Bank Holiday Travel Advice

Avoid a washout bank holiday weekend

1 May 2008

Timing is everything

  • Up to 18 million vehicles are expected to hit the UK's roads this bank holiday weekend
  • All major routes are expected to be significantly busier than normal during the day on Friday May 2nd as people travel to their holiday destinations
  • The Saturday and Sunday traffic volumes will probably be weather dependent, with any outbreaks of good weather making approaches to local places of interest busy
  • On Monday, good weather could see drivers heading to coastal areas and places of interest, which will make approaches busy
  • Monday evening and Tuesday morning will be busier than normal as people return home or head straight back to work

Predictably unpredictable

Head of Forecasting at the Met Office, Brian Golding explains: "The long weekend looks set to bring a mixed bag of weather with the possibility of some heavy showers around at times. The Met Office will be working with our partners across the UK to help keep traffic moving so that you can make the most of the Bank Holiday."

Location, location1

  • Average journey length: 135 miles
  • Busy beaches: Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth
  • Getting away: Ports and airports will also be busy as Brits head abroad.

Top 10 destinations

(For May Bank Holiday) - and average fuel price

  1. Cardiff (unleaded: 109.9p/litre; diesel: 120.3p/litre)
  2. Manchester (unleaded: 109.1p/litre; diesel: 119.2p/litre)
  3. Birmingham (unleaded: 109.6p/litre; diesel: 120.2p/litre)
  4. Brighton (unleaded: 110.3p/litre; diesel: 120.2p/litre)
  5. Edinburgh (unleaded: 108.2p/litre; diesel: 118.4p/litre)
  6. Oxford (unleaded: 110.6p/litre; diesel: 120.3p/litre)
  7. Blackpool (unleaded: 108.9p/litre; diesel: 118.8p/litre)
  8. Cambridge (unleaded: 111.0p/litre; diesel: 121.4p/litre)
  9. Bournemouth (unleaded: 110.3p/litre; diesel: 120.4p/litre)
  10. Bath (unleaded: 110.4p/litre; diesel: 120.4p/litre)

Blackspots to beware2


  • M1 Bedfordshire J6a-J10: Narrow Lanes and Contraflow
  • M1 Nottinghamshire: J27-J28: Narrow lanes and Speed Restriction
  • M11 Essex: J5-J6 & J8-J9: Narrow Lanes and Speed Restriction
  • M25 Kent: Narrow Lanes J3-J1b
  • M27 Hants: Narrow Lanes and Speed Restriction J11-J12
  • M4 South Wales: Contraflow J30-J32

Top five busy routes nationally:

  • M25 around London
  • M1 Northbound out of London and through the East Midlands
  • M4 Westbound towards Reading
  • M6 through the West Midlands and North of Manchester/Liverpool
  • M5 Northbound in the Midlands and Southbound around Bristol

AA tips

AA top tips for avoiding Bank Holiday weekend breakdown from AA Patrol of the Year Andy Taylor:

"With changeable weather predicted for the weekend, as well as carefully planning your journey, we always recommend making key preparations before hitting the road. The condition of your tyres is especially important when it's wet, so check the tread all over and pressure - not forgetting the spare. While you're at it, check your vehicle's coolant and oil levels - the handbook can help you with this - and make sure your wiper blades are in good condition to cope with sudden downpours. Also, carry some food, water and don't forget a fully-charged mobile.

"While you never expect to breakdown, with more patrols on the road than any other breakdown service, we're geared up and ready to help."

Be prepared

  • May Day 2007 Bank Holiday weekend the AA attended over 52,000 breakdowns
  • This year, the AA predicts it will attend up to 55,000 breakdowns over the weekend
  • Planning ahead, motorists should:
    • Plan their route in advance
    • Travel when the roads are quieter
    • Allow plenty of time for the journey
    • Check oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels and tyre pressure and depth before hitting the road
    • Pack the car safely being careful not to overload or obstruct vision
    • Keep plenty of refreshments on board and plan car games to keep children comfortable and happy throughout the journey

Notes to editors

1According to AA Route Planner data

2According to AA Roadwatch data


1 May 2008