The Bank Holiday getaway has begun with some motorists, including actor Hugh Grant, stuck for up to five hours in an “almost stationary traffic jam”.

Grant, 63, encountered heavy traffic as he tried to pass the A3 near Tolworth, Greater London, on Friday afternoon.

At one point, he said he was stuck for “four and a half hours so far and still not through it”.

Earlier, posting on X, formerly Twitter, as he tried get some clarity on the delay, he asked Transport for London (TfL): “Any chance of an update on the situation on the A3 near Tolworth? Now entering third hour of almost stationary traffic jam. And long red line still ahead. And no exits. Children in car.”

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Hugh Grant tweeted about traffic delays (James Manning/PA)

TfL responded: “For safety, we’ve had to close two lanes of the A3 leading up to the Tolworth underpass due to emergency repair works. Unfortunately, severe delays are still present. We are monitoring the situation and note that traffic is moving, however slowly. We apologise for the delay.”

During the jam, motorist Musawir Idrees posted an emoji showing his exasperation on X with the words: “Stuck on A3 traffic for last five hours. Road works.”

Screengrab taken from the social media site X posted by Hugh Grant, which has since been deleted
Screengrab taken from the social media site X posted by Hugh Grant, which has since been deleted (Hugh Grant/PA)

Earlier, National Highways had urged travellers, including those heading to the Chelsea Flower Show in London, to allow extra journey time as there had been approximately three miles of congestion.

They warned that lanes were closed on the A3 in London northbound between the A244 junction at Esher and the A309 junction at Chessington to assist with TfL works on the Tolworth Underpass.

Friday saw the start of the long weekend coincide with the beginning of half-term for many schools.

The RAC predicted more than 20 million leisure trips by car will be made between Friday and bank holiday Monday.

That would be the most for the late May bank holiday weekend since 2019.

An attempted theft of signalling cables brought disruption to a major rail line earlier on Friday as National Rail Enquiries said trains must run at reduced speeds between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton until damaged cables are repaired.

Meanwhile, a points failure also prevented trains from calling at stations between those locations.

The issues affected passengers travelling with Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, London Northwestern Railway, Transport for Wales and West Midlands Railway.

Many train services are also set to be affected this weekend as Network Rail carries out engineering projects.

Services on the West Coast Main Line will be reduced because of work around Crewe and Carlisle.

Trains are also set to be affected by track renewals between Carstairs and Lanark in Scotland, while there will be significant changes to services on the Great Eastern Main Line because of work building a new station at Beaulieu Park to the east of Chelmsford.

Network Rail says it often carries out major engineering work over bank holiday periods to reduce the number of passengers impacted.

Aviation analytics company Cirium said Friday looks set to be the busiest day of the year for UK airports since October 2019, with more than 3,150 departing flights.

A total of 8,486 flights are scheduled to depart between Saturday and Monday, equating to more than 1.5 million seats.

The most popular international destinations for UK departures are Dublin, Amsterdam, Palma, Alicante and Malaga.