a VirtualTourist member
We fly to Paris from Heathrow T5 at 1:30pm on Easter Sunday 12Apr09 - we will be driving up from near Portsmouth that morning to drop off the hire car.
How long should this take and is it advisable? ie. will holiday traffic be bad and so should be drop the car at Portsmouth and arrange alternative transport to Heathrow ??
Getting from Portsmouth to London is to use the A3. There are some major works going on in the vicinity of Hindhead. This would require extra time for your journey. You can get an idea from reading this page:
Reading this alerts one to problems etc. For example during the last weekend of March, the road will be closed so that work can be carried out and traffic diverted via A31 and A325.
I do not often use the A3 but have heard of delays from friends. My feeling is that if you allow an extra half an hour then it will be better. Traffic on an Easter Sunday does depend a lot on the weather. if it is sunny then expect more cars ! But many will be heading to the coast rather than into London. Fewer heavy goods vehicles too.
On a normal day the journey may take under 2 hours maximum. If you allow 2 1/2 hours then you should be fine. It will not GRID LOCK !!!
Most hire car companies at Heathrow are located at the NE side of the airport with T5 being on the West side. This might seem a short detour but can add significantly. The M25 is always an unknown quantity and I used to drive this journey regularly a few years back and agree that a good run through will take 90 minutes. An extra hour minimum is advisable but you might also encounter delays when you get to the airport too.
I don't think that there is an alternative means of transport which would save you any time or hassle. Coach or taxi (v. expensive) would have to use the same roads and run the same risk of congestion as you would with your hire car and trains will be less frequent on a Sunday (and engineering works are often scheduled for holiday weekends).
My guess is that you are likely to be travelling in the opposite direction to the worst of the traffic, but allow plenty of time for the journey, anyway.