Cloudless skies, packed beaches… it certainly wasn’t the sort of early May bank holiday we’re used to.
But Britain made the most of the glorious sunshine yesterday as the country basked in temperatures hotter than Hawaii.
Millions headed to the coast as the thermometer hit 28.7C (84F) – making it the warmest early May bank holiday in history.
Predictably, it’s not set to last for long. Slapping on the sunscreen yesterday, we’ll be slipping on a sou’wester by next week as cooler weather takes hold.
Crowds enjoy the sunshine on the hottest May Bank Holiday on record on the beach at Bournemouth
Friends enjoy each others company as they sunbathe near Hampstead Heath Mixed Bathing Pond in north London
Forecasters expect temperatures to plummet by more than 10C by next weekend – back to the average of around 16C (61F) for the time of year. A spring-like mix of scattered showers and sunny spells will dominate for the rest of the week as cooler Atlantic air replaces a warm high pressure system.
On a day of searing sunshine yesterday, 28.7C (84F) was recorded in Northolt, West London – beating the previous record of 23.6C (74F), set in Hampshire in 1999.
It also just nudged past the record for the weekend – 28.6C (84F), logged in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on May 6, 1995.
As families headed to the coast, there was not a spare deckchair in sight at Bournemouth beach yesterday and car parks were full within hours of opening.
As the RAC estimated some 2million daytrippers took to the roads, there were tailbacks of at least 15 miles on major routes to the south coast, Blackpool and Cornwall.
Unbroken sunshine drew crowds of 125,000 to Brighton, although there were complaints over a lack of lifeguards on duty. Officials said the service does not start until the May half term.
Laura Pope (left) and her friend Lia Hamby, both 20, enjoying the sunshine on Brighton beach this afternoon
This beach in Bournemouth is packed full of visitors relishing the heat and sunshine this Bank Holiday
The sun-drenched forecast is set to be hotter than scorching destinations such as Barbados, Ibiza, Hawaii, Sydney and Los Angeles. Pictured: A busy beach in Brighton
In the Yorkshire Dales, the River Wharfe – normally in full flow at this time of year – almost completely dried up. The area has had just 2mm of rain in seven days, well below the May average of 80mm, turning the river into a barren expanse of rock and sand.
In the hot weather, a runner in his 50s died after collapsing six miles into a marathon in Belfast.
A youngster had to be rescued after striking his head on submerged rocks while tombstoning – jumping into the sea from a high point – in Dorset.
The teenager, who leapt into the water off Portland Bill, near Weymouth, is recovering in hospital after suffering concussion and deep cuts to the head. A 40-year-old climber had to be rescued after falling up to 20ft on to rocks in nearby Lulworth, suffering head and leg injuries.
Most of yesterday’s top temperatures were recorded in the South East – with 27.8C (82F) in St James’ Park, London, 28C (82.4F) at Heathrow and 27.3C (81F) in Kew Gardens.
Pictured: Mirian Lima, 36, from Brazil spent the day on Brighton and Hove beach on the May Bank Holiday Monday
The hot weather brought out many people’s fun side this afternoon with a young boy being buried in the sand (right) on a beach in Margate and a woman jumping into Hampstead Heath Mixed Bathing Pond in north London
People sunbathe in the hot weather while in Regent’s Park in London
By contrast, it was 22C (72F) in Hawaii, 24C (75F) in Sydney, and 20C (68F) in Athens.
Met Office forecaster Sarah Kent said: ‘We smashed the records yesterday. It was the hottest early May bank holiday record, both for the weekend as a whole and the Monday itself. But we’re in for a big change over the next week or so.
‘Cool Atlantic air is going to bring much fresher weather, with a mix of showers and sunny spells.
‘Temperatures are going to gradually switch back to the May average of around 61F (16C).’
In Bournemouth (pictured), more than 100,000 people flocked to the area for the Bank Holiday weekend
Eastern parts of the UK could see thundery showers by this afternoon. The South East will get the best of the weather, while western parts may get rain tomorrow.
The weather is set to become mixed as the May 19 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle approaches.
Met Office forecaster Charlie Powell said the country can expect changeable weather for the second half of May but there could be warmer spells in the South that ‘bodes well for weddings’.