Two million Brits heading overseas this weekend in school summer getaway


An estimated two million British holidaymakers will go abroad this weekend for the start of the school summer holidays.

Airports in the South East are expecting a very busy weekend with 480,000 passengers departing from Heathrow, 276,000 from Gatwick, 125,000 from Stansted and 70,000 from Luton.

Over 100,000 will be leaving from Scottish airports with 50,000 from Glasgow alone.

Travel Association ABTA, which conducted the research, also estimates that 160,000 people will depart from Manchester, 66,000 from Birmingham, 70,000 from Newcastle, 50,000 from Bristol and 30,000 from Leeds Bradford International.

Other regional airports, ports and the channel tunnel will be extremely busy over the weekend with hundreds of thousands leaving the country. Eurostar is reporting an increase in passenger numbers on last year with 70,000 heading off to Paris and the South of France over the weekend.

Spain remains the most popular destination for Brits, with the Balearic and Canary Islands ranking high and other Mediterranean destinations, such as Greece, Turkey and Tunisia also high on the list.

The best July weather in the UK for years has also boosted domestic bookings and tour operators are reporting strong demand and an increase in last minute bookings.

Holidaymakers are flocking to the Channel Islands, Lake District and the traditional seaside resorts of Blackpool, Bournemouth and Brighton.

For those heading further afield, the long haul destinations of Mexico and Cuba have all sold well with Florida remaining the number one long haul choice for families.

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: "This weekend sees the start of the main summer holiday getaway and it's one of the busiest of the year. Millions of holidaymakers will be heading off overseas with the Mediterranean countries attracting the lion's share of visitors. The recent amazing weather at home has also given a great boost to domestic tourism and many ABTA members are reporting a surge in last minute bookings for holidays throughout the UK."

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that that the Highways Agency said the hot weather in July has seen almost ten per cent extra traffic on motorways and main roads each weekend compared to the same time last year.

On Fridays this month, the number of vehicles on the main routes by early afternoon equalled the quantity normally seen only in 'rush hour'.

David Bizley, technical director of the RAC, told the Independent: "Frankly, anywhere that heads to the coast is likely to be busy. Particular stress is likely to fall on the M5, A30 and A303 to the West Country; the A55 in North Wales; the M55 to Blackpool and the A47 to Great Yarmouth.

But for motorists heading to France, next weekend is predicted to be the worst of the year on the motorways from Paris to the south. Bizley said "extremely difficult circulation" is predicted on the first Saturday in August.

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