Cooler weather keeps beaches clear, but bank holiday warnings remain in place

Ted Hennessey, PA

Many beaches across England stayed largely empty on Saturday as the weather helped keep people away amid warnings not to break coronavirus rules over the bank holiday weekend.

Authorities feared crowds would flock to popular coastal destinations following similar incidents in the past week, but beauty spots in Brighton and Cornwall were quiet thanks to strong winds and rain showers.

But the mercury is expected to rise to 26C (78.8F) in London on Monday, with coastal areas likely to see the temperature hit 20C (68F) – and councils have warned people not to take advantage of the warmer weather.

Saturday was predicted to be the colder day, before a pleasant Sunday, with warnings to the public remaining in place.

Beach-goer, Jane Griffiths, retired, from Newquay, said her local area was more quiet on Saturday than usual for the time of year, as 40mph winds swept the area.

She told the PA News Agency: “A few people were dotted about and a few people were surfing.

“On normal May bank holidays, the beaches would have been packed and lifeguards would have had red flags flying today. Although breezy today, visitors would have used wind breaks.

“We saw a few people but nothing like the numbers we would normally have seen.”

Elsewhere in Brighton, the mercury rose to just 16C (60.8F) in the morning, and as heavy showers arrived in the afternoon, pictures showed the seafront was largely empty.

A view of a near empty beach in Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

It was also a blustery day for other coastal areas in the South East, including Margate, in Kent, and Southend in Essex, which was busy earlier in the week.

But Saturday’s gales and lower temperatures left beaches and open spaces empty for most of the day.

In the North West, the usually popular Blackpool hit a maximum temperature of 15C (59F), with some strong gales of up to 46mph.

Pictures on social media showed an empty area surrounding the Blackpool Tower tourist attraction on the seafront.

But the warnings from councils to stay away remain the same ahead of sunny spells expected to arrive for parts of the UK on Sunday.

Sefton Council in Merseyside has adopted a new campaign ahead of the bank holiday weekend, telling people “Wish you weren’t here!”.

In Cornwall, council leaders have warned there is no lifeguard cover and a large coastal swell and spring tide will bring hazardous sea conditions over the weekend.

Devon County Council asked people to “think twice” about visiting the coast and to consider if they could remain closer to home.