Britons have flocked to beaches during the coronavirus lockdown as the UK recorded its hottest day of the year so far – beating a top temperature set the day before.
The mercury climbed to 27.8C (82F) near Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, as sunbathers across England enjoyed new found-freedom following the easing of restrictions.
London’s St James’s Park recorded a high of 26.2C (79F) on Tuesday – beating 2020’s previous top of 26C (78.8F) set last month.
But that temperature was again topped on Wednesday.
Balmy conditions have tested the nation’s resolve in maintaining two-metre social distancing in parks and open spaces.
Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said the vast majority of the UK would enjoy a dry, sunny day on Wednesday.
Weather conditions are expected to become more unsettled on Thursday, with the risk of thunderstorms in the east and south-east of England as a band of rain pushes eastwards.
Temperatures are predicted to cool from 24C (75.2F) or 25C (77F) before the rain to a fresher 17C (62.6F) to 21C (69.8F) on Friday.
Dewhurst predicted a windy start to the weekend with sunshine and showers for many, with the weather gradually turning drier from the south on Sunday and into bank holiday Monday.