Bars sent out a mayday for extra beer as revellers turned the bank holiday into a drank holiday – supping 50 million pints in a three-day knees-up.
The first May holiday weekend for three years without pandemic restrictions triggered the pub rush, as Brits partied on despite showers.
Over the long weekend an estimated 50 million pints will be sunk, pub industry sales data trends show.
A source at a major UK pub company said: “Our pubs had to get extra orders in. It’s a bumper weekend thanks to one of the first bank holidays since Covid. Drinkers are making the most of it.”
Luke Dearden, general manager of The Sydney Arms in Chelsea, west London, said: “We’ve had to increase beer orders by 20 to 25% this weekend. “Breweries have been making sure we have enough stock. It’s a big weekend.”
A spokesperson from the British Beer & Pub Association said: “The May bank holiday is providing a welcome boost to pubs, with customers enjoying their local.”
Monday is also a mayday for travel as ‘Meltdown Monday’ sees 10 million cars on roads’ busiest day of the long weekend – while airports face big passport queues as hundreds of thousands return home.
Daytrippers are set to snarl up key coastal routes including the A31 to Dorset, A23 to Brighton and M55 to Blackpool.
Despite some showers, transport experts say millions will snarl roads as they flock to coasts, the countryside and May fairs on traditional May Bank Holiday days out after Covid.
AA spokesman Tony Rich said: “Monday looks the busiest day of the holiday weekend on the roads.
“Although Monday’s weather will be mixed, 10 million vehicles are expected across leisure outings, normal trips and work purposes.
“People want to enjoy themselves after Covid, and May Bank Holiday is a traditional day out.
“Coastal routes, beauty spots, shopping areas and local events will have congestion.”
Hold-ups are also due on the M25 west between the M3 and M4 junctions, and the A303 at Stonehenge, AA trends showed.
RAC Route Planner data shows 2,700 council and utility roadworks have also remained in place over the weekend.
Understaffed airports, including under-fire Manchester and Birmingham, are set for passport and baggage queues as travellers return home, after two-hour hold-ups on Friday as holidaymakers left the country.
Returning airport travellers also face chaos after they leave the terminal – with rail works meaning the Gatwick Express service scrapped and the Stansted Express link using a bus south of the airport.
London to Glasgow on the west coast rail line is also hit by multiple works.
Travel insiders said an even-more intensive rail engineering works than at Easter is shunting train passengers onto roads, adding to congestion.