How to avoid bank holiday traffic 2020

Keep moving this bank holiday

Bank holiday traffic seems to be a game of roulette. Will your journey go smoothly, or will you end up stuck in a traffic jam, wishing you’d stayed at home?

We're here to help you plan your bank holiday travel, so you can avoid the worst delays and get to your destination quicker.

Bank holidays in 2020

  • Tuesday 17 March - St Patrick's Day (Northern Ireland only)
  • Friday 10 April - Good Friday
  • Monday 13 April - Easter Monday (England, Wales, Northern Ireland only)
  • Friday 8 May - Early May Bank Holiday
  • Monday 25 May - Spring Bank Holiday
  • Monday 13 July - Battle of the Boyne (Northern Ireland only)
  • Monday 3 August - Summer Bank Holiday (Scotland only)
  • Monday 31 August - Summer Bank Holiday (England, Wales and Northern Ireland only)
  • Monday 30 November - St Andrew’s Day (Scotland only)
  • Friday 25 December - Christmas Day
  • Monday 28 December - Boxing Day

Read on for busy routes and bank holiday disruptions, and check our AA traffic news for the latest updates.

Jump to traffic and roadworks

Motorway queue facing camera

Plan ahead

Plan your bank holiday travel

Spend some time planning your route. Check you have the latest software on your sat nav, driving app or Google Maps so it'll show you the fastest journey.

We can help you navigate

If you’re using your phone to navigate, try our app. It uses traffic data to help you find the quickest route, see the closest petrol stations, skip tolls and charges, and get live traffic updates.

Our Route Planner is also a handy planning tool - and don't forget a backup atlas in case internet coverage drops.

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Check your route

Bank holiday traffic and roadworks

Here are a few of the most popular - and busiest - motorways in the UK. We’ve included major roadworks and our bank holiday predictions for traffic jam hot spots.

Check our traffic news for a full list of planned works on your travel dates.

Information sourced from gov.ukHighways England and Traffic Scotland.

M1 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: J23 and J24 in Leicestershire, J11 at Luton, J18 and J19 in Northamptonshire.

Major roadworks: J13 to J16 between Luton and Northampton is being upgraded to smart motorway. J45 has work on the slip road.

M3 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: J3 in Surrey, J4/J9/J10 in Hampshire.

Major roadworks: J9 to J14 between Winchester and Southampton are being upgraded to smart motorway. Intermittent works planned until 2022.

M4 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: J1/J2/J3 at Hounslow, J4 at Hillingdon, J20 in South Gloucestershire.

Major roadworks: J3 to J12 between Heathrow and Theale is being upgraded to smart motorway. Works planned until 2022. M4 junctions 10 to 11 has a bridge refurbishment. Works planned until May 2020.

M5 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: J1/J2/J3 at Sandwell/Dudley, J4A and J5 in Worcestershire.

Major roadworks: J1 to J2 Oldbury viaduct is having major repairs. J6 outside Worcester has works on the roundabout and slip roads.

M6 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: J9 and J10 at Walsall, J18 and J19 at Knutsford Services, J8 at Sandwell.

Major roadworks: J2 to J4 near Coventry and J13 to J15 at Stafford are being upgraded to smart motorway. There are delays predicted until 2021. J19 and J20 having repairs to Gore Farm and Whitley Lane bridges.

M8 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: A8/M8 junction at Glasgow.

Major roadworks: None ongoing. Check our traffic news for smaller local roadworks.

M25 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: J15 at Slough, J12 and J13 at Staines-upon-Thames, J14 and J15 at Hillingdon.

Major roadworks: Improvement works at J13 and J23.

M40 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: J1 and J1A in Buckinghamshire, J14/15/16 in Warwickshire.

Major roadworks: None ongoing. Check our traffic news for smaller local roadworks.

M62 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: J18/19/20 at Bury and Rochdale, J9 and J10 at Warrington.

Major roadworks: J10 to J12 near Warrington is being upgraded to smart motorway. Improvement works at J27 and J28.

A1 traffic and roadworks

Traffic hotspots: Between A184 and A692 at Gateshead, A428 at Bedford, B1340 and A1068 at Northumberland.

Major roadworks: None ongoing. Check our traffic news for smaller local roadworks.

Traffic news

Roads to avoid

There are certain hubs which will attract major crowds on bank holidays. If possible, avoid routes near:

1. Town centres and major shopping centres

  • Roads around major shopping centres such as Westfield, Lakeside, Bluewater, Birmingham's Bullring, Sheffield's Meadowhall and Manchester's Trafford Centre will be congested.
  • If you pop into town, it might be better to take public transport or use a park-and-ride bus.

2. Superstores

  • The larger home improvement centres are a bank holiday mecca.
  • Before you travel, check that your route doesn't take you past a busy retail park, and plan accordingly if it does.

3. Transport hubs

  • Roads and motorways towards tourist hotspots and beaches will be busy.
  • Avoid roads which link airports, ports, the Channel Tunnel and Eurostar.
  • Watch for delays on the M20 in Kent because of the Channel Tunnel or ferry routes – use the M2 or A2 as an alternative route for Dover.

Busy city centre dual carriageway junction

Work around big events

There are often events and festivals taking place over bank holiday weekends. Make sure you’re aware of any big events in advance and check Route Planner for any closed roads or diversions.

Spring Events 2020

Cheltenham festival – 10-13 March

Oxford Cambridge Boat Race (London) – 29 March

The Grand National (Liverpool) – 2-4 April

London Marathon – 26 April

Sound City (Liverpool) – 1-3 May

Tour de Yorkshire (Leeds, Harrogate, Ripon) – 3 May

Family on beach

Be beach-savvy

For bank holidays in spring and summer, the roads leading to beaches and seaside towns will be busy. Here's a list of the usual suspects - prepare yourself for the odd traffic jam if you fancy a paddle and an ice cream:

  • A64 to Scarborough
  • A614 to Bridlington
  • M55 to Blackpool
  • A570 to Southport
  • A57/A52 to Skegness
  • A47 to Great Yarmouth
  • A23 to Brighton
  • A338 to Bournemouth
  • A380 to Torbay
  • A370 to Weston-super-Mare
  • A48/A4106 to Porthcawl
  • A2 (NI) between Portrush/Ballycastle and Larne/Carrickfergus


When is the best time to travel on a bank holiday weekend?

Not all bank holidays are created equal. Some are more popular travel times than others. And of course, weather always impacts the number of people heading away for the weekend.

New Year's Day - Usually a quiet day for travel, with good reason! People recovering from the night before wait until 2 January to travel, if they can.

Good Friday and Easter Monday - Usually busy days for travel to visit family. Easter Sunday is usually quiet, with few shops open.

Early May bank holiday - Travel can be busy, with more people travelling if the weather is good.

Spring bank holiday - A popular time to travel for events and holidays. Roads to the coast will be busy if the weather is good.

August bank holiday - Events, festivals and trips to the coast make this a busy travel weekend. Plus, many families travel home from their summer holiday around this time, ready for the return to school.

Christmas Day - Understandably one of the quietest days of the year for travel. Most people will travel on Christmas Eve or earlier.

Boxing Day - Can be busy around major shopping centres as people head out to make the most of the Boxing Day sales. Roads to airports can be busy too, as holidaymakers head away for New Year or head back home after visiting family in the UK.

Avoid a breakdown

Take 10 minutes to check your car

Reduce the risk of being 'that' driver causing tailbacks on the M4. Give your car a quick once-over before you go, as no-one likes to break down on their bank holiday travels.

  • Check oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels - and that your cooling fan is working.
  • Check tyre pressure and tread depth, and make sure you have a spare.
  • Make sure your headlights, fog lights, brake lights and reverse lights are all working.
  • Always pack the car safely, being careful not to overload it or block your vision.
  • Our 10 quick car checks are a useful guide to make sure you don't forget anything.

Published: 14 August 2017 | Updated: 10 December 2020 | Author: The AA

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