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Kent weather: Long queues in Thanet, Romney Marsh and Gillingham as suseekers head for the beach

Motorists faced lengthy delays across Kent as sun-seekers headed to the coast and filled up the roads.

Queues stretched for miles on several routes, as beaches in the county reached capacity on the hottest day of the year so far.

Beachgoers are slowing traffic down across the Kent coast
Beachgoers are slowing traffic down across the Kent coast

In the Thanet area, traffic queued on the A28 near Birchington-on-Sea and there were two-mile tailbacks on the A299 Thanet Way Eastbound at Sweechbridge Road, as holiday traffic moved down to the coast.

Thanet District Council tweeted to say several of the area's beaches - including Joss Bay, Botany Bay and Viking Bay- were at capacity and should be avoided.

KentOnline reporter Marijke Hall was in Margate. She said: "Traffic is very slow going into the town as crowds try to reach the main sands, but generally trying to get around Thanet is hard today because of cars heading towards the beaches.

"Viking Bay is particularly busy, although the promenade and bandstand are really quiet. Probably because everyone is in the sea!"

There were also eight-mile queues on the M2 coastbound, after holiday traffic ran into the aftermath of an accident that temporarily blocked at least three lanes near Junction 4 for Gillingham.

Several beaches in Margate and Thanet are already at capacity
Several beaches in Margate and Thanet are already at capacity

The road started to ease earlier this afternoon, several hours after the accident occurred, although tailbacks were still stretching back into Rochester mid-afternoon.

There were also severe backlogs in Lydd, as residents saw a repeat of the chaos caused in the area in June, as a heatwave coinciding with the end of lockdown resulted in 18-mile queues.

The queues were partly caused by traffic being turned around from the nearby Camber Sands, which reached capacity before 11am.

The roads were also slow in nearby Dymchurch and Old Romney, as well as Hythe further up the coast.

Tailbacks were stretching into Rochester following a crash on the M2
Tailbacks were stretching into Rochester following a crash on the M2

Folkestone also received an influx of visitors, which saw the Lower Leas car park fill to capacity.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council also advised against travelling to Dymchurch on Romney Marsh due to the level of traffic in the area

The coastal traffic was also affecting travel times on the M20 coastbound, with queues as long as five miles as increased holiday traffic hit the roadworks near Junction 9 for Ashford.

Further away from the coast, traffic was very slow in both directions on the A21 London Road due to roadworks in the Hurst Green area.

Crowds have turned out to enjoy the sun on Herne Bay's beach (39601050)
Crowds have turned out to enjoy the sun on Herne Bay's beach (39601050)

Of course not everyone is in a rush to get places as quickly as possible, or even to get to the coast.

One family had a get-together in Maidstone and took a leisurely trip down the River Medway to celebrate Tina Rogan's 54th birthday - with an obligatory ice cream, of course.

Tina Rogan's family got together on the RIver Medway to celebrate her birthday
Tina Rogan's family got together on the RIver Medway to celebrate her birthday

The county's four highest temperatures all came on the same day - August 10, 2003.

On that day, the mercury hit 38.5C near Faversham while the next four highest figures were seen in Gravesend (38.1C), East Malling (37.4C), Herne Bay (36.5C) and Eynsford (36.4C).

The next three highest temperatures were recorded on July 25 last year when Frittenden experienced 36.1C, Langdon Bay 25.9C and Manston hit 35.5C.

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