Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-holidaymakers-face-three-hour-dover-queues-at-start-of-easter-getaway-as-ferries-are-hit-by-70mph-storm-nelson-winds-with-2.6m-drivers-due-to-hit-roads-today-while-another-2m-jet-off-abroadAlert – Holidaymakers face three-hour Dover queues at start of Easter getaway as ferries are hit by 70mph Storm Nelson winds with 2.6m drivers due to hit roads today while another 2m jet off abroad

Holidaymakers at Dover are facing queues of around two hours to begin their Easter getaways after ferries were held up thanks to Storm Nelson.

Around 2.6million car journeys are expected to made on Good Friday with many motorists making for the Channel – despite warnings of ‘carmageddon’ and ferry firm DFDS predicting disruption ‘due to strong winds’ on Thursday.

And two million Brits are expected to jet off abroad for the long weekend – with big queues forming at some of the country’s major airports first thing in the morning.

The Port of Dover said shortly before 7am on Good Friday that queues were at least 90 minutes long – but advised that French border controls were ‘flowing well’ despite delays caused by last night’s stormy weather.

Gusts of up to 80mph were widely expected as the weather system made landfall across London, the south-east, south-west and east of England. A yellow weather warning for wind was extended until the end of the day.

Queues are already building at the Port of Dover in Kent for the big Easter bank holiday getaway

Queues are already building at the Port of Dover in Kent for the big Easter bank holiday getaway

The Port of Dover says queues are already running in excess of 90 minutes but that French border controls were 'flowing well'

The Port of Dover says queues are already running in excess of 90 minutes but that French border controls were ‘flowing well’

But the queues are only expected to grow as thousands more drivers take to the roads and make for the ferries

But the queues are only expected to grow as thousands more drivers take to the roads and make for the ferries

The Port of Dover said queues were moving well in Kent this morning - but this has been disputed by travellers said to be among those waiting to set off on holiday

The Port of Dover said queues were moving well in Kent this morning – but this has been disputed by travellers said to be among those waiting to set off on holiday

Cars queueing at the Port of Dover as they wait to make journeys overseas. French passport control may be imposing additional security checks following the Moscow terror attack

Cars queueing at the Port of Dover as they wait to make journeys overseas. French passport control may be imposing additional security checks following the Moscow terror attack

Passengers have disputed the claim by port bosses of the queues being 90 minutes long - with some claiming to have waited three hours to reach their ferries

Passengers have disputed the claim by port bosses of the queues being 90 minutes long – with some claiming to have waited three hours to reach their ferries

STORM NELSON: A map by Spanish weather service Aemet showing the low pressure system that hit Britain yesterday

STORM NELSON: A map by Spanish weather service Aemet showing the low pressure system that hit Britain yesterday

Good Friday is expected to be a much milder affair than yesterday, with temperatures hitting the mid-teens later in the day and some scattered showers

Good Friday is expected to be a much milder affair than yesterday, with temperatures hitting the mid-teens later in the day and some scattered showers

Deluges affected railway lines and cancelled several ferries from Dover to Calais and Dieppe to Newhaven, with impacts still being felt today.

Several travellers have taken to social media to blast the long queues already building for the boats.

‘Horrendous queues at 2am, 3hrs to get through, and you say it’s due to enhanced security checks?’ asked one traveller on X, formerly Twitter.

READ MORE: Families face Easter holiday travel chaos as more than 600 Border Force officers at Heathrow Airport to strike over last four days of festive break

Another said: ‘Taken three hours to get through to check in’, while a third holidaymaker, responding to the Port’s social media profile, said: ‘Wished we’d taken the tunnel.’ 

But 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.

Bristol Airport, where many holidaymakers were pictured heading for the departure lounge in the early hours of Friday, is also expecting 30,000 passengers on Easter Sunday alone.

Good Friday is set to be a day of sunshine and blustery scattered showers, coming after unsettled conditions which have seen hailstones hit parts of Cornwall.

Elsewhere, in any sunshine it could feel warm, with highs of 14C expected in the south east of England but there is the risk of the odd thunderstorm, the Met Office said.

The driest weather is expected in the far north-east of the UK and there could be a windy start to the day in many regions.

Deputy chief meteorologist Dan Harris said: ‘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.’

Holidaymakers make their way into the departure lounge at Bristol Airport early on Friday. It is expecting 30,000 passengers on Easter Sunday alone

Holidaymakers make their way into the departure lounge at Bristol Airport early on Friday. It is expecting 30,000 passengers on Easter Sunday alone

The British Airways check-in desks at Heathrow Terminal 5 are already packed with passengers early on Good Friday

The British Airways check-in desks at Heathrow Terminal 5 are already packed with passengers early on Good Friday

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

 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 

Large waves crash over the harbour wall as Storm Nelson arriveD at Newhaven in Sussex yesterday

Large waves crash over the harbour wall as Storm Nelson arriveD at Newhaven in Sussex yesterday

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington on Thursday. Millions of drivers are expected to hit the roads today

Cars drive through the heavy rain on the A3 in Surrey near Chessington on Thursday. Millions of drivers are expected to hit the roads today

It’s an improvement to the highly changeable conditions across the country on Thursday, which saw regions hit with rain, gale force winds, hailstones and even snow across the day. 

The RAC and transport analysis company Inrix commissioned a survey which suggested 2.6 million leisure journeys by car will be made 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 or wait until later in the afternoon.

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.

EXCLUSIVEREAD MORE: The sky-high cost of Britain’s last-minute Easter getaway rush as families hit with £900 train tickets and £9,000 Tenerife bills

 

Turkey, Dubai and the Canary Islands are among the most popular destinations abroad and trips to Dublin are also in demand.

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% on April 2023.’

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

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.’

Liverpool Airport expects around 60,000 passengers over the four days, which is around 7% higher than last year.

Meanwhile, around 20,000 cars are expected to travel through the Port of Dover between Thursday and Easter Monday.

Ferry firm Stena Line said bookings on Irish Sea routes are up 115% on an average weekend at this time of year and have increased by 26% on Easter weekend 2023.

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. 

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.

There will also be disruption in the areas around Glasgow and Huddersfield.

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