Trains and roads were congested while Londoners tried to flee the city before tougher coronavirus restrictions were imposed.
Fears are over A new strain of Coronavirus The prime minister prompted to announce on Saturday that all of those areas that were previously in Level 3 in the Southeast – including London – will move to the new Level 4 on Sunday.
This means closing unnecessary stores, gyms and hairdressers, with people ordered to stay home with few exceptions.
It could also mean no family mingling during Christmas, which has seen many people rush at the last minute to slightly lighter bases in other parts of England.
The prime minister announced the rules on Saturday at a news conference at 4 pm, before they go into effect at midnight.
By 7 pm, there were no seats available online on trains from many of London’s stations including Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston.
Harriet Clogston was among those on a train from St Pancras to Leeds, a service which she described as “crowded”.
She wrote on Twitter: “An ad on tannoy says social distancing is” not going to be possible “due to scale and downfall if you’re not comfortable with it.
“People tried to secure social distancing by putting (bags) on the seats, but other passengers were asked to remove them because the train is so full.”
“Everyone on this train, including me, has probably made a ridiculous and irresponsible decision to travel if within the law. But that is what people would always do to be together on Christmas.”
“My mom lives alone and there is no way I cannot be with her at Christmas.”
A woman who did not want to be named said that she and her partner made a “divided decision” to take their young son to her parents’ home on the coast.
“We made the decision to leave based on the fact that my parents said come, and we couldn’t stand the idea of not having fresh air and a small child walking around in a small apartment in the future,” she said.
“We really felt we wanted to put the child in a safer place with a garden, even though we know that many people would not have that luxury.
She added, “Grandparents are so happy that they saw their grandson.
“Obviously we are concerned about taking responsibility for them, but they seem happy to take the risk.”
Izzy, 22, from Bristol, said she wanted “a safe stay at home for Christmas” and that her parents had come to pick her up before the restrictions took effect.
“I have slight tension because they might block the roads or something like that and prevent me from going home,” she said.
“I am moving out of my apartment so I need my dad to come and take me and feel more comfortable doing it before I enter level 4.”