Late May bank holiday will see the busiest roads since COVID

A busy UK motorway

Expect delays of up to 90 minutes on some roads

Approximately 20 million journeys are expected to be made this bank holiday weekend, with traffic almost returning to 2019’s pre-pandemic high of 22 million journeys.

4 million journeys on Friday 24 May 

Friday is set to be the worst day to travel with just over 4 million journeys planned.  

Friday 24 May is not only the start of the bank holiday weekend, but it’s also the start of half term for many areas in the UK, hence the busier than usual roads.  

The roads are looking to remain consistently busy over the entire long weekend. Saturday will see 3.7 million journeys while Sunday and Monday will both see 3.4 million journeys.  

There will also be an estimated 5.7 million more journeys made by people who haven’t decided what day they’ll be driving yet. 

Day trips and staycations 

22% of people said they’ll be going on a day trip with friends or family while 8% of people said they’ll be spending the day at the beach or in the countryside. 

7% of people said they’ll have a staycation and only 3% of people said they’ll be heading to the airport or ferry port for a long weekend abroad.  

When are the best times for travelling? 

On Friday 24 the best time to travel is after 6pm. The worst times to travel is between 8am and 10am.  

Before 1pm is the best time to travel on Saturday 25, with the worst time to travel being between 3pm and 6pm.  

The best time to travel on Sunday 26 is after 3pm. The worst time to travel is in the middle of the day, between 11am and 1pm.  

On the bank holiday itself, Monday 27, the best time to travel is before 10am, with the worst time being between 11am and 2pm

Which roads are likely to be busiest? 


The M25 clockwise between J7 and J21 is expected to be the busiest stretch of road, with delays of more than an hour and a half in the late afternoon.  


With day trips being the most popular plan, and the predicted good weather, the most likely roads to be busy are those leading to the coast.  

The M5 southbound is likely to be busy on the 45-mile stretch between J16 and J25, with possible delays of up to an hour.  

The M25 anticlockwise is expected to be busy on Saturday afternoon. The A14 eastbound, the A34 and the M3 are also expected to be busy as people head towards the coast.  

Advice from RAC 

With a near record number of cars on the road this bank holiday, drivers have been advised to make sure their cars are in top shape.  

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Alice Simpson says: “While no-one likes to think about their vehicle breaking down, especially on a bank holiday weekend, those vehicles that are serviced regularly and generally looked after are much less likely to let their drivers down – meaning any worries about bad ‘carma’ can be put to rest.” 

If you want to make sure your car is in top notch condition yourself, check out our guide on DIY tips for looking after your car. 

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