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Britons hit the beach early with temperatures set to reach sweltering 81F today

Britons hit the beach yesterday as temperatures soared to a sweltering 79F (26C) ahead of the hottest day of the year today.

Sunbathers, kayakers and paddleboarders flocked to Bournemouth and Margate as runners beat the heat with morning jogs through central London. Meanwhile tourists returned to Cambridge to punt along the River Cam 

The scenes come as the nation braces itself for the the hottest day of the year so far, with the Met Office forecasting highs of 81F (28C) today. 

It comes as thousands of people remain off work – either furloughed, laid off or working from home – and free to soak up the sun.

A packed Margate beach in Kent yesterday saw people crowd on the sand as they soaked up the sun on one of the hottest days so far this year 

People paddle in the water at a natural Lido in London on Tuesday as the capital faced the hottest weather across the country

People paddle in the water at a natural Lido in London on Tuesday as the capital faced the hottest weather across the country 

Lola Fawole gets a tan on as she lies on a blanket under the scorching sun in London Fields park, east London, yesterday

Summer Wallace, 19, walks along the sea front in Brighton, on the south coast, as the temperature rocketed on Tuesday

Left: Lola Fawole gets a tan on as she lies on a blanket under the scorching sun in London Fields park, east London. Right: Summer Wallace, 19, walks along the sea front in Brighton, on the south coast

Families enjoy the sizzling heat across the country, with these people taking some time to relax on the Bournemouth coast

Families enjoy the sizzling heat across the country, with these people taking some time to relax on the Bournemouth coast

A woman smiles and holds out her hand as she sits with a man on the beach at Bournemouth on Tuesday afternoon and bask in the hot weather

A woman smiles and holds out her hand as she sits with a man on the beach at Bournemouth on Tuesday afternoon and bask in the hot weather

Bournemouth, on the Dorset coast, which has always been a popular getaway for Britons, was busy yesterday as people looked to enjoy the hot weather

Bournemouth, on the Dorset coast, which has always been a popular getaway for Britons, was busy yesterday as people looked to enjoy the hot weather

Three people stroll along Bournemouth beach on the south coast as tourists flocked to the seaside on Tuesday afternoon

Three people stroll along Bournemouth beach on the south coast as tourists flocked to the seaside on Tuesday afternoon

Tourists flocked to the sandy beach in Bournemouth on Tuesday afternoon to enjoy the sizzling temperatures in the country this week

Tourists flocked to the sandy beach in Bournemouth on Tuesday afternoon to enjoy the sizzling temperatures in the country this week 

Huge numbers of people swarmed to the seaside to enjoy the weather on Tuesday afternoon, with Margate in Kent (pictured) being an example

Huge numbers of people swarmed to the seaside to enjoy the weather on Tuesday afternoon, with Margate in Kent (pictured) being an example

Kayakers and paddleboarders raced across calm waters while swimmers took the plunge in sunny Bournemouth (pictured) yesterday morning

Kayakers and paddleboarders raced across calm waters while swimmers took the plunge in sunny Bournemouth (pictured) yesterday morning

Britons descended on the beach bright and early as temperatures  hit a sweltering 79F (26C) yesterday ahead of the hottest day of the year today. Pictured: A paddleboarder in Bournemouth

Britons descended on the beach bright and early as temperatures  hit a sweltering 79F (26C) yesterday ahead of the hottest day of the year today. Pictured: A paddleboarder in Bournemouth

A man on a canoe paddles across the calm waters off the Bournemouth coast ahead of soaring temperatures in the UK

A man on a canoe paddles across the calm waters off the Bournemouth coast ahead of soaring temperatures in the UK

A woman takes a break to sunbathe and relax with her headphones in on a bench in Hyde Park, central London, on Tuesday

A woman takes a break to sunbathe and relax with her headphones in on a bench in Hyde Park, central London, on Tuesday

Crowds gather by the water in The Regent's Park in the north-west corner of central London as people enjoyed the toasty weather

Crowds gather by the water in The Regent’s Park in the north-west corner of central London as people enjoyed the toasty weather 

People sunbathe in a packed-out Clapham Common in south-west London on Tuesday afternoon as temperatures rocketed

People sunbathe in a packed-out Clapham Common in south-west London on Tuesday afternoon as temperatures rocketed

A group of women are pictured soaking up the sun in Greenwich Park, south-east London, during the sizzling heat on Tuesday

A group of women are pictured soaking up the sun in Greenwich Park, south-east London, during the sizzling heat on Tuesday

Two people decided it was a good idea to have a boxing session during the sweltering day in London Fields Park

Two people decided it was a good idea to have a boxing session during the sweltering day in London Fields Park 

Clarice Hui and her Corgi Padfoot enjoy the hot weather in London Fields park, east London, after the introduction of measures to bring the country out of lockdown last week

Clarice Hui and her Corgi Padfoot enjoy the hot weather in London Fields park, east London, after the introduction of measures to bring the country out of lockdown last week

People take an afternoon stroll along the waterside in Hyde Park, central London, on Tuesday afternoon

People take an afternoon stroll along the waterside in Hyde Park, central London, on Tuesday afternoon 

Hyde Park in central London was packed with people on the grass enjoying the searing heat on Tuesday afternoon

Hyde Park in central London was packed with people on the grass enjoying the searing heat on Tuesday afternoon

A police car drives through Hyde Park in central London as officers make sure people adhere to social distancing rules while they are out

A police car drives through Hyde Park in central London as officers make sure people adhere to social distancing rules while they are out

The heat is partly thanks to warm air blowing over from Spain, which could see the country bask in temperatures higher than the Canary Islands.

London is expected to be the hottest, followed by East Anglia and Lincolnshire which are also anticipating searing heat.

But it will be followed by a wet low-pressure system hitting over the Bank Holiday weekend, seeing rain sweep in for much of the country.

Thunderstorms will hit on Thursday, with the South and Midlands most at risk, and deluges follow into a 68F (20C) Bank Holiday weekend.

There will also be wind gusts set to push a gale-force 50mph in parts of the West and 30mph in the East. Bank Holiday Monday could be sunnier, with 70F (21C) highs. 

A man enjoys the sun in Greenwich Park, London, taking his top off and hanging it on his bike as he relaxes

A man enjoys the sun in Greenwich Park, London, taking his top off and hanging it on his bike as he relaxes

A group made up of two men and three women swim in Bournemouth on May 19. The men have immersed themselves fully while the women seem less keen to

A group made up of two men and three women swim in Bournemouth on May 19. The men have immersed themselves fully while the women seem less keen to 

A man tries to coax his dog into the water with him at the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, central London, on Tuesday morning

A man tries to coax his dog into the water with him at the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, central London, on Tuesday morning

A man cycles through Greenwich Park in south-east London today on a folding bike as he enjoys the sizzling heat

A man cycles through Greenwich Park in south-east London today on a folding bike as he enjoys the sizzling heat 

Meanwhile runners beat the heat with an early morning jog through central London, with the Walkie Talkie and the Gherkin the backdrop for this man's run

Meanwhile runners beat the heat with an early morning jog through central London, with the Walkie Talkie and the Gherkin the backdrop for this man’s run

Richard Craig, of CrossFit Hackney gym, lifts 50kg in the hot weather, in London Fields park, east London, on Tuesday afternoon

Richard Craig, of CrossFit Hackney gym, lifts 50kg in the hot weather, in London Fields park, east London, on Tuesday afternoon

A family enjoy the sunny weather in the countryside at Dunsden, Oxfordshire, on Tuesday afternoon

A family enjoy the sunny weather in the countryside at Dunsden, Oxfordshire, on Tuesday afternoon

Two women walk out of the sea off the coast of Bournemouth during their early morning dip on Tuesday morning

Two women walk out of the sea off the coast of Bournemouth during their early morning dip on Tuesday morning

Two people relax on the sand in the sun on Tuesday morning as they watch the waves roll in on the Bournemouth coast

Two people relax on the sand in the sun on Tuesday morning as they watch the waves roll in on the Bournemouth coast

A woman practises yoga on the grass at Potters Fields in central London this morning ahead of a sweltering day in the capital

A woman practises yoga on the grass at Potters Fields in central London this morning ahead of a sweltering day in the capital

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: ’28C is possible, with growing confidence we’ll see the warmest day of the year. Warm southerly winds will blow in, but the heat could well trigger thunderstorms on Thursday.

‘The week could end with rain, possibly torrential in places, but unsettled conditions may only be temporary in the South as high pressure builds again.’

Another Met Office forecaster said: ‘The unsettled period carries the risk of strong winds, mainly for western areas.’

The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze told Blowing Hot and Cold videochat: ‘Up to 28C is expected by midweek – but people taking trips out as we move into the Bank Holiday weekend might get a soaking.’ 

Bathers swim in the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, central London, alongside geese and other wildlife that flock to the pond

Bathers swim in the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, central London, alongside geese and other wildlife that flock to the pond

A woman takes a break on a patch of grass in Potters Fields, central London, after cycling on her bike through the capital on Tuesday

A woman takes a break on a patch of grass in Potters Fields, central London, after cycling on her bike through the capital on Tuesday

Paddleboarders and a few swimmers were among the early risers to make it to the beach yesterday as temperatures continued to rise

Paddleboarders and a few swimmers were among the early risers to make it to the beach yesterday as temperatures continued to rise

A woman hauls her kayak back on to shore following a dip in the sea off the coast of Bournemouth on a sunny morning in the south

A woman hauls her kayak back on to shore following a dip in the sea off the coast of Bournemouth on a sunny morning in the south

This man sprints past the iconic Shard in central London during his early morning jog on Tuesday as amateur athletes try to beat the heat

This man sprints past the iconic Shard in central London during his early morning jog on Tuesday as amateur athletes try to beat the heat

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: '28C is possible, with growing confidence we'll see the warmest day of the year. Warm southerly winds will blow in, but the heat could well trigger thunderstorms on Thursday.' Pictured: One person holds a float as she walks along the beach in Bournemouth this morning

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: ’28C is possible, with growing confidence we’ll see the warmest day of the year. Warm southerly winds will blow in, but the heat could well trigger thunderstorms on Thursday.’ Pictured: One person holds a float as she walks along the beach in Bournemouth this morning

A woman runs through central London with Tower Bridge in the background during her early morning exercise on Tuesday

A woman runs through central London with Tower Bridge in the background during her early morning exercise on Tuesday

Two men chat as one paddleboards in the sea at Bournemouth as temperatures continue to rise across the country

Two men chat as one paddleboards in the sea at Bournemouth as temperatures continue to rise across the country

One woman stretches during her yoga session in Potters Fields in central London on Tuesday morning

One woman stretches during her yoga session in Potters Fields in central London on Tuesday morning

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