UK weather: Sun finally comes out as parts of Britain experience hottest day for six months

Temperatures measured at peak of 20.5C in Kent as public head for the beaches

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The Independent Online

Many parts of the country enjoyed their warmest day of the year this weekend as temperatures above 20C were recorded for the first time in nearly six months.

The finest of the weather was felt by East Anglia and the East Midlands, while a peak of 20.5C was measured at 2.30pm in Gravesend, Kent.

With forecasters predicting an unseasonably warm weekend, some British forecasters reported that they felt obliged to stock early-riped strawberries, and the retailer John Lewis reported an 11 per cent increase in barbecue sales compared to this time last year.

Sunday traffic boomed on the roads down to Brighton and other seaside resorts, while across most other parts of England there was persistent warmth of around 18C.

Earlier, Met Office meteorologist Jenny Rourke said to spare a thought for some parts of the UK which missed out on the sun.

“There's a good swathe of northern England and western Wales where it is cloudy, and temperatures are around 12C to 14C,” she said. “Parts of north-west Scotland and Northern Ireland have had some patchy rain but it's not been very significant.”

Cars queue on the A23 near Brighton, East Sussex, as visitors to the city take advantage of the warm weather (PA)

Forecaster Kirk Waite added that these wetter conditions would be moving across the country, meaning the warmth won’t be staying around for long.

“Unfortunately it might just be one nice day followed by less pleasant days, particularly for those in the east of England who will struggle to see double figures on Monday,” Mr Waite said.

“London will be reasonably warm tomorrow around 14C to 15C with a cloudier feel during the day. But it will be a dry week, with any rain coming towards the end of the week and restricted to the far north of the country.”

In 2013, the 20C mark was not passed until 14 April, according to weather service provider MeteoGroup. The 20C landmark was last reached on 8 October last year.

Crowds on the beach in Brighton, East Sussex, as record temperatures greeted many Britons this morning (PA)

The sunnier temperatures are welcome relief after the Met Office declared that Britain had had the wettest winter on record.

It came as the Government announced councils are to receive an additional £140 million to fix roads damaged by the severe floods and storms.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said a fund specifically targeting the worst-hit areas would be raised by £36.5 million to £80 million.

All councils will also share in a £103.5 million boost to the money available for fixing potholes and other dangers facing drivers.

Town hall chiefs welcomed the extra cash but said it was unlikely to cover the full cost of the clear-up. Mike Jones, chair of the Local Government Association's environment and housing board, said: “We do not yet know what the full bill for the cost of this winter's devastating floods will be, but we expect it to be more than £140 million.

“Nevertheless, we are pleased the Government has recognised the need to provide funding for these extensive and costly repairs.”

Additional reporting by PA