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Brits bask in Easter sunshine across the UK with temperatures set to hit 22C

Brits bask in Easter sunshine across the UK with temperatures set to hit 22C 2

Brits will sizzle in the sunshine again today ahead of splendid Easter Sunday after experiencing the hottest day of the year so far – and could be warmer than Greece and Turkey.

The mercury hit 23.4C in St James’s Park in central London on Good Friday afternoon, the Met Office said, making it hottest day of the year so far – and warmer than California.

The new high beat the previous record of 20.8C set in central London on March 23 and at Treknow in Cornwall on March 25. 

Amid the record temperatures, Easter holiday destinations like Majorca, Ibiza and Greece will only have highs of between 16C and 20C.

Although today is expected to be slightly cooler, temperatures are still expected to reach 23C for sunbathers and staycationers in parts of southern and central England.

The weather is expected to be dry with temperatures rising to 23C in the West Midlands and eastern Wales, while the northern, central and south eastern parts of England are predicted to see highs of 20C (68F). 

It comes as millions of drivers took to the roads at the start of a long weekend desperate to make the most of the Bank Holiday sunshine – with an estimated 22.48million journeys taking places over the four days.

Brits will sizzle in the sunshine again today ahead of splendid Easter Sunday after experiencing the hottest day of the year so far. Pictured: Girls from the Talk of the Coast show at The Viking Hotel in Blackpool show off their beach bodies

Brits will sizzle in the sunshine again today ahead of splendid Easter Sunday after experiencing the hottest day of the year so far. Pictured: Girls from the Talk of the Coast show at The Viking Hotel in Blackpool show off their beach bodies

Britain is predicted to be warmer than Greece and Turkey today as temperatures are set to hit 23C - following the hottest of the year so far on Good Friday. Pictured: Sunseekers filling up Bournemouth Beach in Dorset

Britain is predicted to be warmer than Greece and Turkey today as temperatures are set to hit 23C – following the hottest of the year so far on Good Friday. Pictured: Sunseekers filling up Bournemouth Beach in Dorset

The weather is expected to be dry with temperatures rising to 23C in the West Midlands and eastern Wales, while the northern, central and south eastern parts of England are predicted to see highs of 20C (68F). Pictured: Tourists and staycationers at Boscombe beach in Dorset this morning

The weather is expected to be dry with temperatures rising to 23C in the West Midlands and eastern Wales, while the northern, central and south eastern parts of England are predicted to see highs of 20C (68F). Pictured: Tourists and staycationers at Boscombe beach in Dorset this morning

Although today is expected to be slightly cooler, temperatures are still expected to reach 22C for sunbathers and staycationers in parts of southern and central England. Pictured: Waves crash over the sand at Boscombe beach in Dorset

Although today is expected to be slightly cooler, temperatures are still expected to reach 22C for sunbathers and staycationers in parts of southern and central England. Pictured: Waves crash over the sand at Boscombe beach in Dorset

Some regions will reach the low 20Cs while parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will reach the mid-to-high teens. Some central and western areas could see some cloud earlier in the day with mist and fog patches inland at first

Some regions will reach the low 20Cs while parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will reach the mid-to-high teens. Some central and western areas could see some cloud earlier in the day with mist and fog patches inland at first

Some regions will reach the low 20Cs while parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will reach the mid-to-high teens. Some central and western areas could see some cloud earlier in the day with mist and fog patches inland at first

Although today is expected to be slightly cooler, temperatures are still expected to reach 22C for sunbathers and staycationers in parts of southern and central England

Although today is expected to be slightly cooler, temperatures are still expected to reach 22C for sunbathers and staycationers in parts of southern and central England

The strength of UV rays could hit 6, which is considered 'high' on the Met Office's index. This increase has been caused by slightly depleted stratospheric ozone, which helps protect Earth from the rays, a Met Office forecaster said. Pictured: The sun rises over the farmers fields in Dunsden, Oxfordshire

The strength of UV rays could hit 6, which is considered ‘high’ on the Met Office’s index. This increase has been caused by slightly depleted stratospheric ozone, which helps protect Earth from the rays, a Met Office forecaster said. Pictured: The sun rises over the farmers fields in Dunsden, Oxfordshire

The mercury hit 23.4C in St James's Park in central London on Good Friday afternoon, the Met Office said, making it hottest day of the year so far - and warmer than California. Pictured: Horse riders on Wimbledon Common, south west London

The mercury hit 23.4C in St James’s Park in central London on Good Friday afternoon, the Met Office said, making it hottest day of the year so far – and warmer than California. Pictured: Horse riders on Wimbledon Common, south west London

Brits bask in Easter sunshine across the UK with temperatures set to hit 22C 3

The mercury hit 23.4C in St James's Park in central London on Good Friday afternoon, the Met Office said, making it hottest day of the year so far - and warmer than California. Pictured: Sun-seekers flock to Brighton beach on first day of Easter holidays

The mercury hit 23.4C in St James’s Park in central London on Good Friday afternoon, the Met Office said, making it hottest day of the year so far – and warmer than California. Pictured: Sun-seekers flock to Brighton beach on first day of Easter holidays

Simon Partridge, Met Office forecaster said: ‘It’s a little bit warmer more widely today than it was yesterday. We will see some rain arriving later in western parts of Northern Ireland and western Scotland but elsewhere, it will be dry and fine.

‘Most places will be sunny, we will still see cloud in the far southwest and also across parts of western Wales and into North West England at the moment, but most of that should break up through the afternoon.

‘We are expecting the weather to be warmer than Greece. Greece looks like it is going to reach 18C (64.4F) or 19C (66.2F) while Turkey is going to reach 21C (70F) on Saturday, so we’ll be warmer than Greece, Turkey and southern Italy.

‘Friday and Saturday are the warmest days of the weekend, Sunday is expected to be cooler.’

Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates urged beach-goers to ‘stick on the sunscreen’ and drink plenty of water to protect against higher-than-average UV levels.

The strength of UV rays could hit 6, which is considered ‘high’ on the Met Office’s index. This increase has been caused by slightly depleted stratospheric ozone, which helps protect Earth from the rays, he said.

Many parts of the country will see clear, sunny spells despite a cloudy start to the day in some areas.

More widely, some regions will reach the low 20Cs while parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will reach the mid-to-high teens. Some central and western areas could see some cloud earlier in the day with mist and fog patches inland at first.

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: ‘It will be a fairly cloudy start to the morning before developing into a rather fine and sunny day on the most part.

‘Areas in the central and southern England, such as the West Midlands, are most likely to reach the low twenties.

‘It will then become gradually cooler going into Sunday, with showers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, while most other areas should remain pleasant.’

More widely, some regions will reach the low twenties while parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will reach the mid-to-high teens.

Staycationers and tourists head to Boscombe beach in Dorset for the bank holiday after Britain had its warmest day of the year so far yesterday

Staycationers and tourists head to Boscombe beach in Dorset for the bank holiday after Britain had its warmest day of the year so far yesterday

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: 'It will be a fairly cloudy start to the morning before developing into a rather fine and sunny day on the most part. Areas in the central and southern England, such as the West Midlands, are most likely to reach the low twenties'

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: ‘It will be a fairly cloudy start to the morning before developing into a rather fine and sunny day on the most part. Areas in the central and southern England, such as the West Midlands, are most likely to reach the low twenties’

It comes as millions of drivers took to the roads at the start of a long weekend desperate to make the most of the Bank Holiday sunshine - with an estimated 22.48million journeys taking places over the four days

It comes as millions of drivers took to the roads at the start of a long weekend desperate to make the most of the Bank Holiday sunshine – with an estimated 22.48million journeys taking places over the four days

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: 'It will be a fairly cloudy start to the morning before developing into a rather fine and sunny day on the most part'

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: ‘It will be a fairly cloudy start to the morning before developing into a rather fine and sunny day on the most part’

Some parts, mostly central and western areas, could see some cloud earlier in the day with mist and fog patches inland at first.

Forecasters say Easter Sunday will be cooler, although probably drier than Saturday, with showers confined mainly to the north and west ahead of a wetter Monday.

The Met Office forecast describes conditions for the next week as ‘increasingly warm’ with ‘sunny spells Wednesday interspersed with cloudier periods and scattered showers. Thursday and Friday largely dry and bright. Morning mist and fog patches likely, slower to clear around coasts.’

The outlook from Friday onwards currently reads: ‘It is likely to turn dry and become generally much more settled, though perhaps rather cloudy, in the south, with lighter winds through to the end of this period. Temperatures are expected to be above average, and warm at times for the south.’

It had led bookmaker Ladbrokes to slash the odds on a record hot Easter to 5-2.

Spokesman Alex Apati said: ‘At last it looks as though Brits will have something to smile about on the weather front, with a record-breaking Easter scorcher potentially on the cards.’

Delays are expected to continue following Thursday’s getaway travel chaos – as well as passengers at airports and train stations left waiting for hours in long queues. 

Many reported hour-long waits at Manchester and Birmingham airports, while dozens of British Airways and easyJet flights were cancelled at Heathrow.

Meanwhile, those at London St Pancras said they were standing in long queues for services to Europe on Thursday morning.

Rail passengers have also been warned of further delays as Network Rail carries out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83million over the weekend.

These include the closure of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes for four days from Good Friday due to upgrades of the existing line and HS2 work.

Parts of the railway between Birmingham International station and Coventry will also be closed, as will lines around Crewe station.

Dover-Calais sailings by P&O Ferries were also still suspended as of Thursday night, which caused large queues of lorries forming on roads approaching the Port of Dover throughout the day.

On top of all the travel disruption, supplies of petrol and diesel at filling stations in some areas of the country have been at around half their usual level as the UK’s travel network comes under pressure.

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