Millions of Brits quit the seaside sparking 20-mile tailbacks as 23C Easter hols end with threat of SNOW & travel chaos

HOLIDAYMAKERS quit resorts early and triggered a 20-mile traffic jam as temperatures halved on a chilly Bank Holiday – with frost and snow ahead.

Beaches emptied, with 11am seeing a 20-mile snarl-up of stop-start vehicles on the M5 eastbound near Bridgwater and Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

Traffic on the M25Credit: Louis Wood

Beaches began emptying today as temperatures halved

Beaches began emptying today as temperatures halvedCredit: ©Graham Hunt

Temperatures will drop with rain on the way tomorrow

Temperatures will drop with rain on the way tomorrow

There were also eight miles of crawling cars on the A30 leaving Cornwall, and a four-mile jam on the A40 leaving Pembrokeshire, Google traffic data showed.

Temperatures of just 11-12C at 1pm for most beach resorts in the South, Wales and North followed 23.4C Good Friday highs.

London limped to 17C today.

Snow is due in Scotland’s Highlands tomorrow – and weathermen warned of frost in northern England and Scotland from Wednesday, with nights in low single figures even elsewhere.

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Cool easterly winds will limit highs to 11-16C for most tomorrow and Wednesday with heavy showers tomorrow and more rainy spells on Wednesday – and strong winds follow.

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: “Easter Monday was cooler, and a change in wind direction from a warm southerly to a cooler easterly will mean temperatures dipping.”

The UK is expected to see travel disruption on the roads, with millions returning from Easter getaways.

About 3.96million drivers are predicted to make their journeys on Monday, causing delays on many major routes, the RAC warned.

The AA warned traffic is likely be worse today than it was at the start of the Easter break, when trips were staggered over several days.

It comes after rail and air passengers saw long queues while P&O Dover-Calais ferries remained suspended over the weekend.

Monday morning has already brought “nightmare” queues for Eurostar customers at Gare Du Nord in Paris after a border control IT failure which meant passengers could not board trains.

Passenger Charlie Daffern, 36, from Cheltenham, said all trains had been delayed for at least an hour. He added: “It’s a nightmare here. People are becoming very restless.”

Planned engineering works on the UK rail network are also likely to mean more delays for travellers.

Network Rail has been carrying out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83 million, which have meant the closure of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes for four days since Good Friday due to upgrades of the existing line and HS2 work.

A total of 47 million car trips will be expected to have taken place between Good Friday and Easter Monday, AA figures for leisure outings and normal journeys show. 

And motorways have already been hit by chaotic scenes after a firework factory blast closed the M4 on Saturday and a separate accident sparked a seven-mile tailback on the M25.

Unions say airports will also be heaving on Monday as holidaymakers return to Britain before schools restart.

Immigration Services Union general secretary Lucy Moreton said: “This weekend, catastrophically understaffed, with people travelling again, we anticipate queues will move from security-based queues going outward to Border Force queues coming back in.”

Richard Freeston-Clough, spokesperson for passenger watchdog London TravelWatch, said: “More leisure rail journeys are taking place as it is Easter – but engineering projects mean disruption.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “The vast majority of the network is open for business as usual.

“Where our projects are hitting services, we aim to keep disruption to a minimum by using alternative routes and using of buses as the last resort.”

Transport chiefs blamed the Easter travel surge on the public’s desire to make up for missing out on family visits and trips out during the pandemic.

And the AA said drivers’ desire to travel had not been dented by soaring petrol costs, nor concerns over petrol station supplies running short after protestors Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion prevented tankers leaving some oil depots last week.

Mr Rich said: “People’s desire to travel is making this Easter a bit like Christmas, with people seeing friends and family after not seeing them very much during Covid.

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“Our survey shows people want to make the most of the holiday weekend. It shows the demand to do what we have missed during the past two years.

“The weather is a factor, and encourages more travel, and people’s determination to go on trips outweighs concern over fuel costs.”

Smoke could be seen billowing from a building believed to store pyrotechnics in Newbury on Saturday afternoon

Smoke could be seen billowing from a building believed to store pyrotechnics in Newbury on Saturday afternoonCredit: Twitter/ OliverDSolberg

Traffic was seen queuing on the M25 the same day

Traffic was seen queuing on the M25 the same dayCredit: TrafficCameras.uk

Queues hot airports as schools broke up for Easter

Queues hot airports as schools broke up for EasterCredit: PA

Passengers pictured checking into Heathrow on April 9

Passengers pictured checking into Heathrow on April 9Credit: PA

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