What a scorcher! Londoners flock to parks and green spaces on hottest day of the year

·4-min read
London was set to enjoy the hottest day of the year so far (Getty Images)
London was set to enjoy the hottest day of the year so far (Getty Images)

Sun-loving Londoners flocked to parks and green spaces across the city on the hottest day of the year today.

Hundreds made their way to St James’ Park, Greenwich Park and Hyde Park to enjoy the warm weather.

Some dipped their toes into Hyde Park’s Serpentine lake or hired pedalos or boats to enjoy the water, while in south east London, people were seen swimming in Beckenham Place Park open water lido.

Meanwhile, thousands have flocked to beaches across the country, including Bournemouth beach in Dorset.

Beach-goers were determined to soak up as many rays as possible, setting up gazebos and tents on the sand, while other lounged on lilos in the sea.

Surfers and paddleboarders are also enjoying the weather, with many taking to the sea alongside speedboats and dinghies.

By late afternoon, all four UK nations had recorded the hottest temperature of the year so far - and forecasters believe it will be even warmer on Sunday.

Temperatures in Northern Ireland reached the highest temperature ever recorded, the Met Office has said.

A man enjoys the sun in Hyde Park (REUTERS)
A man enjoys the sun in Hyde Park (REUTERS)

Ballywatticock, in County Down, Northern Ireland, has reached 31.2C while in England was 30.3C recorded in Coton In The Elms, Derbyshire.

Usk, in Monmouthshire, Wales, reached 29C, and 28.2C was recorded in Threave, in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland.

Met Office experts said the mercury could hit 31C in England and possibly in parts of Northern Ireland, which would beat the 29.7C recorded in south-west London on June 14.

But temperatures could reach 33C in England and south Wales on Sunday as the summer heatwave continues.

Tom Morgan, meteorologist at the Met Office, said temperatures could reach 31C around Yorkshire, the Midlands, south-east Wales and Bristol on Saturday.

He added: “We have got quite an extended hot spell of weather to come through the next several days lasting much of this week, nighttime temperatures will be in the high teens Celsius and daytime temperatures will be in the high twenties or low thirties.

“It’s going to mean that people are really going to feel the effects of the heat as we go through this week.”

Swimmers in Beckenham Palace Park (Getty Images)
Swimmers in Beckenham Palace Park (Getty Images)

The weather resulted in several traffic collisions and even fatalities across the UK, as people headed out to make the most of the good weather.

Pile-ups on major motorways from Scotland to the south of England have caused delays throughout Saturday, as emergency service workers were called to the scene.

On the M11, a man died after a vehicle transporter overturned between Bishop’s Stortford and Newmarket, near to Stansted airport.

Essex Police said paramedics had tended to the man, but he died at the scene.

Images on social media showed people getting out of their cars and walking down the road with suitcases.

Another serious collision took place on the M25 motorway later in the afternoon on Saturday, near junction three heading to Dartford.

Essex Police said at 5pm the road remained closed while investigations were carried out and traffic was being diverted.

The heatwave is breaking records across all of the UK, as the highest temperature of the year was reached across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales on Friday.

Boaters in Hyde Park (PA)
Boaters in Hyde Park (PA)

For London and the south east to record a heatwave, temperatures must exceed 28C for at least three days, while this drops to 27C in the Midlands and 26C in the south west.

In Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Devon and Cornwall and the north east, it is 25C.

There is also a chance that the highest temperature of all time in Northern Ireland, recorded at 30.8C in Belfast in 1983, could be beaten over the weekend.

The Met Office is working closely with Public Health England during the warmer spell and has warned people to stay hydrated, not to leave children or pets in cars, and apply sunscreen.

The RAC has also warned drivers to be careful as higher temperatures can cause accidents on roads, which are likely to be busier.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “With summer weather arriving just as some schools are breaking up, this could turn out to be an extremely busy weekend on the roads – with routes leading to the coasts snarling up as millions get out to enjoy the sun.

A swimmer in Dublin (PA)
A swimmer in Dublin (PA)

“Setting out extremely early could be the only way of missing the inevitable jams, and it might make sense for drivers to make the most of the good weather from home instead.

“For those that do set out, checking their car is road-ready will be vital – or a breakdown in the sweltering heat might result. Tyres, oil and coolant levels should all be looked at before getting behind the wheel.”

PHE also issued a heat-health warning on Thursday for the weekend, urging people to look out for those who may struggle to keep cool and hydrated, such as older people and those who live alone.

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