BRITAIN is set to bask in balmy 23C heat as Brits look forward to the first weekend of lockdown where sunbathing has been permitted across the nation.
The next few days will see warm sunshine and clear skies as the mercury climbs into the 20s for the week ahead.
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The warm-up will begin over the weekend with some forecasters predicting temperatures to be more akin to mid-summer by next week.
An estimated 15 million day trips will be made by car in the UK over the next two days with parks and beaches likely to be busy, according to a survey by the RAC.
Met Office meteorologist John Griffiths told Sun Online that conditions were "generally going to be dry and fine".
The weekend is set to replicate Friday's conditions and remain relatively warm with highs of 19C in the south east, while north-western areas could experience more chill.
"It will gradually warm up over the next few days. Monday could see a high of 22C – possibly 23C – in the south east, Mr Griffiths explained.
"England and Wales could see temperatures exceeding 20C and as high as 23C in some spots as temperatures keep climbing throughout the week."
BBC meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker said: "The temperatures, on Sunday, given a bit of sunshine in the south of the country could exceed 20 degrees and the current indications are that as we head into next week it's going to feel like June or July."
…As we head into next week it's going to feel like June or July.
Met Office weather maps show temperatures hitting 23C in London by Tuesday, with similar sunny conditions throughout the south east.
Meteorologist Nicola Maxey said: "We are slowly seeing day-on-day warming and we are seeing temperatures pick up, certainly by Sunday in London when we'll see temperatures of 20 or 21C."
She added: "By the time we get to the middle of next week, temperatures will be in the 20s and we could even start seeing them up towards the mid-20s.
"We will be seeing the return of warmer weather and temperatures above average for this time of year."
SUNNY & DRY
Temperatures reached up to 18C in the capital today, with highs above 14C in other parts of the country.
Although some rain and showers is predicated in the north, the rest of the country should remain mainly dry over the weekend.
Saturday will see variable cloud cover and sunny spells, with more cloudy conditions set for northern areas particularly in parts of northern Scotland.
The outlook for Sunday to Tuesday will be "increasingly warm with long sunny periods", the Met Office predicts.
Similar predictions were echoed by the national weather service's long range report, which said: "Temperatures look to take an upward trend over the next two weeks with most areas becoming warm, especially in the south and east.
"Most places should remain largely dry with plenty of brightness or sunshine as well as light winds."
The conditions are a relief from the cold snap experienced this week with overnight temperatures on Thursday plummeting well below zero in some areas.
Katesbridge in Northern Ireland saw its lowest temperature ever recorded in May on Thursday morning at minus 6.1C, The Met Office reported.
The change in temperature will be a good excuse for Brits to make the most of unlimited exercise and sunbathing opportunities in public parks and beaches.
The UK has seen some great weather in the past few weeks, despite lockdown restrictions limiting Brits to leaving the house for essentials only.
And with many beauty spots reopening across the country, people will be heading to beaches and natural parks to enjoy the sunshine on next week's Bank Holiday weekend.
Cooped-up Brits already began escaping the lockdown today as they flocked to parks and beaches across England.
It comes as Boris Johnson gave the green light for day-trips in cars this week, with many expected to hit the road over the weekend.
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Under new Government guidelines, Brits can now travel anywhere in England by car with members of their own household – so long as they return on the same day.
They must also ensure they keep 2m apart from others at all times.
According to the Met Office's long range weather forecast, sunny weather could remain right up until June 11.
A spokesperson said: "Although with low confidence, this period looks to stay largely dry and fine with bright or sunny spells for many."
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