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4m head abroad for Christmas break

20 December 2013 09:29

Around four million Britons will be heading abroad this Christmas

Around four million Britons will be heading abroad this Christmas

Some four million Britons will be escaping the British winter this year and heading overseas for a Christmas getaway.

According to travel organisation Abta, most of those travelling to warmer climes will be departing from Britain's airports on the weekend of Friday December 20.

Those planning a Christmas at home have been warned to expect delays on the roads and disruption to rail services, while those taking to the skies would do well to ensure they have travel insurance.

Canary Islands, Tunisia, Morocco and the Cape Verde Islands are most favoured by sun worshippers, while long-haul favourites include Dubai, Mexico, Cuba and Kenya.

Not all those leaving home shores will be enjoying sunshine, though, with ski breaks in Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy also proving popular for the festive season.

City breaks are also in demand for New Year celebrations, with Paris, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Rome and Dublin taking the top spots of most visited.

Those ringing in 2014 in the UK look set to head to London, York, Llandudno in Wales, Torquay and Eastbourne, Abta said.

A breakdown of the data for the Christmas period shows Stansted and Manchester airports will each see off 360,000 travellers; Luton 175,000; and 100,000 at Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Between December 13 and January 5, Gatwick will see two million travellers pass through its doors, with Ryanair carrying a record three million passengers.

British Airways comes in slightly lower at two million passengers between December 16 and January 5, with 115,000 of those set to fly this Friday.

Compared to last year, high-speed rail service Eurostar - which connects Briton to Paris and Brussels through the Channel Tunnel - will see an 11% boost to passenger numbers, with 420,000 people using the service between December 20 to January 3.

Closer to home, the RAC is predicting that 13 million people will take to the roads between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day to spend time with family and friends.

Congestion is expected to peak between noon and 5pm on Friday.