UK Bank Holiday weekend travel: all the disruption on motorways and train services you need to know about

Bank holidays are perfect for a quick staycation[1], camping trip[2] or a long overdue visit to your parents. But when almost everyone in the country is off work on the exact same days, it's bound to cause some queues. And, apparently, this year's late May Bank Holiday is set to be the busiest on UK roads in years.

According to the RAC, there will be more than 20 million 'leisure trips' made by car between this Friday and next Monday. That's not to mention all the folks travelling by train, bus or coach. So, here's all the delays and disruptions to keep in mind if your taking a trip this bank holiday.


The M25 clockwise between junction 7 for the M23 and junction 21 for the M1 is expected to get particularly congested.

If you're travelling on this stretch of road, expect to see delays of an hour and half or more in the late afternoon on Friday. As we get into Saturday afternoon, long delays are expected on the M25 anticlockwise towards the M23.


In the middle of the day on Saturday, the M25 southbound is likely to get clogged up, with the drive between J16 north of Bristol and J25 for Taunton in Somerset set to take an hour longer than normal.

Other motorways

The A14 eastbound towards the east coast and the M3 and A34 towards the south coast are likely to become chock-a-block on Saturday afternoon. And with Wembley hosting the FA Cup final on Saturday and the Championship play-off on Sunday, routes from the north along the M1 and M6 and on the M3 from the south are set to get busier than usual.

So, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.

Avanti West Coast

Due to work on the West Coast mainline, there will be a replacement bus service for Avanti West Coast services across the whole weekend, with passengers being updated closer to the time of travel. There's also engineering work happening between Oxenholme and Carlisle and between Carstairs and Motherwell.

Cross Country

Engineering work means that Cross Country trains won't be stopping at Motherwell on Saturday or Sunday and there will be replacement buses between Motherwell and Edinburgh. Work elsewhere will also affect services between Reading and Newcastle, Birmingham New Street to Manchester and Leeds to Plymouth.

East Midlands Railway

Early morning on Sunday, May 26 there will be a replacement bus along the route between Derby, Nottingham and London St Pancras but normal service will resume as normal later in the day.

Grand Central

Due to early morning engineering work in the London Kings Cross area on Sunday, the 09.49am London Kings Cross to Sunderland will be delayed by ten minutes.

It will run to normal timings for all other stations.

Great Northern

Work at London Kings Cross on Sunday means no Great Northern trains will run between King's Cross and Finsbury Park before 6am. There will be a bus replacement for Finsbury Park / Potters Bar and Letchworth Garden City and Peterborough before 9.30am. The 6.40am service from London to Cambridge will also be moved to a bus.

Great Western Railway

Some timetable changes have been made to early morning and late evening services on Saturday and Sunday.

Keep an eye on your emails if you've booked a journey going through Westbury and Castle Cary, Oxford and Evesham or Reading and Bedwyn.

Greater Anglia

There will be replacement buses between Witham and Billericay on Saturday and Sunday thanks to work between Shenfield and Witham. On both days, services between Romford and Shenfield will be retimed and trains from London Liverpool Street are running 15 minutes earlier than usual. On Monday services that normally run via Seven Sisters will run via Tottenham Hale instead and there will be a replacement bus service for journeys between Ipswich and Lowestoft.


Engineering work at Motherwell is going to affect LNER routes between London and Glasgow Central.

On Saturday the 06:48 train from Glasgow Central to London Kings Cross will start from Edinburgh at 08:00. Across the long weekend, replacement buses will run between Motherwell and Edinburgh, connecting with train services and from Glasgow Central, you should use other services between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh. There are also several changes and cancellations to trains between London Kings Cross, York, Leeds and Edinburgh on Sunday.


Lumo's Monday 8.27pm service from London King's Cross to Edinburgh will terminate at Newcastle.

South Western Rail

There are no changes to services on Saturday and Monday.

Engineering work on Sunday will see London Waterloo to Reading services diverted between Clapham Junction and Virginia Water. London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside services will be diverted after Twickenham and will terminate at Hounslow and London Waterloo to Woking via Staines services will terminate at Hounslow.

Stansted Express

Due to engineering work between Cheshunt and Seven Sisters, the 11.30pm and 11.45pm Stansted Airport to London Liverpool Street services will stop at Tottenham Hale instead of Seven Sisters on Sunday and Monday. Early morning engineering on Sunday means that there will be a bus replacement between Broxbourne and Stansted Airport from 9.10 onwards.

Transpennine Express

The Motherwell engineering work means there replacement buses will run between Oxenholme Lake District and Carlisle.

Work in the Huddersfield area on Saturday and Sunday is also expected to cause disruption. There will be an amended and reduced train service between Manchester and Leeds, with trains diverted to run via Hebden Bridge with extended journey times.

Transport for Wales

More engineering work going on across Wales means there will be several bus replacements. They include between Shrewsbury and Crewe, Cardiff and Rhymney, Treherbert and Pontypridd and Chester and Manchester Piccadilly / Manchester Airport.

No trains are running between Cardiff Queen Street and Coryton but you'll be able to use your ticket on Cardiff bus services to complete your journey. For more specific details and check live updates for your day of travel, keep an eye on the National Rail site[3]. Did you see that National Express is launching loads of new faster coach services across the UK[4]?

Plus: 12 years after being knocked down, this historic pub has been rebuilt brick-by-brick[5].

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  1. ^ staycation (
  2. ^ camping trip (
  3. ^ National Rail site (
  4. ^ National Express is launching loads of new faster coach services across the UK (
  5. ^ 12 years after being knocked down, this historic pub has been rebuilt brick-by-brick (
  6. ^ free Time Out UK newsletter (