According to the latest weather forecasts, this bank holiday weekend the UK is set to be hotter than the Sahara! The Met Office forecast that hot air from France and Spain will bring temperatures up to 25C on Thursday, and 30C on Friday, with the same likely for the weekend; this means that the UK will actually be hotter than Lanzarote. Beaches and parks will likely be packed, and barbecues will be enjoyed in many gardens across the country. If you haven't made plans yet, here are a few ideas on how to make the most of the heatwave, as well as some tips on staying safe in the sun.
We Brits notoriously get carried away when we get a spell of good weather - and because we're not on holiday (and this is, after all, England) we're just not in the mindset of using sun protection. Try to be sensible with the amount of exposure you get - especially between 11am-3pm when the sun is at its strongest. A minimum SPF factor of 15 is advised by the NHS, along with at least four star UVA protection. Make sure your suncream is still in date, too: if it's more than a couple of years old, replace it. Finally, if you do get a bit scorched, soothe your skin with a sponge and cold water before generously applying After Sun or calamine lotion. Painkillers like paracetamol will also help to reduce any inflammation caused by sunburn.
Make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses and a decent sunhat too - burning your scalp is really easy to do. Cover up sensitive areas like shoulders during the hottest part of the day - and don't forget about your ears and neck! There are loads of pretty cover ups available to choose from, as well as some very cute accessories that will ensure your kids are well protected.
It's wonderful to have an excuse to head for the seaside. We're lucky to be able to choose from some really gorgeous beaches in the UK: Holkham Bay in Norfolk was voted the best beach in Britain, and is a great choice for dog walkers. Dorset has some lovely pebble beaches like Lulworth Cove, and in Cornwall you'll find absolute stunners like the very photographed Kynance Cove.
Walk in the park
If the park is more your scene, why not pack up a picnic and head to your local? For London dwellers, amble on down to the Serpentine in Hyde Park, where you can pass an afternoon pedal boating, ice cream in hand. For more of an adventure, the UK has an abundance of scenic National Parks you can trek through - Lake District National Park is the largest in the country and a stunning spot to catch some rays.
Make the most of any unusually hot days by enjoying a bit of outdoor dining - when we're stuck indoors with the central heating on for much of the year a meal outside feels like a luxury. If you have a garden invest in some pretty furniture and tableware, add a few tealights and you're good to go.
On that note, a bout of hot weather is also a great opportunity to get the barbecue out. Don't write off the barbecue as just a meat eater's gadget - there are loads of ways vegetarians can get involved too. Either way, the whole joy is getting friends and family together for a drink and catch up.