Wiganers set off on the big get-away

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WIGANERS are preparing for the big get-away as one of the longest Bank Holiday stretches the country has ever seen approaches.

Local travel agents are receiving a mixed bag of holiday bookings as many attempt to take advantage of the 11-day break for just three days leave, whilst others are hoping to blag a good deal to enjoy a London weekend break.

Russell Mears, manager of Co-Operative Travel, in The Galleries, Wigan, said: “We are definitely seeing a rise in people going away for the Royal Wedding and Easter period.

“But it may be because the prices are really good this Easter, especially for families.

“It may be they want to get away from it all, but if the prices were expensive, they would stay in this country.

“There has been a lot of interest in the Royal Wedding though. A lot of people have asked for various places to go to in London, so they can watch the wedding from the streets.”

Angela Lucas, manager of Holiday Getaway, in Hallgate, Wigan, said: “We are not sending people to London, because the hotel prices are extortionate, but we are sending people abroad because of the long weekends and people only need to take a few days off, so they are using that to their advantage.”

But Global Travel, in High Street, Standish, has not noticed a rush on bookings for the period.

Tim Wallwork, owner, said: “We have not seen a rise - if people go away, it is not just because of the Royal Wedding.”

Meanwhile, the Easter break is expected to be one of the busiest on the roads for several years, as millions take advantage of the quadruple bank holiday period.

Despite the weather forecast to turn more seasonal over the coming days, the unprecedented four bank holidays in close proximity combined with the ‘long haul’ since the Christmas/New Year break (which saw many holiday plans disrupted by the bad weather), will encourage many to take a long break.

Paul Leather, AA patrol of the year, says: “Our research shows that Easter will be the busier of the two bank holiday weekends, as the schools are still out.

“Despite the record cost of fuel, a third of drivers – or around 10 million vehicles – plan to go away by car then, compared to one-in-four – or around 8 million cars – over the Royal Wedding weekend.

“We expect congestion to peak on Maundy Thursday, April 21.”

As a result, tomorrow will see a busier evening rush hour as people head off early with traffic remaining heavy over the weekend, especially on the trains as people travel to FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley and the London Marathon.