Christmas travel – When are the worst festive travel days?

The Christmas getaway is drawing ever closure and Brits are preparing to hit the roads and rails to spend the festive period with relatives. The busiest days on the UK’s roads are set to be Friday 16th and Tuesday 20th December.


Don’t let the traffic ruin your Christmas

With some of the busiest travel days of the year coming up, knowing when to get to the airport in time for your flight is key at this time of the year – Friday 16th December is set to be the busiest day for people flying from Heathrow Airport.

The rails will also be disrupted, with over 200 engineering works planned over the festive period and Southern Rail strikes already in effect.


This year Christmas day falls on Sunday, the last time this happened was in 2011, which experts from INRIX have based their latest traffic research on, showing that Friday 16th December will see the worst delays peaking at about 16:00.

Some journeys are set to take four times as long compared with other times of the year. A normal journey time of 35 minutes could take almost three hours at peak times.

Tuesday 20th December is expected to be the second busiest day over the festive period on UK roads. Delays are predicted to peak at around 13:00 and then again at 16:00.

Predicted worst delays: Friday 16th December – UK’s most delayed routes, average journey times and suggested alternative routes

Tuesday 20th December – UK’s most delayed routes, average journey times and suggested alternative routes
Highways England announced that 448 miles of roadworks will be lifted or completed by Friday 23rd December until Tuesday 3rd January to leave 98 per cent of its networks roadwork free over the festive period.

Tuesday 27th December is also set to be busy, with the volume of cars set to rise again due to people returning home from the Christmas break or heading to the shops for the high street sales.

Lots of drivers will be using the Dartford Crossing as they travel to relatives across the country and may be unfamiliar with the new charging system – don’t despair , we’ve got you covered.

Follow the link to find out all of the details relating to using the Dartford Crossing; including how to avoid a fine, Christmas opening times for phone payments and different ways to pay.

When to head to the airport early?

Where will the planes be heading? Tell us your choice here

Don’t miss your flight

With the predicted busiest festive travel days in place, you’ll want to avoid the risk of missing your Christmas flight.

Friday 16th December is expected to be the main travel day for passengers flying through Heathrow Airport – Over 235,000 passengers will be arriving and departing.

To make sure you don’t miss your flight, plan ahead and leave in good time so you don’t get caught up in the enevitable ques.

Treat yourself to one of our airport hotels the night before your flight, not only will you start your holiday earlier, you’ll also be able to relax, stress-free knowing that you’re only a short transfer from the airport. Click here to get a quote.

Airports across the country will be effected by rails closures across the country, from the Heathrow Express closed from Saturday 24th December until Friday 30th December, to Gatwick Express services halted from 22:00 on Christmas eve until early January.

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