UK Weather: 1.7 Million Brits To Escape Winter For Sunny Breaks Over Easter

Around 1.7 million Britons will escape the continuing cold to holiday abroad this Easter.

Many have snapped up last-minute offers to get away from one of the coldest March months on record.

While those staying at home will see little let up in the wintry conditions, the getaway crowd will be heading for such spots at the Canary Islands, Majorca, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey.

Top city break destinations are Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome and New York, said UK travel organisation The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). France and Austria are the most-popular ski-destination countries.

It added that in the period from tomorrow to Tuesday April 2, a total of 600,000 will leave from Heathrow airport, 214,00 from Gatwick, 110,000 from Manchester, 110,000 from Stansted and 55,000 from Luton.

Scottish airports will see more than 100,000 departures.

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: "After two wet summers and no end in sight to the winter, many Brits are desperate for some sunshine.

"We've seen a surge in last minute bookings to warm destinations and ski lovers are also in for a treat with some of the best snow conditions seen for years."

A total of 98,000 are due to take off with British Airways tomorrow, with the airline's most-popular long-haul destinations being New York, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Gatwick airport listed Barcelona, Geneva and the southern Spanish city of Malaga as its top destinations.

For those remaining in the UK, the highways agency has completed more than 600 miles of roadworks in time for Easter, while a further 90 miles of works will be suspended between tomorrow and April 2.

Will you brave traffic like this over Easter?

However a number of works will still be in place, including a section of the M1 near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire as well a part of the M4 near Reading in Berkshire.

Reading will be the scene of major Easter rail engineering work - one of a number of sites where work will be taking place on the railways over the holiday period.

The work at Reading includes reconstruction work of the station and a new footbridge being installed together with improved passenger information screens.

This will affect services run by the First Great Western, South West Trains, CrossCountry, Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express train companies.

Among other works over the holiday are on the East Coast at New Southgate in north London which will affect services.

There will also be disruption to West Coast services in the West Midlands due to engineering work between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton.

The RAC reckoned that more than seven million motorists were gearing up for a getaway in the UK or Europe this Easter.

The company was getting ready for a "roads rush" by scheduling an extra 10% patrol hours for the four days from Good Friday.

Traffic information company Inrix said drivers heading to and from north west England and the West Country were likely to face the longest delays over Easter.

It predicted the worst time for jams would be Easter Monday for those returning from south west England.

The AA said that as many of 58% of its members could take to the roads over the holiday period, with the Northern Irish the most likely to get the car out and the Scots least likely.

It said the main getaway periods will be tomorrow afternoon and Good Friday morning, extending through until Saturday.

According to Trafficmaster, the top five busiest stretches are likely to be:

:: M25 all sections, especially both ways around junctions (J) 14-17 (Heathrow airport and M4 and M40 interchanges)

:: M1from J6A (M25 interchange) to J13; and from J23A to J32 (M18)

:: M6through West Midlands

:: M4from London towards Bristol and M5 interchange

:: A34 from M40/J9 and Oxford to M4/J13 and Newbury in Berkshire.

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