Travel warnings as UK gets moving
Bank holiday drivers will have to contend with disrupted journeys, a possible strike on Eurotunnel services, and cool and showery weather, it has emerged.
With a series of festival and sporting events being held, it is forecast that as many as 16 million vehicles will take to the roads.
Drivers will find that a number of roadworks on England's motorways and major trunk roads will have been completed by the start of the getaway, with others being suspended over the holiday.
But more than 20 sets of works will remain in place and motoring organisations are expecting heavy traffic on routes to the coast and in areas where events are taking place.
French workers with the Channel Tunnel shuttle train company Eurotunnel are threatening a strike, having demanded an 8% pay rise. Eurotunnel said it still hoped to run a full service and its British staff were not involved in the dispute.
Rail travellers will have to put up with engineering work over the weekend, with 3,428 replacement buses running over the holiday weekend, compared with 3,339 last August bank holiday. But Network Rail (NR) said 3.5% more trains would be running over this August bank holiday than operated over the same period in 2010, while only 4.8% fewer trains would be running over the bank holiday weekend than on a typical Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Heathrow is expecting more than 852,000 passengers to journey through the airport between Friday and Monday, with New York, Dubai and Dublin among the most popular destinations.
Travel organisation Abta said around 1.8 million Britons would be heading abroad from Friday to bank holiday Monday - roughly the same number as travelled overseas this time last year. Abta said Spain and its islands were the UK holidaymakers' number one destination over the holiday period, with Portugal, the Greek islands, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt also popular.
MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, is forecasting rain in eastern England on Friday and sunny spells and scattered showers elsewhere, with temperatures no higher than 18C (64F).
It will be brighter and drier over much of England on Saturday, but northern England and Scotland can expect rain, possibly heavy at times. Scotland and northern England will bear the brunt of the bad weather on Sunday.