Thousands will head to Gatwick this Easter weekend as a record 2.1 million Britons head abroad.

Those staying at home will have to contend with major rail works and a mixed bag of sunshine and showers.

Although temperatures are expected to pick up from a low of 8C (46F) to 14C (57F) during the weekend, forecasters say many areas will see showers or heavier rain.

The South-East is likely to be the sunniest and driest area.

For those heading overseas, the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands, Cyprus and Turkey are the most popular short-haul sunshine destinations.

The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) said more than 1.5 million passengers were scheduled to depart from UK airports over the weekend, with 950,000 leaving the country through the seven BAA-run airports, which include Heathrow and Gatwick.

More than 500,000 are expected to travel under or over the English Channel to France, The Netherlands and Spain, including 60,000 on high-speed Eurostar trains.

As at Christmas, rail infrastructure company Network Rail is carrying out a major engineering programme to coincide with the bank holiday period.

Rail operator South Central has urged travellers to allow extra time due to a series of service alterations between Sussex and London.

On Good Friday there will be a Sunday service with some additional services between Brighton and Eastbourne.

Engineering works between Preston Park and Hove will disrupt early morning services on Good Friday until 8am.

All journeys in and out of Victoria will be affected on Saturday, while routes from Watford Junction to Brighton will terminate at Clapham.

On Easter Sunday, there will be a Sunday service but with additional trains on some routes and engineering works affecting other services.

Trains in both directions between Victoria and Hastings will serve Plumpton, where the Easter race meeting is taking place.

On Easter Monday there will be a Sunday service.

For more details, call the National Rail Inquiries Service on 08457 484950 or South Central customer services on 0870 8306000.