Hottest day of the year so far as mercury tops 27C
The UK has recorded its hottest day of the year so far – beating a top temperature set the day before.
The mercury climbed to 27.8C (82F) near Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, as sunbathers across England enjoyed new found-freedom following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
London's St James's Park recorded a high of 26.2C (79F) on Tuesday – beating 2020's previous top of 26C (78.8F) set last month.
Balmy conditions have tested the nation's resolve in maintaining social distancing in parks and open spaces.
Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said that the vast majority of the UK would enjoy a dry, sunny day on Wednesday, with the likelihood of blue skies all day for some.
He predicted temperatures could hit as high as 28C (82.4F) in the London area.
But conditions are expected to become more unsettled on Thursday, with the risk of thunderstorms in the east and south-east of England as a band of rain pushes eastwards.
Temperatures are predicted to cool from 24C (75.2F) or 25C (77F) before the rain to a fresher 17C (62.6F) to 21C (69.8F) on Friday.
Mr Dewhurst predicted a windy start to the weekend with sunshine and showers for many, with the weather gradually turning drier from the south on Sunday and into bank holiday Monday.