Saturday is expected to be even busier for those hoping to begin their summer getaway after holidaymakers and lorry drivers faced gridlocked roads around Dover.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic, in six-hour queues, made its way towards the Port of Dover on Friday – one of the busiest periods for foreign travel from the UK as most schools in England and Wales break up for summer.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the delays and queues are “unacceptable”, calling it an “entirely avoidable” situation.
In a statement, she said: “This awful situation should have been entirely avoidable and is unacceptable.
“We need action from France to build up capacity at the border to limit any further disruption for British tourists and to ensure this appalling situation is avoided in future.
“We will be working with the French authorities to find a solution.”
The chief executive of the Port of Dover said being “let down” by poor resourcing at the French border was “immensely frustrating”.
Doug Bannister stopped short of guaranteeing the backlog would clear in the coming days, but pledged that officials are doing all they can to address issues.
Pierre-Henri Dumont, Republican MP for Calais, said these problems at the port will reoccur “because of Brexit”.
He told BBC News: “This is an aftermath of Brexit. We have to run more checks than before.”
Mr Dumont also said the Port of Dover is “too small” and there are too few kiosks due to lack of space.
A “critical incident” was declared by the Kent port due to the queues, with tourists urged to consider staying away.
One lorry driver told the PA news agency that he had been queuing in his HGV in Dover since 6pm on Thursday, and was still waiting