The proportion of Britons planning an overnight UK trip during the August Bank Holiday weekend has risen by more than a third compared with last year, new figures show.
Some 6.9 million adults are planning a domestic break over the last long weekend before Christmas, up from 5.1 million in 2016, according to tourism body VisitEngland.
Events this weekend include the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course at Alexandra Palace, north London; an international scooter rally on the Isle of Wight; and the World Gravy Wrestling Championships in Rossendale, Lancashire.
Motorists are being advised to avoid travelling during peak periods as traffic is expected to rise by a fifth compared with last year’s summer bank holiday.
Some five million motorists are expected to embark on leisure journeys on Monday, up by nearly one million on the 2016 figure.
The RAC recommended that drivers wanting to beat the queues this weekend should avoid Friday afternoon and evening, and set off early if travelling on Monday.
Parts of the UK rail network will be severely affected by engineering work over the weekend, particularly on routes serving London.
Waterloo services – which have been disrupted for more than a fortnight as part of a major project – will be reduced even further between Thursday and Monday.
This is a day earlier than originally planned due to the derailment of a passenger train at the station last week.
Euston station will be closed on Saturday and Sunday for HS2 preparatory work, while there will be service alterations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield on Sunday and Monday due to the Crossrail project.
Great Western modernisation work is taking place between Bristol Parkway and Swindon, causing trains to be diverted via Bath, while electrification in the Bolton area means buses will replace trains.
Eurostar is set for a bumper weekend, with more than 142,000 passengers expected to travel with the high-speed rail operator between Thursday and Monday, up 8% on last year’s August bank holiday.
Paris is the most popular destination for UK departures, with Friday set to be the busiest day.
During the first four months of the year Britons took 14.4 million domestic holidays, up 3% on the same period last year.
VisitEngland director Patricia Yates said: “Record numbers of Brits have been taking holidays at home and it is great to see so many of us are planning a trip this long weekend, getting out and exploring the outstanding destinations and quality attractions right here on our doorstep whether on a seaside, countryside or a city-break.
“The certainty of budgeting for a holiday at home, the ease and convenience are all contributing to people choosing to take more domestic trips, boosting economic growth and spreading the benefits of tourism across Britain.”
August bank holiday tourism is expected to be worth £1.7 billion to the UK economy.
The figures are based on a poll of 1,243 adults.