Britons woke up bright and early to hit parks and beaches across the country before temperatures soar to 70F in Britain’s first Sunday since lockdown restrictions were eased.
While crowds of people were pictured enjoying Dorset’s picturesque coastline and Londoners took to the city’s green spaces, it appears most are heeding the stark warnings issued by rural country spots this weekend.
Several tourist boards have warned that people would be turned away if they became too busy and urged visitors to be careful and respectful of the rules.
Yesterday saw cautious Britons begin to step outside as traffic congestion data across the UK crept up by 3 per cent.
But the predicted stampede of 15 million day trippers on the first weekend since lockdown was partially lifted failed to materialise as most decided to enjoy the weather closer to home.
The lower-than-expected numbers could have been down to ‘coronaphobia’ – the fear of travelling too far during the pandemic.
It is unclear whether Saturday’s toe-in-the-water attitude will follow through to today, or whether braver Britons will venture further afield.
The South Downs National Park said people must ‘observe the three Rs by exercising restraint, responsibility and respect’, and urged people to avoid popular areas and keep 2m away.
In Brighton the local council was asking people to stay away from its seafront, with Carmen Appich – chairwoman of Brighton and Hove city council’s equalities, communities and culture committee – saying: ‘If thousands of people travel to our city on a sunny day and don’t or are unable to maintain safe physical distancing because of overcrowding, this increases the risk of a Covid outbreak and puts everyone at risk.’
National Park Authority chief executive Richard Leafe said: ‘For now, we’re asking people not to rush back to the Lake District – help protect our communities, the fells will still be here when this passes.
‘When the time is right, we look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Lake District and have been working with partners to put measures in place that will help keep people safe, such as new car park information and availability to help plan ahead.’
Their advice comes as the weather is set to soar next week with highs in the mid 20s leading to concerns that lockdown-crazy Britons will rush to the outdoors.
Britons woke up bright and early to hit parks and beaches across the country before temperatures soar to 70F in another scorching weekend. Pictured: Sunday revellers enjoy Branksome beach, Dorset
While crowds of people were pictured enjoying Dorset’s picturesque coastline and Londoners took to the city’s green spaces (pictured), it appears most are heeding the stark warnings to issued by rural country spots this weekend
Several tourist boards have warned that people would be turned away if they became too busy and urged visitors to be cautious and respectful of the rules (joggers in London, pictured)
One family opted for a breakfast picnic in Battersea Park, London, as a way to enjoy the early-morning sunshine
Many hired bikes as a form of exercise while others took to scooters and rollerblades to zip around Battersea Park
Park visitors jogged, walked and cycled in Battersea, London. One man takes a break by sitting on a bench
A family pause their bike ride to greet the wildlife in Battersea Park today on Britain’s first Sunday since lockdown restrictions were eased
The AA yesterday said that despite the ‘heavy temptation to travel to beaches and day out favourites’, the majority of Brits have decided to stay at home.
‘Over the last few weeks, many have walked and cycled locally and discovered hideaways and treasures they may never knew existed, so may have chosen to stay local until cafés and coffee shops fully open,’ they added.
According to a poll conducted by the RAC, around 15 million leisure trips are supposed to be being made this weekend. The survey of 1,317 drivers indicates that nearly half of the journeys that are being made by cars will be 10 miles long, while 11 per cent of drivers polled are travelling only up to 30 miles to find a beach.
The poll also suggests that one in five drivers will drive up to 10 miles to reach their destinations, with 6 per cent travelling 30 miles to get to a park. Five per cent said they expect to drive more than 30 miles for recreation.
The National Trust, which oversees 500 historic houses, castles, parks and gardens in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will reopen its big car parks next week after opening 250 smaller ones this week.
Hilary McGrady, its director general, said that it was taking ‘baby steps’ to reopen its properties, but urged people to enjoy local attractions instead of travelling long distances this weekend.
‘There are lots of beautiful green spaces close to people, within a half-hour drive time, but this is about respect and people taking care of themselves and care of each other,’ she said.
A man practices his cricket technique in Southwark Park this morning. This is the first weekend since lockdown has been eased
A man walks his dog along the beach in Dorset. Temperatures are set to soar to 70F today in another scorching weekend
Branksome Beach, Dorset, was a popular spot for Britons to enjoy the early Sunday sunshine this morning
James Mason, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said it would be ‘foolish’ not to anticipate a rise in visitors but added that it was ‘not yet safe’ or advisable for people to flock en masse to their favourite spots.
He said: ‘Our advice would be clear: think twice about why you’re going (and) think twice about the experience that you’re going to have. It won’t be the same experience that you would have had in the past.
‘We’re asking people to just maybe modify their thinking and find natural beauty on your doorstep, and wait until we’re encouraging you back in the next few months.’
On Friday, in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey, locals urged people to stay away, warning that roads would be closed if they became too busy.
A man jogs along the promenade at Branksome beach, Dorset. People are no longer restricted to one outdoor exercise a day
One brave woman donned a swimsuit to take a dip off the coast of Dorset. While weather is warmer than usual, the sea is still likely to be freezing
One brave outdoorsman pulled on a wet suit to paddleboard off the coast of Dorset as a more unusual form of exercise
Two women were seen jogging in Southwark Park near to a sign telling them they must remain two metres apart
A jogger could be seen reading a sign put up in Southwark Park, London, instructing visitors to stay two metres apart from each other
A woman and a child could be seen cycling through Southwark Park, London, while enjoying the sunshine this morning
Branksome Beach, Dorset, had plenty visitors looking to enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather while they exercise
And police in the Yorkshire Dales handed a group of campers Covid-19 fixed penalty notices on Friday night after they pitched tents and lit a fire right next to smelt mill ruins near Surrender Bridge, Swaledale.
A local resident have reported seeing the five tents, with officers who attended met with four men and four women aged in their mid-20s. They discovered that the group had travelled from West Yorkshire and were from six different households.
They were told to pack up their belongings and received a fine, with Inspector Mark Gee of Richmondshire Policing Team calling the incident ‘a clear breach of the regulations. Leaving your home address to camp overnight is not allowed’.
In Sheffield – the city nearest the Peak District – congestion was up just 1 per cent on the week before, suggesting that Britons this morning were still being cautious about stepping outside
In Southampton, traffic congestion was down by 1 per cent on last week. The weather is set to get warmer as the day goes on
London’s congestion levels this morning were exactly the same as the week before. This is the first Sunday since lockdown measures were eased
In Brighton and Hove, traffic levels were also exactly the same as the week before – but could pick up as the day goes on
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘In normal times, the weather warming up in time for the weekend would spell traffic jams on routes leading to tourist hotspots.
‘These figures suggest that’s less likely this weekend, with the vast majority of drivers we surveyed not jumping at the chance to drive very much further afield. Most are choosing to stay very local indeed or even not getting in the car in the first place, which bodes well for control of the coronavirus.
‘As guidance on movement hasn’t changed much in either Scotland or Wales, English drivers should regard the borders to these countries as effectively closed for leisure trips or potentially face a fine.’