Manchester travel Jubilee bank holiday weekend: best & worst times for motorways, trains, buses & airport

Millions of us are expected to head off on day trips and holidays over May half-term and the June Queen’s Jubilee bank holidays - we look at the best and worst time to travel.

Motorists have been warned that delays are likely on the roads network later this week, with 19.5m leisure trips predicted to take place between Wednesday and Sunday.

School May half-term holidays have already begun in Manchester, and that will be swiftly followed by a double bank holiday on Thursday and Friday (2-3 June) and into the weekend for the Queen’s Jubilee.

Meanwhile, planned rail strikes continue to impact a number of train services, and other forms of public transport may be operating on different timetables.

We look at when different modes of travel are likely to be busiest in the coming days to help you plan your journey.


The RAC driver survey suggested that nearly 20m motorists are likely to hit the roads between Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday set to be the busiest day. Sunday afternoon is also expected to be busy, with people returning from longer half-term breaks as well as long-weekend holidays.

There are hour long delays on the northbound M6 in Wigan due to emergency pothole repairs this afternoon (Saturday, January 14)

The motoring body says most drivers are planning relatively short trips out, however, and says rising fuel costs are deterring people from making longer journeys.

The M6 northbound is likely to be busy through Lancashire and Cumbria, with people heading to the Lakes on Friday, and the M25 anti-clockwise from Junction 17 to Junction 12 at Thorpe Interchange has been highlighted as a likely congestion hotspot for anyone heading south.

Traffic data supplier Inrix has advised people to set off either before 6am, or after 3pm, to avoid the heaviest traffic.

What about buses and trams?

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has confirmed Metrolink trams will be operating on a Sunday timetable on the Thursday and Friday bank holidays, then running as normal on Saturday and Sunday on the usual timetables.

Meanwhile, Stagecoach Greater Manchester will also be operating a Sunday timetable on the buses on the Thursday and Friday bank holidays and has asked passengers to be aware of last-bus times on both days in particular.

Disruption is expected on the TransPennine Express network throughout Wednesday (May 25).


Transpennine Express will be running only a very limited service on parts of the network on Saturday and Sunday (4-5 June) as a planned strike by RMT union members takes place. People are advised to avoid all but essential travel.

Timetables for the routes from Manchester to Hull, York, Scarborough, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Edinburgh via Huddersfield and from Manchester to Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Cleethorpes via Sheffield are available on the TPE website.

There are also restrictions on services within Greater Manchester over the Platinum Jubilee as engineering work is taking place to remove a 132-year-old signal box in Manchester as part of infrastructure upgrades.

When will Manchester Airport be busiest?

UK airports will also be busy this week with more than 10,000 flights departing between Thursday and Sunday, according to aviation data firm Cirium.

Manchester Airport is expected to be busy all week as many families head off for school half-term holidays, followed by the bank holiday long-weekend travellers.

The airport is usually quietest mid-week but that may not be the case this week, with the first of the double bank holidays falling on a Thursday this time.

Airport bosses are still advising people turn up three hours ahead of their flight to allow time to clear check-in and security queues: for a daily update and advice on getting through the airport, see here.