Holidaymakers hoping to get away for the long weekend have been warned to prepare for traffic jams and major disruption on the region’s roads and railways.

According to the AA, extensive engineering work planned for the bank holiday and predictions of congestion on the roads could see major routes out of the city become "significantly busier than normal".

The organisation, which is expecting up to 18 million vehicles on the nation’s roads, said the average journey length would be about 135 miles, with the busiest beaches in Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth.

The RAC said other congestion hotspots would include out-of-town DIY stores, with a predicted 86 per cent of homeowners expected to visit home improvement shops during the long weekend.

Forecasters however painted a brighter picture for the weekend. A spokesman for MeteoGroup UK said: "We could see temperatures as high as 23C (72F) on Sunday, while it will probably reach around 20C (68F) on Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday.

"There will be some rain about but it’s generally going to be pretty good for May Day bank holiday. If anyone has the week off next week then they could have a very pleasant time as the forecast for the middle of the week looks good."

But even then the RAC said the high temperatures could lead to jams as people scrambled to reach the west of the country, north Wales, the Lake District and from the Midlands to Norfolk. Those hoping to travel by train were told to expect disruption and cancellations, as Network Rail announced details of engineering work across the Midlands over the weekend.

It said this included work to renew vital track components in Rugby, remodelling of the tracks in Nuneaton, heavy maintenance work at Proof House Junction south of Birmingham New Street, work on lines in the Trent Valley area, work to extend a Tamworth platform and essential work on most of the route between Armitage, Handsacre in Staffordshire and Ather.

Two of the rail engineering spots are in areas where work overran at the new year – on the West Coast Main Line in the Midlands and at Liverpool Street station in London.

The WCML work at Nuneaton, Milton Keynes, Rugby and along the Trent Valley will mean there will be no Virgin Trains’ service to or from Euston station in London on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. Services will only run as far south as either Coventry or Birmingham.

Iain Coucher, Network Rail chief executive said: "The work over the May bank holiday is all about improving the railway for passengers and freight users. Whilst many services will continue to run with some alterations, passengers should check before you travel." While holidaymakers busy themselves with plans to avoid much of the chaos, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry dismissed calls by the TUC to introduce a new autumn national holiday.

Charlotte Ritchie, the Chamber’s head of policy, said: "We understand why an autumn Bank Holiday would work well, because there is a concentration of holidays during the first part of the year, but as we already have two in May, why not move the Spring bank holiday to October?"

* For details on Network Rail’s May bank holiday work visit