BRITS hit the beach from 7am – as millions bask in temperatures warmer than the Bahamas today.
The mercury will soar to 29C on what is predicted to be the hottest day of the year as a blowtorch straight from the Azores hits UK shores.
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And sun-worshippers who have faced weeks of miserable weather aren’t wasting a moment.
In Dorset, families began setting up on the sand early this morning in a bid to beat the crowds.
By 7am, many had bagged their spot on the water’s edge at Branksome Chine in Poole.
And hardy friends in Tynemouth, North Tyneside went one better.
The women were seen plunging into the surf at sunrise to paddleboard.
Met Office forecasters say this weekend will be the warmest of the year so far, with the mercury rising to around 32C tomorrow.
AZORES BLOWTORCH BLASTS BRITAIN
London and the South East can expect clear skies and highs of 29C on Saturday with the mercury climbing to between 31C and 32C on Sunday.
And, for a change, the fabulous weather is being shared across the country.
The North Midlands and South Yorkshire will be the hottest places today – before the warmth moves south tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Monday is expected to see the highest temperatures shift to the West Country.
June 14 is currently the hottest day of 2021, with 29.7C recorded in Teddington, south-west London.
Travel chaos is expected as millions head for the beach today.
And in Bournemouth – where a major incident was declared in June 2020 after tens of thousands of people crammed onto the beach – cops are bracing for a tough weekend.
The force warned: “A number of our staff have tested positive for Covid or are self-isolating, and 101 call waiting times will be longer this weekend.
“We expect it to be busy and will prioritise 999 calls.”
Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said the weather may take people by surprise “because so far this summer has not been that great”.
“Temperatures have generally been below average for quite a while – it’s the difference in temperature in such a short space of time that is the most noticeable,” he said.
“But it will affect most of the UK and that is a little bit more unusual – Scotland and Northern Ireland just got their warmest day of the year.
“Northern Ireland might get closer to its highest-ever temperature, which to be fair is only just above 30C.”
Bookies have slashed the odds on this month being the hottest July on record.
Ladbrokes have cut odds from 6/4 to just 5/4.
Spokesman Alex Apati said: “It’s time to get the beach towels and sun cream out, with a record-breaking few days potentially on the cards.”
But health chiefs have warned Brits to stay safe during the heatwave.
An alert is in place until Tuesday, with Public Health England bosses urging sunseekers to drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
And the UK’s longed-for ‘freedom day’ will be a gorgeous one as Covid restrictions finally lift.
Social distancing will come to an end, while clubs reopen at midnight tomorrow and propping up the bar with friends makes a return.
Meanwhile, holidays without quarantine will return for double-jabbed Brits.
However, sunshine breaks are in chaos as fully vaccinated travellers from France are told they have to self-isolate – despite the country remaining on the amber list.
Meanwhile Ibiza, Menorca and Majorca have been moved to the amber list – forcing holidaymakers to race for tests and flights in a bid to get home on time.
It means this weekend’s stunning weather will be all the more welcome for Brits desperate to enjoy a break.