timetables for the strikes have been drawn up and passengers are being advised to check before they travel.

There will be changes to services across large parts of the network, with some train operators not running any services on strike days.

Train companies said they will operate as many services as possible but there will be regional variations, with some areas having no services on strike days, while those that do run will start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically running between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

London Underground drivers who are members of Aslef are also set to strike for 24 hours on Monday April 8 in a separate dispute.

A spokesperson for Rail Delivery Group, said: ‘We are sorry that this round of strikes called by the Aslef leadership risk disrupting journeys.

‘While we are doing all we can to keep trains running and we will work with our industry partners to keep as many trains running as possible, unfortunately there will be reduced services between Thursday April 4 to Tuesday April 9.

‘Our advice is to check before you travel and follow the latest travel information.’

Strikes will be held on the following days:

  • Friday April 5: Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and CrossCountry.
  • Saturday April 6: Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine Express.
  • Monday April 8: c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR’s Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern (including Gatwick Express) Southeastern, South Western Railway.

Aslef has staged a series of strikes since the dispute started 20 months ago, arguing that drivers have not had a pay rise for years, despite many working through the pandemic.

Easter weekend is set to be ‘unsettled’ but ‘bright and breezy’, with temperatures of up to 15C (59F) in West London and 14C (57F) in Manchester on Sunday, which is typical for the time of year.

The weather system has been named Storm Nelson by Spanish meteorologists in what could be seen as an ironic gesture about Britain’s victorious vice admiral as it heads for our shores.

It is the UK’s first named storm since January but the 11th of the current season, which began in September.

Today’s weather warning, issued by the UK Met Office , predicted road, rail, air and ferry disruption, as well as cuts to electricity and mobile phone networks.

Forecasters added: ‘There is a small chance that injuries and danger to life could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties.’

Describing the weather, the Met Office said: ‘A deep area of low pressure will bring a spell of very windy weather to parts of southwest and then southern England on Thursday.

‘Gusts of 50 mph are expected quite widely, while some exposed coastal spots may experience gusts of 60 to 70 mph, with large waves also likely.

‘The strong winds will be accompanied by heavy, squally showers with the possibility of hail and thunder in some locations.

‘Hail won’t fall everywhere but where it does it can quickly make road surfaces slippery, while surface water and spray are likely to worsen travel conditions rather more widely.’

Further north, a separate band of cloud and showery rain will bring damp conditions before clearing this afternoon – followed by more rain later as Nelson moves north-eastwards.

The Met Office added that showers are due to continue into Good Friday, when it is due to be bright and breezy.

Forecasters said showers are due to become ‘more scattered on Saturday and Easter Sunday’ when it should ‘feel warmer in the sunny spells and lighter winds’.

Temperatures in southern England on Easter Sunday could reach highs of 15C (59F) – warmer than the Spanish capital Madrid, which is due to be cool and showery with temperatures of just 10C (50F) on Easter Sunday.

Maximum figures of 14C (57F) are expected as far north as Manchester.

Turkey, Dubai and the Canary Islands are among the most popular destinations for Britons amid wet and windy weather forecast for the UK, although trips to Dublin are also in demand.

Travel trade organisation Abta said airports are reporting ‘strong numbers’, with 175,000 due to leave from Stansted, 105,000 from Luton, 160,000 from Manchester, 79,000 from Birmingham, and 89,000 from Edinburgh between Friday and Monday.

Manchester Airport managing director Chris Woodroofe said: ‘It’s exciting that record numbers of people will be taking off from here this Easter: 320,000 people will travel (through the airport) over the bank holiday weekend – that’s up 7 per cent on April 2023.’

Vehicles splash through floodwater on country road in Eton near Windsor in Berkshire today

Vehicles splash through floodwater on country road in Eton near Windsor in Berkshire today

A man photographs waves as they hit the sea wall at Seaton in Cornwall this morning

A man photographs waves as they hit the sea wall at Seaton in Cornwall this morning

Storm Nelson brings heavy rain and strong winds to Bournemouth seafront in Dorset today

Storm Nelson brings heavy rain and strong winds to Bournemouth seafront in Dorset today

People take photos of the waves as Storm Nelson batters the coast at Brighton this morning

People take photos of the waves as Storm Nelson batters the coast at Brighton this morning

Waves crash over the harbour wall at Dover in Kent this afternoon

Waves crash over the harbour wall at Dover in Kent this afternoon 

Big waves hit the coast at Nothe Gardens in Weymouth, Dorset, this morning

Big waves hit the coast at Nothe Gardens in Weymouth, Dorset, this morning

Passengers wait to go through security for Eurostar at London St Pancras station this morning

Passengers wait to go through security for Eurostar at London St Pancras station this morning

Glasgow predicts more than 90,000 passengers over the four days, while Birmingham Airport said it expects a 27.2 per cent increase in departures on last year over the full Easter period.

European temperatures for Easter Saturday 

  • Rome – 25C
  • Palermo – 25C
  • Athens – 24C
  • Budapest – 23C
  • Berlin – 20C
  • Dubrovnik – 20C
  • Palma – 20C
  • Nice – 19C
  • Venice – 18C
  • Zurich – 18C
  • Gibraltar – 18C
  • Paris – 17C
  • Bordeaux – 17C
  • Amsterdam – 16C
  • LONDON – 15C
  • Madrid – 14C
  • Dublin – 12C

Bristol, which predicts 30,000 holiday trips on Easter Sunday alone, advised: ‘If travelling with Easter eggs, passengers are advised to keep any chocolate treats in your cabin baggage and to make sure they’re easily accessible as they may need to be opened for a quick check.’

Wightlink said there is still availability for last-minute bookings on ferries to and from the Isle of Wight.

Brittany Ferries said sailings to France and Spain are ‘busy’, though overall volumes are in-line with last year.

Meanwhile rail travel will be disrupted by engineering works, with the southern section of the West Coast Main Line closed between tomorrow and Easter Monday.

Tourist board VisitEngland said around 11million people in the UK are planning an overnight Easter trip, generating an estimated £3.2billion boost to the economy.

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

Some 2.3million getaway trips are planned for each of Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday, with 2.0million set to take place on each of Thursday and Easter Monday.

A further 3.3million Easter leisure journeys have been planned by drivers who are undecided exactly what day they will travel, leading to a total of around 14.5million getaway trips between Thursday and Easter Monday.

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists in the county are warned to take extra care

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists in the county are warned to take extra care

HMP Dartmoor stands against a backdrop of snow in Devon this afternoon

HMP Dartmoor stands against a backdrop of snow in Devon this afternoon

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as people try to make the most of the conditions

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as people try to make the most of the conditions

Pedestrians brave the heavy rain and gusty conditions on Westminster Bridge today

Pedestrians brave the heavy rain and gusty conditions on Westminster Bridge today

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as drivers are told to take extra care

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as drivers are told to take extra care

Snowy conditions in Princetown near Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Snowy conditions in Princetown near Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A dog walker in snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this morning

A dog walker in snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this morning

Sheep in snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today amid the wintry conditions

Sheep in snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today amid the wintry conditions 

Police work at a crash scene on the A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel approach in Greenwich today

Police work at a crash scene on the A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel approach in Greenwich today

On Good Friday, the lengthiest delays are expected to be between 11am and 3pm, meaning drivers are advised to set off as early as possible in the morning or wait until later in the afternoon.

EXCLUSIVEREAD MORE How to grab a last-minute flight bargain this Easter: The 11 European countries you can still visit for under £100 return next week

Two popular routes for holidaymakers – the M5 southbound between Bristol and Taunton, and the M3 between the M25 and the south coast – are likely to be congested, with estimated journey times more than double what they normally are.

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Alice Simpson said: ‘With Easter falling earlier than usual at the start of the school holidays, it could be carmageddon for holidaymakers.

‘Anyone who can delay leaving on Thursday until much later in the evening or set off as early as possible on Good Friday is likely to have a better journey than those who travel during the peak periods of the day.

‘Lengthy queues can be expected along routes to the usual hotspots like the West Country, the Lake District and the south coast, especially during the middle of the day when most people make trips.’

Inrix transportation analyst Bob Pishue said: ‘Although travel times will peak on Thursday and Friday afternoons, drivers should be prepared for longer journeys than normal throughout the entire weekend.

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists are urged to take care

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists are urged to take care

A vehicle is driven through a water-logged lane at Dunsden in Oxfordshire this morning

A vehicle is driven through a water-logged lane at Dunsden in Oxfordshire this morning

Snow covers a car parked in the village of Pontrhydfendigaid in Mid Wales this morning

Snow covers a car parked in the village of Pontrhydfendigaid in Mid Wales this morning

A man takes photographs at Seaton in Cornwall this morning amid the severe weather

A man takes photographs at Seaton in Cornwall this morning amid the severe weather 

Wet and windy weather at high tide at Lyme Regis in Dorset this morning

Wet and windy weather at high tide at Lyme Regis in Dorset this morning

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as drivers are warned to take extra care

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as drivers are warned to take extra care

A goose walks across snow covered ground on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A goose walks across snow covered ground on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as holidaymakers prepare for Easter getaways

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as holidaymakers prepare for Easter getaways

Snowy conditions at Trecastle in Brecon, Powys, today as Wales is hit by the white stuff

Snowy conditions at Trecastle in Brecon, Powys, today as Wales is hit by the white stuff

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington this afternoon

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington this afternoon 

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today amid a warning for drivers across the county

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today amid a warning for drivers across the county

A dog in snowy conditions near Bideford in Devon this morning

A dog in snowy conditions near Bideford in Devon this morning

People walking through the snow on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

People walking through the snow on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Passengers queue for East Midlands Railway trains at London St Pancras station today

Passengers queue for East Midlands Railway trains at London St Pancras station today

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as people try to make the most of the conditions

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as people try to make the most of the conditions 

Snowy conditions near Bideford in Devon this morning

Snowy conditions near Bideford in Devon this morning

‘To avoid the longest delays, we advise adjusting departure times so you’re not travelling in peak commuter hours.’

EXCLUSIVEREAD MORE Port of Dover warns travellers to expect delays in run up to Easter getaway as France increases border security checks following Moscow concert massacre

The RAC and Inrix survey of 2,136 UK adults was conducted by research company Find Out Now last week.

Meanwhile the AA said Easter Saturday is expected to be busiest day of the holiday period, with at least 18.5million taking to the roads.

The organisation added that it expected there to be 5.2million bank holiday journeys to visit friends or family, while conditions could be unpredictable as the unsettled weather continues.

The AA advised drivers to carry out ‘a few simple checks’ on their car before embarking on Easter journeys.

Chris Wood, AA patrol of the year, said: ‘Easter is the first opportunity many people have to go and see their family and we’re expecting the roads to be busy.

‘Before setting off on a long journey it’s important to check your car. Take 10 minutes to check your oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels.’

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

A small snowman in snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A small snowman in snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Stormy seas batter the defences of the Jurassic Pier at West Bay in Dorset this morning

 Stormy seas batter the defences of the Jurassic Pier at West Bay in Dorset this morning

Wet and windy weather at high tide at Lyme Regis in Dorset this morning

Wet and windy weather at high tide at Lyme Regis in Dorset this morning

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists are urged to take care

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists are urged to take care

A man watches waves as they hit the sea wall at Seaton in Cornwall this morning

A man watches waves as they hit the sea wall at Seaton in Cornwall this morning

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as people try to make the most of the conditions

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as people try to make the most of the conditions

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists are urged to take care

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists are urged to take care

A man walks a dog on the beach in Seaton in Cornwall today amid the severe weather

A man walks a dog on the beach in Seaton in Cornwall today amid the severe weather

Big waves hit the coast at Nothe Gardens in Weymouth, Dorset, this morning

Big waves hit the coast at Nothe Gardens in Weymouth, Dorset, this morning

Police work at a crash scene on the A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel approach in Greenwich today

Police work at a crash scene on the A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel approach in Greenwich today

The West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes, used by Avanti West Coast trains to and from Scotland, will be shut for four days from tomorrow.

READ MORE Rain in Spain! Met Office warns of Easter washout for families heading to European cities including 14C Madrid – but 25C Rome will be hot and sunny

Network Rail said it was laying new track near Kensal Green tunnel in North West London and replacing a busy junction just south of Milton Keynes.

Buses will run from Potters Bar to Watford Junction and Milton Keynes to London.

There will also be disruption to ScotRail services because of work to renew tracks and points over a major junction between Glasgow Central and Cambuslang and Polmadie Depot.

And in West Yorkshire, work will continue on the TransPennine Route Upgrade, with new tracks being laid around Huddersfield. This will mean changes to trains on routes such as Sheffield to Leeds and all trains to Huddersfield itself.

Greater Anglia warned of disruption across its routes because of construction work for the new Beaulieu Park station in Chelmsford, as well as track maintenance work.

Train services between London and many East Anglia locations, including Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester, will be replaced by buses for part of the journey.

A view of the snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A view of the snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington this afternoon

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington this afternoon

Holidaymakers face early morning queues at Bristol Airport today as the getaway begins

Holidaymakers face early morning queues at Bristol Airport today as the getaway begins

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

A goose walks across snow covered ground on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A goose walks across snow covered ground on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Cars drive through the snowy conditions on Dartmoor this afternoon

Cars drive through the snowy conditions on Dartmoor this afternoon

A man builds a snowman on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A man builds a snowman on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Riverbanks covered in snow on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Riverbanks covered in snow on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A man walks a dog on the beach in Seaton in Cornwall this morning

A man walks a dog on the beach in Seaton in Cornwall this morning

Vehicles splash through floodwater on country road in Eton near Windsor in Berkshire today

Vehicles splash through floodwater on country road in Eton near Windsor in Berkshire today 

The Traffic Wales North & Mid social media account tweeted this picture of snow this morning

The Traffic Wales North & Mid social media account tweeted this picture of snow this morning

Harvey and Gemma Campbell with children Jack, Arabella and Primrose at Dartmoor today

Harvey and Gemma Campbell with children Jack, Arabella and Primrose at Dartmoor today

A goose walks across snow covered ground on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A goose walks across snow covered ground on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

And in London, the Elizabeth line will be closed due to engineering work through the centre of the capital, between London Paddington and Stratford and Abbey Wood.

EXCLUSIVEREAD MORE Sky-high cost of flights as Brits jet off for Easter sun: £939 to Mallorca, £606 for Tenerife and a wet Madrid for £420, the eye-watering prices for last minute trips over the four day weekend

Network Rail’s network strategy director Laurence Bowman said: ‘We know how important Easter is for families and friends to catch up, and we try to keep as much of the network open as possible.

‘There’s never a good time to do the work we need to do but the four days of the bank holiday, when fewer people are travelling, give us the opportunity to do major work we couldn’t do in normal weekend.

‘We’ve got 493 different pieces of work taking place this Easter, most happening overnight, including laying over 8,000 metres of new rail and putting down over 40,000 tonnes of new ballast to support the tracks.’

VisitEngland chief executive Patricia Yates said: ‘Tourism businesses and destinations will be looking to the critical Easter weekend for much-needed cash flow after the lean winter months so it’s really encouraging to see so many of us are planning a holiday at home.

‘We also know from our latest research that the cost of living remains a concern and while people are still keen to take a break, many are booking late, taking shorter breaks, wanting to save on accommodation, activities and eating out, highlighting the ongoing challenges for industry.’

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

A couple on the beach at Lyme Regis in Dorset take a selfie during Storm Nelson today

A couple on the beach at Lyme Regis in Dorset take a selfie during Storm Nelson today

A walker wearing a waterproof jacket on the seafront at West Bay in Dorset this morning

A walker wearing a waterproof jacket on the seafront at West Bay in Dorset this morning

Pedestrians brave the heavy rain and gusty conditions on Westminster Bridge today

Pedestrians brave the heavy rain and gusty conditions on Westminster Bridge today

A van drives through snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

A van drives through snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Traffic on the A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel approach today in Greenwich, South East London

Traffic on the A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel approach today in Greenwich, South East London

Snowy conditions at Trecastle in Brecon, Powys, today as Wales is hit by the white stuff

Snowy conditions at Trecastle in Brecon, Powys, today as Wales is hit by the white stuff

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as people try to make the most of the conditions

Snow hits Dartmoor in Devon today as people try to make the most of the conditions

Big waves hit the coast at Nothe Gardens in Weymouth, Dorset, this morning

Big waves hit the coast at Nothe Gardens in Weymouth, Dorset, this morning

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists are urged to take care

Snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today as motorists are urged to take care

Easter Sunday also sees the UK move to British Summer Time (BST) where clocks go forward by one hour.

Be flexible on your departure and arrival airports: Travel expert NICKY KELVIN reveals his top tips for securing a great flight deal

The Easter bank holiday weekend and school holidays are always a popular time for travellers to take advantage of the extended national holiday.

Many British tourists will be utilising the four-day weekend to book a trip abroad to get some respite from the UK and head to sunnier shores. This leads to higher than normal prices.

It is the perfect time to jet off for families but for those who are looking for a last minute trip, you must expect to pay more for popular routes. 

With the Easter weekend fast approaching, these prices will only increase further as demand increases and the cheaper fares sell out.

My recommendation is always to plan ahead to find the best deals. This isn’t always viable but if you’re able to avoid last-minute bookings, you’ll have more choice and be able to shop around for the best prices available.

My top tips for booking flights are:

  • Always plan ahead and book flights as far in advance to your departure date
  • Use Google Flights to explore cheap flight options on your available dates
  • If you’re able to be flexible on the departure and arrival airports you may save a huge amount. Google Flights is a great tool to search multiple cities at the same time.
  • Utilise points and miles which you’ve accumulated and to bring the cost of your trip down

NICKY KELVIN is editor at The Points Guy. For more of his tips, click here

In Dover today, residents living near the port were braced for chaos as the town prepares for bank holiday traffic this weekend.

Tens of thousands are expected to head for ferries at the Kent port from today, although traffic has so far been running smoothly through the town to the docks.

Despite there being no queues at the tourist entrance this morning, freight trucks were seen queuing inside the huge Eastern Docks complex as they waited to board ferries bound for France.

There was also a visible police presence in the port after France increased security checks after last week’s terrorist attack in Moscow.

Police and Border Force officers could be seen patrolling both passenger and vehicle entrances.

Today, residents living near the port said they want to see more done to mitigate the holiday traffic.

Nick Wright, 86, said that while the traffic is flowing for now, he was prepared for the ‘grim’ queues expected later.

Mr Wright, who has lived in his house on Marine Parade in Dover for 47 years, said: ‘I think everybody in the world knows how bad it is going to be.

‘They have good traffic lights that and stop this road getting blocked up on regular days. But with the bank holiday, it’s definitely going to be grim tomorrow.

‘More needs to be done. But I don’t know what they can do. When it’s blocked up, it’s easy enough to get out but absolute nightmare to get back in. I will probably end up staying inside because of it.’

Retired entertainment manager Nigel Mason, 78, said that the traffic will mean that cars will try to cut queues using his street.

Speaking outside his house beside the White Cliffs, he claimed that the situation was only going to get worse.

Mr Mason said: ‘If you think it’s bad now wait until they bring in the biometrics. It will be like a bank holiday every day.

‘The problem is there’s no more land to expand the roads. I’ve spent a lot of time in France and the ports there are twice the size. They’re a lot more organised too.

‘If it gets bad enough, a lot of people will use my side road to try and cut the queue. It’ll be absolute bedlam.’

Workers at a local coffee shop also slammed the seasonal chaos.

One said: ‘It’s so predictable. It will start in a little while and go on for days and nothing will get done to fix it. I live a little while away and will have to go around to Canterbury just to get home this evening.

Wet and windy weather at high tide at Lyme Regis in Dorset this morning

Wet and windy weather at high tide at Lyme Regis in Dorset this morning

A dog running with a ball in wet and snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today

A dog running with a ball in wet and snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon today

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

Snowy conditions at Trecastle in Brecon, Powys, today as Wales is hit by the white stuff

Snowy conditions at Trecastle in Brecon, Powys, today as Wales is hit by the white stuff

A man takes photographs at Seaton in Cornwall this morning amid the severe weather

A man takes photographs at Seaton in Cornwall this morning amid the severe weather

Snow this morning at Pontrhydfendigaid in Ceredigion, Mid Wales, near Aberystwyth

Snow this morning at Pontrhydfendigaid in Ceredigion, Mid Wales, near Aberystwyth

Horses in snowy conditions on Dartmoor today after snow fell in Devon overnight

Horses in snowy conditions on Dartmoor today after snow fell in Devon overnight

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

Jack Campbell pushes his son Harvey on a sledge in the snow on Dartmoor in Devon today

Snowy conditions at Trecastle in Brecon, Powys, today as Wales is hit by the white stuff

Snowy conditions at Trecastle in Brecon, Powys, today as Wales is hit by the white stuff

Dog walkers in snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this morning

Dog walkers in snowy conditions on Dartmoor in Devon this morning

Stormy seas amid Storm Nelson batter the Cobb harbour wall at Lyme Regis in Dorset today

Stormy seas amid Storm Nelson batter the Cobb harbour wall at Lyme Regis in Dorset today

Geese walk across snow covered ground on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Geese walk across snow covered ground on Dartmoor in Devon this afternoon

Britons hoping for a last-minute flight at Easter can still catch a deal if they fly on quieter days

Britons hoping for a last-minute flight at Easter can still catch a deal if they fly on quieter days

 has also revealed eye-watering costs for a flight over the four-day Easter weekend

has also revealed eye-watering costs for a flight over the four-day Easter weekend 

‘There’s no way I am going to be able to get through the town. I don’t know why nothing can be done to sort this out. It’s every holiday.’

The Port has warned coaches to arrive three hours before their scheduled departure time to avoid missing their ferries.

It said traffic was free-flowing with no delays, despite the choppy seas. Some 20,000 cars are expected to pass through between today and Monday, with today and tomorrow being the busiest days.

Just over 9,000 freight lorries are also expected in the same period, with today understood to be the busiest day. There are not understood to be any current delays due to security checks.