Your travel guide for Easter Weekend 2016

The four-day weekend is a welcome break for most, and a great excuse to get away – but what does it mean for the UK’s transport infrastucture?

Tens of millions of people will take to the roads, railways and aeroplanes this weekend for what’s estimated to be the busiest bank holiday weekend ever.

Airports are reporting record numbers of booked travellers – with Heathrow listing 223,400 on Thursday alone (and 850,000 across the weekend)! It seems the British public are trying desperately to get away from the wet and windy weather, rail closures and travel disturbances.

The RAC have predicted that 3.3 million cars will take to the roads on Thursday for ‘leisure trips’, and 5million on Good Friday. Over the whole weekend, they estimate a whopping 17million car journeys – and reckon almost 4million of these will be driving home from elsewhere on Easter Monday.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Easter traditionally sees the first big getaway of the year but this time we are expecting an unprecedented number of cars to be using major roads for leisure trips.”.

Here’s your guide to planned disruptions and service changes, and how you can avoid them.

Rail disruptions

National Rail is spending £60 million during Easter with 15,000 staff working on major engineering schemes; the bulk taking place across the south and south-east resulting in huge changes to train services.

Many of the mainline rail Victoria and Waterloo stations will be closed throughout the four day.

Those attending the  Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, this year being held on a Sunday, via Putney, Barnes and Mortlake stations need to check before they travel with train services changed or replaced by bus due to Network Rail engineering work.

Cannon Street station is closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and there will be a reduced service between Paddington and Reading.

Much reduced service on Brighton main line.

Two of four lines closed between Paddington and Reading.

There will be no Gatwick Express services. Heathrow Express will run but two trains an hour instead of four.

Some long distance and local services on East Coast main line from King’s Cross affected by one of two lines closed south of Peterborough.

Liverpool Street services affected by renewal of overhead power lines and work on Crossrail on Great Eastern main line near Brentwood and Gidea Park.

Buses replace trains between Clapham Junction and Barnes.

Tube disruptions
The Piccadilly line has planned strike action affecting it from 9pm Wednesday evening through until Thursday night; which will disrupt passengers throughout the London Underground network and those onward to Heathrow airport.

No service on District line between Aldgate East and Dagenham East. No service on Hammersmith & City line between Liverpool and Barking. Mile End station closed throughout Easter.

Continuing work at London Bridge with Cannon Street Station closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Road disruptions
Highways England aims to complete 257 miles of roadworks before Easter with a further 75 sets of roadworks and lane restrictions to be suspended on major A-roads and motorways from 6 am Thursday until midnight, Tuesday, 29 March.

RAC predicts traffic hotspots at

  • M5 from Bristol to Taunton
  • A303 Stonehenge
  • A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
  • M4 between Cardiff and Swansea
  • M25 between Gatwick and M1
  • A23/M23 to Brighton
  • A11 Norwich to Great Yarmouth
  • M55 between Preston and Blackpool
  • A14 between Midlands and East Coast
  • A66 between M6 and the coast
  • M53 between Liverpool and Chester

Air disruptions
There’s also the threat of ongoing French airline staff strikes, affecting flights across the continent.

How to avoid these travel issues and congestion?
Help cut the number of cars on the roads by liftsharing! If you’re already driving, offer out your spare seats, or set up a lift request if you’d like someone else to drive.



Author Lex Barber


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