SUNSEEKERS have been out enjoying the balmly weather today as the easing of lockdown restrictions coincided with the UK recording its second warmest March day on record.

Today also marked the hottest temperature for the month in 53-years, the Met Office said.

People flocked to the region's beaches and beauty spots as the North-East was bathed in sunshine all day.

The mercury peaked at 24.5C (76.1F) at Kew Gardens in west London, with St James’s Park in the centre of the capital also hitting highs of 24.3C (75.7F).

The figure is only slightly below the UK’s hottest ever March temperature of 25.6C (78F), recorded in 1968 at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.

However, Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said it was a “possibility” that the record could be broken tomorrow, with temperatures expected to reach around 25C (77F).

He said: “It (the temperature) is exceptionally high for the time of year.

“It’s the second warmest March day on record.

“Temperatures could be a touch higher tomorrow than they were today.

“Whether it will beat the 25.6C, I’m not so sure.

“It’s on a knife edge.

“It’s not out of the question, but I’m not expecting it to.

“It’s a possibility.”

The Northern Echo:

A busy beach at Tynemouth on Tuesday Picture: NORTH NEWS

Temperatures increased by more than 20C in less than four hours in Santon Downham, west Suffolk, earlier in the day.

The village saw the mercury climb from a frosty minus 1.6C (29.1F) at 7am to 19C (66.2F) shortly before 11am.

Temperatures are forecast to hit 24C (75.2F) to 25C (77F) on Wednesday, with the highest figures expected around London.

The Met Office earlier tweeted there would be “exceptional warmth” and “massive” temperature contrasts as the month comes to a close.

Mr Burkill said: “The warmth is going to be very widespread across the bulk of England and Wales.

“Northern Ireland and many parts of Scotland will be cooler by tomorrow, so a little bit fresher.

“For most, it will be largely sunny, with a few bits of fair-weather cloud in England and Wales.

The Northern Echo:

Enjoying the warm weather Picture: PA

“In Northern Ireland and Scotland it will be cloudier with a band of rain edging its way southwards.”

Mr Burkill said Wales recorded its hottest day of the year so far, with the mercury hitting 21.3C (70F) in Cardiff.

Northern Ireland also experienced its warmest day of the year with temperatures reaching 18C (64.4F) at Giant’s Causeway, while Scotland saw the mercury rise to 18.5C (65.3F) in Lossiemouth, Moray.