Britain’s beaches have been shunned by holidaymakers who are instead wrapping up indoors and even lighting fires – while aching for the same scorching heat which baked the nation on this day last year.
Only the hardiest of tourists braved the 52F chill to spend the late August Bank Holiday at the seaside, with pictures showing determined beach-goers scattered sparsely on the sand.
Striking photographs lay bare the contrast from last year’s three-day weekend when sun-seekers fought for bathing spots on rammed beaches to bask under 92F weather.
Bournemouth beach, one of the South’s most popular coastal resorts, today only drew a smattering of people, in sharp comparison to the crowds who covered every inch of the sand in 2019.
Similarly Barry Island, of Gavin and Stacey fame, was last year inundated by tourists whereas today remained quiet.
Today is the coldest late August Bank Holiday Monday for 50 years, and brings an end to a roller-coaster month of extreme weather which saw a blistering heatwave, torrential rain and two storms.
Chilly temperatures have kept many would-be holidaymakers at home today (right), while last year thousands flocked to Bournemouth as Britain basked in record-breaking 92F sunshine (left)
Bournemouth beach pictured today (right) looks unrecognisable compared with packed scenes on the same beach this time last year
Barry Island, of Gavin and Stacey fame, was last year inundated by tourists whereas today remained relatively quiet
Last year and this year: Punters on the River Cam in 2019 enjoyed glorious sunshine amid record heat, whereas this year (right) only a fraction of the boats were out
The chilly weather hasn’t deterred some people from making the most of their bank holiday break as a few brave souls have travelled to the beach. Pictured: Holidaymakers descend the steps to Durdle Door beach in Dorset today
People take to the sea at Long Sands Beach in Tynemouth this morning as Brits wake up to the coldest late August bank holiday in 50 years
Brits across the country have been lighting fires in their homes as they try to battle the temperatures which are set to plunge to as low as 11C in some areas
Fires are a common sight on Twitter today as people share the ways that they are trying to beat the freezing temperatures
Despite the chill, the sun is still shining around the country which has encouraged some people to risk visiting the beach on their bank holiday. Pictured: Cars queue to enter the car park at Lulworth Cove in Dorset this morning
Holidaymakers spend their bank holiday basking in the sunlight despite the temperatures plummeting to as low as 11C in some areas of the country
The hottest August day in 17 years was recorded only a few weeks ago when temperatures soared to 36.4C (97.3F).
The sharp temperature drop hasn’t gone unnoticed by Brits who were looking forward to their bank holiday as many people took to social media after they were forced to light fires and don warmer clothing.
Sarah Williams said: ‘It was bloody freezing, I can’t remember an August Bank Holiday so cold – I even lit the fire. Summer is officially over.’
Another person tweeted: ‘Waking up and it’s 11 degrees outside? Summer fully got deleted. We didn’t even slowly transition into autumn, it just happened.’
Joe Stephenson posted that the temperature was now far too low to keep wearing his summer wardrobe but that he also wasn’t quite ready to give up on his summer shorts just yet.
A few brave souls determined to make the most of their chilly bank holiday walk along the coastal path to Durdle Door in Dorset this morning
A small number of people braved the falling temperatures to try and enjoy the beach at Durdle Door earlier today
A glorious sunrise is seen rising over the Cobb ner Lyme Regis this morning as boats bob gently in the bay on the coldest late August bank holiday in 50 years
Kayakers and paddleboarders were not put off by the chill in the air and still donned their equipment for a go on the water at Cullercoats, North Tyneside, today
‘It’s getting too cold for shorts but I’m far too loyal to them to admit this and make the change so I will continue to wear three layers on top but just shorts on the bottom,’ he said.
Other tweeters were less afraid of giving up their summer wardrobe, with one person saying: ‘It’s gone from too hot to wear a lot to freezing in days. I’ve got my slippers out already to keep my feet warm.
‘Stupid British weather!’
Brigid Coady was also not afraid to admit she had dumped her summer outfits in favour of warmer clothing. She said: ‘Ahh August Bank Holiday… broke out the sweaters.’
People are also resorting to turning the heating up and burning fires in an attempt to keep themselves warm this bank holiday.
The 500-mile ‘polar plunge’ which has caused temperatures in Britain to plummet today making it the coldest late August bank holiday in 50 years
The sun shines gloriously at the beach on Barry Island, Wales, as people enjoy their bank holiday break in temperatures well below the average for this time of year
Emma Cawley asked: ‘Is it awful to want to lift a fire in August??’
While Melanie Chiswell Brooks admitted: ‘I caved. I’ll admit it. Bought logs for the woodburner.’
Helen Crossley posted a picture of her fire already roaring when she tweeted this morning to say: ‘Fire. It’s August right? It was just too chilly.’
The nippy temperatures haven’t stopped people making the most of their bank holiday weekends though, with photographer Andrew Fusek-Peters, 54, waking up at 4.30am to snap the moment the sun began to emerge in Shropshire.
In a collection of four photos, Fusek-Peters was able to capture the exact moment that sunlight started to rise over Caer Caradoc and its 459-metre summit.
The beach at Bournemouth today is enjoyed by a few people brave enough to battle against the chilly temperatures
He said: ‘I thought “what the hell is that” because it looked like somebody had a torch shining up on the horizon.
‘It was the weirdest effect I think I’ve ever seen. It turns out they’re called crepuscular rays.
‘It’s a known phenomenon but not really that often seen. It looks like a Photoshop job as it is such a strange effect.
‘The sun is obviously causing those rays to rise up along the horizon.
‘I thought there was something rather beautiful both about that and the fact the heather is in bloom in the foreground.
‘The response I’ve had on social media has been amazing, everybody is saying how utterly beautiful it looks, so I’m really pleased.’
Andrew Fusek-Peters was able to capture the exact moment that sunlight started to rise over Caer Caradoc and its 459-metre summit
Fusek-Peters, 54, woke up at 4.30am to snap the moment the sun began to emerge in Shropshire
This stunning image was taken by Andrew Fusek-Peters this morning who woke up early, despite the chilly conditions, for this view
Despite the plunging temperatures this bank holiday, Alex Burkill, meteorologist at the met Office, said that the variety of hot, cold and windy weather would likely not be reflected in the monthly averages.
‘We’ve not broken any records with how cold it’s got,’ he said.
‘Daytime temperatures (on Sunday) did struggle, but the lowest maximum temperature was 12.5C and the record is 9.1C, so we’re quite far off that.
‘Monday daytime temperatures will struggle again, probably only just about getting into double figures in some places, but i’d be surprised if we broke any records.
‘It has been quite extreme at times, we’ve had some very hot weather and then the two storms towards the end of the month,’ he said.
‘Even this bank holiday has been unseasonably cool, it’s not that often that we get temperatures around freezing in August.
People took to Twitter earlier today to complain about the dropping temperatures, with one person tweeting to say that summer had been deleted
‘(The weather) has brought everything this month and that’s not really going to be captured in the monthly averages.
‘They’re not going to show the extremes that we’ve had.’
Last week, the UK was battered by Storm Francis, which saw gusts of 81mph hit The Needles near the Isle of Wight, just days after Storm Ellen had struck.
The Met said it was ‘unseasonable’ to have two named storms occur in August within such a short period.
‘It’s not that usual for us to get these types of storms in August, in fact it’s the first time we’ve ever had a named storm in August,’ said Mr Burkill.
‘To then have another one week after the other is even more extreme.’
The storms followed a spell of blistering heat, which included a high of 97.3F (36.4C) at Heathrow and Kew Gardens – the hottest August day recorded in 17 years.