United Kingdom

UK Weather: Drinkers pack beer gardens in heatwave

Britons took to the nation's pubs and bars this evening to enjoy a drink after a day of scorching weather - as critics accused beach-goers of 'undoing the hard work of lockdown'.

Revellers crowded into bars and poured out into the streets, with many foregoing facemasks and ignoring social distancing measures into the early hours.

Thousands of sun-seekers flocked to Britain's beaches despite Government warnings on what was the UK's hottest August day since 2003.

Lines of sunbathers and parasols filled the beaches in Dorset and Brighton as others picnicked and cooled off on the banks of the River Lea in east London.

Elsewhere in London, revellers packed Borough Market and Soho, nursing iced drinks to cool off as they flouted distancing guidelines to enjoy conversations in the street. 

The capital was hit by high temperatures throughout the day, with the mercury in Heathrow and Kew Gardens rising to a dramatic 97.5F (36.4C).

Drinkers looked a little worse for wear in Leicester this evening, as they enjoyed the end of a strict local lockdown in the city. One man took a short nap on a bench as others enjoyed chatting in groups. 

Many appeared unbothered by fears of coronavirus as crowds mixed without masks - despite rising cases in the UK driving fears of a second wave.

The hot weather should continue over the next couple of days, with the RAC expecting the busiest weekend of the year, before heavy rain and thunderstorms reach parts of the country next week.

It comes after Preston's director of public health warned mixing in pubs was to blame for the area being put back into lockdown.  

Two police officers watch on as people enjoying the night pack onto the street and into bars in St Mary Street in Cardiff on Friday night

Women queue up outside Be at One in Birmingham city centre as the party-goers enjoyed the hot temperatures on their Friday night out

Large groups sit at tables outside bars to enjoy a night out in St Mary Street, Cardiff, after the hottest day of the year on Friday

Most appeared unworried by coronavirus fears, despite cases in the UK rising steadily in the last month amid fears of a second wave

St Mary Street in Cardiff was heaving, with drinkers not even wearing face masks as they thronged close together in the streets and bars

A queue of girls, one celebrating her 18th birthday, outside Dirty Martini bar on Bennetts Hill in Birmingham city centre as revellers enjoy the hot weather on Friday night

A group of girls from Stourbridge, West Midlands, pose for a picture on New Street in Birmingham city centre as they start their night out to celebrate a birthday

Girls walk across Ludgate Hill in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter as they start their night out during the hottest day of 17 years

People enjoying a night out in St Mary Street, Cardiff on Friday night, after the hottest day of the year. The pair laughed as they made their way between venues

Two women enjoying drinks in Soho, London this evening. Bars, beer gardens and terraces were filled in the capital with drinkers this evening

Social distancing measures appeared to be ignored in Soho this evening, as drinkers thronged close together to cool off after a scorching day

Facemasks were nowhere to be seen as drinkers came together this evening, with fears the scenes could be repeated over the weekend

People enjoying a drink in Borough Market near London Bridge today after a day of scorching hot temperatures hit the capital

What social distancing? Friends crouch close together in London's Borough Market this evening as they cool off after a hot day

Most appeared to be mask-less as they mixed close together in beer gardens and on terraces to cool off after a day of hot weather

People gathered in Soho, nursing drinks as they flouted distancing guidelines to enjoy a conversation in the street

Social distancing guidelines were barely maintained as Britons enjoyed a drink in the capital, with fears the scenes could be repeated over the weekend

Drinkers in Soho throng close together, ignoring social distancing measures in London this evening as they soak up the nice weather 

Friday was the UK's hottest August day since 2003, with sun-lovers flocking to beaches during the day, despite desperate government warnings to stay away

Pubs, beaches and parks are all expected to be filled with people mixing in the sun, despite fears that the virus is still spreading

One reveller enjoyed the end of Leicester's lockdown a little too much. He was snapped taking a nap on some benches after a night out on Friday

Party-goers stood in the street without observing social distancing rules amid a spike in coronavirus cases 

Diners enjoyed a few drinking during a night out in Leicester on Friday. It comes as pubs and restaurants in the city reopened this weekend

Social distancing appeared to go unnoticed as these revellers sat closely together to enjoy a few drinks on Friday night

Lines of sunbathers and parasols filled the beaches in Dorset and Brighton as others picnicked and cooled off on the banks of the River Lea in east London. Pictured, Bournemouth

A group stood closely together in the centre of Leicester as they enjoyed a night out together on Friday after temperatures soared to the mid 90s

A couple strolled arm in arm through a city centre as one of the hottest days of the year so far came to a close

Temperatures will remain high into the 30s across the south of England on Saturday with more sunshine on Sunday before clouds roll in on Monday with the potential for storms later in the week

Speaking at a media briefing after the announcement the city had been designated an 'area of intervention' on Friday, director of Public Health for Lancashire Sakthi Karunanithi said almost half of the cases reported were among people aged 30 and younger.

Health chiefs warned the measures for the Lancashire city - home to 140,000 people - will be kept under review but threatened tougher action if residents don't abide by the rules.

All residents will be banned from mixing with any other households indoors or in a garden from midnight, in a last-ditch attempt to curb soaring rates of coronavirus. They will also be urged to avoid meeting with friends in any setting, such as pubs and restaurants.

However, the scorching heatwave suggests that Britain could face a weekend of people flouting social distancing measures as they visit beaches and pubs. 

On Friday, angry locals in Bournemouth hit out at tourists 'heading here with cars full of rubbish to dump on our beaches' and slammed 'careless idiots' putting pressure on the emergency services. Others urged people to 'avoid the beaches' and warned of 'gridlock on the roads' as daytrippers flocked to seasides along the south coast.  

The beach at Brighton was packed with sun-goers as many beaches across the south filled to capacity and local leaders asked visitors to stay away

Parts of England are enjoying a three-day heatwave with temperatures set to reach record breaking levels in parts of the South East

A speedboat out on the sea just before sunset on one of the hottest days of the year so far in Heacham, Norfolk this evening

RNLI Lifeguards look out over the beach as people enjoy the hot weather at Bournemouth beach in Dorset this afternoon

A man jumps from the jetty into the sea in Brighton, on the south coast of England, as the temperature rose

People enjoy the hot weather on the banks of the River Lea in east London, where the mercury has hit the highest since 2003

A parks police car patrols by sunbathers on Hampstead Heath as the temperature soars in London

People enjoy the hot weather on a packed Bournemouth beach in Dorset at about 3pm this afternoon

The very hot conditions for Britain have been caused by air warming up over France before being drawn north

In Heathrow and Kew Gardens the hottest August day since 2003 was recorded as temperatures reached 97.5F (36.4C).

Beaches across the south coast were already packed by mid-morning on Friday, further stoking fears among police and local councils that tourists will ignore coronavirus social distancing rules and cram onto packed seafronts.

The scenes could be repeated on Saturday and Sunday, with the scorching weather set to continue.  

Furious critics took to social media to slam beach-goers and accuse them of 'undoing the hard work of lockdown'.

One wrote: 'Here they are again, all the idiots on Brighton beach putting all of us at risk, they just keep on coming.'

A second said: 'Government: 'Stay away from beaches today. It's hot, but no amount of heat is surely enough to risk your health and the health of loved ones by breaking social distancing rules, and undoing all the hard work of the last 4 months of lockdown.'

While a third added: 'My worst nightmare, even before COVID. Too many people. We will never get over this virus if people are this stupid. Just because it's hot doesn't mean you should all pack a beach & not socially distance.'

Unlike last Friday, when cloud and drizzle followed, this time the heatwave is here to stay until at least Tuesday. The mercury hit 96.4F (35.8C) at Kew Gardens in West London at 2pm today, and is set to soar further.

Unlike last Friday, when cloud and drizzle followed, this time the heatwave is here to stay and will last until at least Tuesday

The capital basked in sunshine on Friday. In Heathrow and Kew Gardens the hottest August day since 2003 was recorded as temperatures reached 97.5F (36.4C)

Friends standing close together in Soho, London, flouting social distancing measures as they mix in the warm evening weather

Most even appeared to be going without a mask, despite standing closer than a metre to  each other as they enjoyed a drink

People enjoy a drink this afternoon at Borough Market near London Bridge as hot temperatures and warm weather hit the capital

Motorists heading through Hampshire faced 15 miles of queues, with delays on the A31, M27 and M3 towards the coast. Visitors to the South West were told to avoid busy beaches amid a rush to Cornwall, with the RNLI saying: 'If you arrive at the beach and it is simply too crowded, consider moving on and spending your day elsewhere.' 

Travel chaos is expected this weekend as The AA said it anticipates up to 10% more journeys from Friday afternoon.

It warned drivers to expect queues building near coastal locations, particularly in popular seaside destinations in south-west England, Blackpool, the Welsh coast and Norfolk.

Ben Sheridan, from The AA, said: 'Motorways, coastal routes and roads to ferry crossings are likely to be busy.

'Many drivers will be hitting the road early to beat the heat, while others will stay home to stay cool.'

RAC Breakdown said it is expecting this weekend to be the busiest of the year for the company, as traffic jams and long delays look 'inevitable'.

Drivers are being urged to check the oil and coolant levels in their vehicles to avoid breakdowns in the sweltering heat, as well as making sure tyres are pumped up to the correct pressures and have good tread.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: 'It's also important to have plenty of water and food in case drivers find themselves stuck for long periods.

'We'd also remind people never to leave young children or animals in parked cars in high temperatures.'

Unlike last Friday's scorching day, this week the heatwave is set to continue into the weekend, raising fears of a spread in virus cases

The capital was hit by high temperatures throughout the day, with Heathrow and Kew Gardens hitting 97.5F (36.4C) 

RAC Breakdown said it is expecting this weekend to be the busiest of the year for the company, as Britons try to take full advantage of the scorching weather

On Friday, angry locals in Bournemouth hit out at tourists 'heading here with cars full of rubbish to dump on our beaches', with the scenes repeated in beer gardens in London in the evening

It comes after Preston's director of public health warned that mixing in pubs is to blame for the area being put back into lockdown

The heatwave is set to continue over the weekend, with fears the high temperatures could see Britons flocking to beaches and bars

Delays and cancellations are likely for rail passengers, as high temperatures can damage overhead wires and lead to speed restrictions due to fears of tracks buckling. 

HM Coastguard warned people to stay safe on the beach after rescue teams responded to 70 callouts across the UK by midday today - 'above average for this time of year', one week after its busiest day for more than four years. 

Bournemouth council warned shortly after noon that 20 out of its 24 beaches along the Dorset coast were already categorised as 'avoid, social distancing not possible'. All car parks in Sandbanks were full and shut by 11am, while police also warned tourists of a 'long queue' for the ferry - and traffic in the Christchurch area faced long delays. 

The Camber Sands car park in East Sussex was full by midday with drivers queuing since before 8am, while police warned they will be monitoring the area amid claims of an illegal 'beach cook out' planned for this weekend. 

The very hot conditions, which have been caused by air warming up over France before being drawn north, have led to health warnings. 

Britain has never recorded two days with temperatures over 99F (37C) in the same year since records began.

Parts of the South of England are even expected to be hotter than the Caribbean, with highs of 91F (33C) in Jamaica and 84F (29C) Barbados.

The Met Office has also issued a level-three heat health alert which warns Britons to look out for the elderly, vulnerable and young children. 

There are also fears tourists flocking to coastal hotspots will ignore social distancing rules and cram on to packed seafronts in scenes similar to last weekend - risking further spread of coronavirus. 

The Met Office warned people in South East England to close curtains on rooms facing the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler, drink plenty of fluids, avoid excess alcohol, dress appropriately and 'slow down when it is hot'.   

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