Bank holiday: strong pound and chilly weather make 2m Britons go abroad - Halong Junk Cruises

Bank holiday: strong pound and chilly weather make 2m Britons go abroad

Airplane landing in Manchester Airport at sunset

Spain, Greece, Turkey and Tunisia are the most popular short-haul bank holiday destinations, says Abta. Photograph: itanistock /Alamy

The last bank holiday before winter will see an estimated 2 million Britons head abroad, encouraged by a strong pound and a forecast dip in temperatures at home.

Domestic bookings have also been strong, according to the travel organisation Abta, fuelled by optimism from the early summer heatwave. VisitEngland said 5.1million British people would have at least one night away in the UK over the break.

Road and rail travel will be disrupted in parts of the country. Engineering work on the west coast main line will mean no fast direct trains from the capital to the Midlands and north throughout the three-day weekend. Work at Watford means trains from Manchester will only run as far south as Milton Keynes or Hemel Hempstead. Only slower trains will operate between London and Birmingham, adding an hour or more to many journeys.

Other rail work will see the partial closure of London Bridge for nine days from Saturday, affecting services in the south-east.

Heathrow train services are also disrupted for part of the weekend. The coach operator National Express has cashed in with a surge in bookings for the bank holiday, it said, with Monday expected to be its busiest day.

The RAC said music festivals at Leeds and Reading would contribute to busy days on the roads. The Highways Agency said it would be suspending 110 miles of roadworks over the weekend, but they will continue on parts of the M1, M5 and M25.

Abta said Spain, Greece, Turkey and Tunisia were the most popular short-haul holiday destinations. Around 500,000 passengers are expected to fly from Heathrow airport, 234,000 from Gatwick and 172,000 from Manchester.

British Airways alone will carry more than half a million people over the weekend. Virgin Atlantic said there had been a surge in last-minute bookings compared to last year, prompted by the early autumn chill, with Dubai among the most popular sun destinations.

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Travel | The Guardian
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