Public heeds Government advice on avoiding beaches despite warm weather

The public has appeared to heed Government advice on avoiding beaches and parks despite the UK experiencing its warmest day of the year so far.

Photographs taken on Saturday show only small numbers of people visiting what are normally popular destinations across England as temperatures peaked at 25.5C.

It came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Easter weekend would be a "test of the nation's resolve" as he warned the public to "stay at home" amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Met Office said St James's Park in central London recorded the highest temperature of the day, followed by Yeovilton in Somerset, which saw the mercury rise to 25.2C.

Visitors to London's newly reopened Victoria Park were played recorded messages urging them to follow social distancing measures, while mounted police and wardens patrolled the area.

Tower Hamlets council came under intense criticism three weekends ago after pictures showed a local market in the park bustling with people despite despite Government guidance.

It prompted the park to shut for a fortnight, before reopening on Saturday with new restrictions including a ban on picnics and sunbathing.

Coronavirus - Sat Apr 11, 2020
Coronavirus - Sat Apr 11, 2020

Elsewhere, photographs show an almost empty beach at the popular seaside town of Scarborough in North Yorkshire.

An image of the same spot taken during the Easter weekend of 2019 shows the beach packed with members of the public.

In a tweet, North Yorkshire Police said: "We're really pleased that most of our roads, towns, beaches & beauty spots were mainly quiet today so a big thank you to everyone in North Yorkshire who stayed at home."

Coronavirus - Sat Apr 11, 2020
Coronavirus - Sat Apr 11, 2020

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council thanked the public for staying at home and avoiding its beaches.

The council said in a tweet: "Normally, on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend, many of us would be flocking to the beach. Instead our beaches are free from crowds. Thank you for staying at home "

Other police forces issued messages on social media throughout the day reminding people to stay at home despite the good weather.

Coronavirus - Sat Apr 11, 2020
Coronavirus - Sat Apr 11, 2020

Cumbria Police tweeted: "The good weather this Bank Holiday can be enjoyed from your front and back gardens – but please take care not to mix with other households. You could be putting your family and others at risk."

Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst said the warm weather is likely to continue into Sunday, with temperatures peaking at around 25C in the capital.

While most of the day will be clear and sunny, he said there is a risk of showers across parts of East Anglia and the Midlands during the afternoon.

Coronavirus - Sat Apr 11, 2020
Coronavirus - Sat Apr 11, 2020

Speaking at the daily press conference about the importance of keeping to the lockdown rules on Friday, Mr Hancock said: "This Easter will be another test of the nation's resolve. It's a time of year when people normally come together.

"But however warm the weather, however tempting your local beach or park, we need everyone to stay at home."