Double Bank Holiday getaway begins
The double Bank Holiday getaway is under way with millions of Britons setting off to destinations in the UK and overseas.
The late Easter and the royal wedding have resulted in employees having to take only three days off next week in order to to get an 11-day break, starting on Friday and returning to work on Tuesday, May 3.
Those staying in the UK can expect more warm and sunny weather over the Easter weekend, with temperatures in London and south-east England likely to reach as high as 27C (81F) on Saturday.
Around two million people were going abroad on Thursday, but those travelling to European hotspots were likely to see comparatively low temperatures, with Malaga in southern Spain and the Greek Island of Corfu only likely to reach around 17C (63F) on Friday and Barcelona only getting up to 16C (61F).
Roads were expected to be busy over the weekend but a spokesman for the AA said Thursday's traffic had been fairly spread out.
Among jammed-up routes were the A38 near Derby, the A2 in Kent, the A27 near Chichester in West Sussex, the A1 (M) near Durham and on several places on the M25. "The worst is probably yet to come," he added.
However there was some good news for motorists after the Highways Agency announced the fire-hit section of the M1 between junctions one and four just north of London was fully open again. The agency has also suspended roadworks at a number of sites on England's motorways and major roads, but restrictions are still in place at some sites, including some on the M1 and M25.
On the railways, passengers travelling on the West Coast Main Line were told to expect delays and cancellations after a power failure left a train stranded at Berkhamsted.
VisitEngland said that 26% of UK adults were planning to take a trip involving at least one overnight stay in the UK over the double bank holiday period.It added that those likely to make the most overnight-stay trips were from Greater London and north-west England.
Travel company Tui, the parent of holiday firms Thomson and First Choice, said its Easter sales were 22% up on last year, while budget airline Ryanair reported its Easter bookings were 10% up on last year. Its top destinations were the Canary Islands, Greece, France, Portugal and Spain.