We apologise for the late-running of any road and rail chaos

After days of doom-laden forecasts of transport misery, the outcome is smoother than anyone had predicted

Britain yesterday enjoyed the start of the August Bank Holiday as only Britain can - paying homage to the Beatles, Lord Byron and Jimmy Savile, and complaining about the railways.

There were rock, pop and dance festivals in Reading, Rochdale, Leeds and Liverpool, while at Headingley, England's more rabid cricket fans dressed up during the Test match against South Africa, some as the Incredible Hulk, others as local Yorkshire hero Jimmy Savile. The former DJ and children's TV presenter, famed for his trademark cigar, gold jewellery and blond hair, jumped into the crowd to present a £100 prize to the best lookalike.

In Liverpool, about 500,000 Beatles fans were expected to listen to scores of Fab Four tribute bands from more than 20 countries this weekend, including groups from Peru, Moldova and Kazakhstan.

Several miles away in the Liverpool suburb of Speke, around 50,000 dance fans attended the Creamfields dance music festival. In Lancashire, Lord Byron enthusiasts from across the globe descended on his home town of Rochdale to commemorate the aristocratic poet's life, for an event hosted by the present Lord Byron.

The Leeds rock festival, at Bramham Park, was marred late on Friday when 22 people were slightly injured asthe crowd surged forward while the act System of a Down was on stage. Three people were taken to hospital, two with broken ankles.

At the event's "twin" festival in Reading, the police reported a relatively peaceful and crime-free event, with only about 15 arrests - well down on last year's figure.

In west London, tens of thousands marked the start of the annual Notting Hill Carnival, which is expected to attract one million people today, by watching a steel band competition and children's festival.

Meanwhile in Kent, 80 microlight pilots took to the air from Headcorn airfield near Tenterden yesterday afternoon, to celebrate 100 years of powered air flight by crossing the Channel. The organisers said the event was the largest peacetime aerial crossing of the Channel.

Despite gloomy predictions of chaos on the motorways, there was little of the expected disruption. Motoring organisations said that traffic was moving far more easily than expected, although drivers on parts of the M5, M25 and M4 endured heavy traffic and occasional tailbacks. AA Roadwatch said the M1 was far less busy than normal.

But this weekend's closure of sections of three of Britain's busiest rail lines - the West Country mainline, the East Coast mainline and parts of the London-to-Birmingham route - left delayed rail travellers angry and resentful.

At a near-deserted Euston station, Virgin Trains handed out free hot drinks and "goodie bags" containing playing cards, word games, a snack and a signed letter of apology from company chief executive Chris Green.

Kate Dale, 33, and friend Emma Martin, 22, faced a three-leg journey to Cardiff for a hen night. Ms Dale said: "We want to have a stress-free weekend but it's just not happening. Getting to work, getting to play - it's all a nightmare."

Fiona Campbell, who was at King's Cross trying to go to Edinburgh, was facing a seven-hour journey home. "It's just ridiculous doing this today - why can't they do it midweek? Usually I fly - it's only £70 return. If you don't book a train ticket it can cost over £100 and it takes far longer."

Although many travellers avoided major problems yesterday, the AA warned that tomorrow was likely to be far worse. Journeys by day-trippers are likely to swell the six million or more extra cars expected on the roads as holidaymakers head for home.

However, the airline Bmi said Britons are now increasingly reluctant to travel on the August Bank Holiday. An opinion poll it commissioned suggests that nearly half prefer taking long weekends at other times of the year in order to avoid the traditional crush.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past