Sunseekers flock to beaches and parks as lockdown eases and 24C heatwave approaches

29 March 2021, 16:13 | Updated: 29 March 2021, 16:44

Sun-seekers gather on Bournemouth beach as lockdown eased today.
Sun-seekers gather on Bournemouth beach as lockdown eased today. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

People have flocked to England's beaches and parks as the country took its first steps out of lockdown today, ahead of hot weather which is due to arrive in the coming days.

England’s latest loosening of restrictions allow groups of up to six people, or any amount from just two households, to gather outdoors.

Images from today show people at the beach, enjoying a sit down in the park or enjoying group sport for the first time in months.

Meanwhile the country is set for a scorcher, with the forecast looking good in many parts, with people in the south east relishing the prospect of a mini heatwave in the coming days ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday.

Read more: Mini heatwave March 2021: Met office forecast soaring temperatures for Easter

People meet at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham.
People meet at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham. Picture: PA
Beach-goers gather in Bournemouth to soak in some sun by the sea.
Beach-goers gather in Bournemouth to soak in some sun by the sea. Picture: PA

Sun-seekers enjoyed the weather today on Bournemouth beach with socially-distanced groups sitting on the sand.

The hotspot generated controversy last year after photos showed crowds of thousands of people at the beach in the middle of a heatwave. It was later suggested that the packed beach scenes led to no increase in Covid transmission.

Areas along the coast at Bournemouth were given red alert status at the time, over fears social distancing was not being observed.

Read more: Will it be warm over the Bank Holiday weekend?

People sit in the sun outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
People sit in the sun outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire. Picture: PA
Mike Angell playing tennis at Wycombe House tennis club, Isleworth.
Mike Angell playing tennis at Wycombe House tennis club, Isleworth. Picture: PA

Temperatures are expected to reach 23C in the south and east of England on Tuesday, while Wednesday could see London reach 24C.

The highest temperature recorded in March in the UK was 25.6C on 29 March 1968 in Cambridgeshire, the Met Office said.

Chief Meteorologist Steve Ramsdale added: "There will also be plenty of sunshine across England and Wales however parts of Scotland will see some persistent rain over the next couple of days.

Social distancing was observed at Bournemouth beach.
Social distancing was observed at Bournemouth beach. Picture: PA

"Conditions will start to change through the day on Thursday as cooler air moves in from the north east, highs will fall to the mid-teens before falling further by Friday, especially along the east coast.

"With pressure building from the north however, conditions are expected to remain dry for the majority."