Temperatures up to 63F forecast ahead of lockdown easing

Anyone for a picnic? Sunny weather with temperatures of up to 63F forecast for the end of March – just in time for the easing of lockdown restrictions and the return of outdoor gatherings

  • Temperatures are expected to climb over the next few days, promising sunny weather as lockdown eases
  • Britons have been preparing for March 29, with shoppers queuing to stock up on plants and gardening tools 
  • UK is set to enjoy blast of warm weather this week, with temperatures more than doubling in some areas 
  • On March 29, restrictions will ease for outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two separate households

Temperatures are set to rise as we head towards Easter with sunny days forecast in time for the easing of lockdown restrictions. 

Over the weekend, temperatures hit 59F in some parts of the UK with forecasters predicting they could reach 61F in days to come before reaching 63F by the end of the month.  

The sunny weather will come just in time for Britons to enjoy picnics and barbecues with friends as lockdown restrictions ease on March 29, allowing outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two separate households.

Yesterday, lockdown-weary Britons rushed to B&Q to buy garden furniture ahead of the return of the Rule of Six, while others stretched their legs around south London on the second day of Spring. 

Shoppers queued outside a B&Q superstore in Berkshire as analysts record a huge surge in online searches for hedge trimmers (115 per cent), patio cleaner (190 per cent) and fence paint (138 per cent). 

Becky Mitchell of the Met Office said: “It’ll remain fairly dry across much of the UK over the next two days. There are sunny spells around, particularly across much of England and Wales. In the best of the sunshine, it’ll be a little bit above average of this time of year.

Jack Peacock, two plays with two baby lambs at Coombes Farm in West Sussex yesterday on a warm and sunny day for much of the UK

Volunteer gardener Cyril Powell tends to the daffodil display at Rococo Gardens in Painswick, Gloucestershire yesterday

Becks Swain, 23, takes the RBW EV Roadster for a test drive near Lichfield, Staffordshire to enjoy yesterday’s sunny weather

The UK is set to enjoy a blast of warm weather during the week, with temperatures more than doubling in parts of the country ahead of the easing of coronavirus restrictions as lockdown fatigue continues to spread

“However, going ahead, it’ll be a bit wetter across parts of the country, and a band of rain across Scotland and Northern Ireland will gradually move further south.”

Though there’ll be more blustery weather next weekend, the sunnier days will return in the first weeks of April.  

Looking ahead to the Easter bank holiday weekend, Ms Mitchell said: “Temperatures will be around average and as we go into the weekend, the weather looks settled.

“That means high pressure should take charge, which should result in dry weather for most of the UK that weekend.

“We should get some sunshine, and it’ll feel quite pleasant, but not exceptionally warm.’

Families descended on Wimbledon Common yesterday morning, while friends embraced each other and queued for food and drinks in Borough Market near London Bridge at lunchtime. 

Groups of Londoners were photographed exercising in Richmond Park, while crowds gathered on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset to enjoy the first of the warmer weather. 

People are getting ready for an easing of coronavirus restrictions, with tech firm NearSt recording rising demand for patio furniture, pressure washers, weed killer, shears, garden rakes and secateurs.

With schools already open, the next stage of loosening is March 29, when the formal Stay at Home edict is finally dropped in favour of Stay Local and the Rule of Six makes a comeback. 

It will be extended to allow two households to gather, enabling relatives to meet properly for the first time in months around the East Bank Holiday weekend as temperatures hit double figures. 

Fatigue with the cycle of coronavirus shutdowns is growing, with protesters running riot in Hyde Park yesterday while police chiefs warn enforcing lockdown laws has become a ‘no-win’ situation. 

Lockdown-weary Britons rushed to a B&Q superstore in Berkshire to buy garden furniture ahead of the shutdown easing

A female shopper is seen leaving the B&Q superstore in Berkshire to buy garden furniture

Young people descended onto Borough Market, central London to get some fresh air as cases continue to fall

Londoners rushed to Borough Market to grab food and drinks as the weather turns starts to turn milder

People walking outside in Wimbledon, south London to enjoy the sunshine as lockdown fatigue grows

Women sitting on a bench talking while drinking coffee in Wimbledon, south London amid the pandemic

Members of the public enjoy the spring sunshine in Richmond Park, South West London as forecasters predict more sunshine 

Members of the public enjoy the spring sunshine in Richmond Park, South West London as forecasters predict more sunshine 

People enjoying the warm Dorset sunshine as they exercise on the seafront in Bournemouth

Jack, aged 6, and his sister Mia, aged 9, playing among the daffodils in bloom, in Hampden wood, Essex on a sunny day

Cyclists going through the village of Thriplow in Cambridgeshire where they hold the annual daffodil festival. This year, as last year, the festival, marking the first day of spring, was canceled due to Covid-19

People enjoying the warm Dorset sunshine as they exercise on the seafront in Bournemouth

A couple seen walking through the village of Thriplow in Cambridgeshire where they hold the annual daffodil festival

A female photographer seen taking photos of daffodils at the annual festival in Thriplow, Cambridgeshire

Mute swans seen in St James’s Park in London after the first day of Spring, in mild 13C (55F) weather

Positive Covid tests fell 7.5 per cent over the past seven days to 5,587 a day; hospital admissions fell 23 per cent to 496 and deaths dropped by 36.9 per cent to 96, the first Saturday with under 100 fatalities since October

With schools already open, the next stage of loosening is March 29, when the formal Stay at Home edict is finally dropped in favour of ‘Stay Local’, and the Rule of Six makes a comeback. It will be extended to allow two households to gather

Lockdown police warn pubs they CANNOT serve punters in outside pods or igloos on April 12 as landlords blast ‘bonkers’ and ‘illogical’ move

Lockdown police have warned pubs and restaurants they cannot serve punters in outside pods or igloos when they reopen on April 12.

Though ministers are tearing up red tape so pubs can put up gazebos and outside seating, officers have written to business owners, warning them that pods still fall foul of strict lockdown laws. 

Furious landlords slammed the ‘bonkers’ and ‘illogical’ move, revealing that they have wasted thousands of pounds on the seating areas.

East Hertfordshire Police force has written to local publicans warning them that if they plan to open ‘tents marquees pods or sheds’ and the structure is ‘substantially enclosed’ they must wait until May.

Lucy Bonner, who runs the Brewery Tap in Ferneux Pelham in Hertfordshire and has forked out thousands of pounds for pods, hit out at the decision.

She told the Sun: ‘There is no exemption for single households – just a blanket ban that we cannot use our pods. It is just bonkers, illogical and doesn’t make sense.’

March 29 will also see the reopening of tennis courts and golf courses and the return of grassroots football. But shops, hairdressers and pubs must remain closed until April 12 at the earliest – the same time gyms can get back up and running – regardless of mounting fears about the economic meltdown.  

Campsites and holiday lets can reopen for single households from April 12 – but international travel is completely off the cards until at least May 17, in a blow to the aviation sector. Social distancing rules will stay in force until June 21 at the minimum, with a government review to decide their future after that.   

Sports can start to return from May 17, although venues will need to work on reduced capacities. Up to 30 people can go to weddings from the same date, but are stuck at that number until the next phase of the roadmap.

Only at June 21 will all legal limits on social contact go, and the remaining elements of the hospitality sector be allowed to open. The Prime Minister stressed that he is being driven by ‘data not dates’ and the timeline is not guaranteed.

With pubs and restaurants not opening until April 12, the need for outdoor tables soared by 220 per cent, fire pits 89 per cent and picnic hampers 24 per cent. Doubling up as a way to store ice to cool beer and soft drinks as well as tidy up, searches for wheel barrows locally also rose by 93 per cent.

NearSt co-founder Nick Brackenbury said: ‘Lockdown three has tested the patience and motivation of many of us. But as we look forward to hosting garden get-togethers again, this has put a much needed spring in our step. No wonder Britons have been spurred on to spruce up our patios ahead of the easing of lockdown.

‘The clamour for outdoor tables – despite pubs welcoming people back in April – highlights our ‘Plan B’ in case pubs are all booked – so we can recreate it at home instead.’

Many online retailers selling garden furniture are already showing lengthy waits to get hold of the coveted outdoor goods. Mr Brackenbury added: ‘As such millions of shoppers have evolved their online search habits. 

‘People are Googling the same items ‘near me’ to check on stock of local stores – which is providing a welcome boost for nearby high streets.’

It comes as police chiefs warn that enforcing lockdown laws is a ‘no-win’ situation for officers, with Police Federation chairman John Apter saying officers have been battling with the challenge of keeping up with ‘ever-changing Covid rules and legislation’ and that as a result have been ‘abused, assaulted and vilified far too often’ during the pandemic.  

Ben Wallace today dismissed growing calls from Tory MPs to speed up the nation’s exit from lockdown as he said it would be wrong to ‘throw away’ progress in ‘the final mile’. 

The Defence Secretary said the country has ‘made incredible sacrifices over the last year’ and now is the time to ‘buckle down’. 

The Government is facing a Conservative backbench revolt over Boris Johnson’s roadmap, with angry MPs arguing the approach is based on ‘dates, not data’.  

Tory rebels have pointed to the fact that more than 26million people in the UK have now received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine as they said life should be able to ‘get back to normal more quickly’. 

They said there is now ‘increasingly positive data on deaths and hospital admissions’ but despite this the Government ‘appears almost entirely focused on dates’ already set out by the Prime Minister.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Apter said the scenes at last weekend’s Clapham Common vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard had shown the difficulties of policing during the pandemic. The police response had attracted considerable media and political comment, ‘some of it very hard, often unfair’, he added.

Mr Apter said police had faced similar criticism for their handling of Black Lives Matter or anti-lockdown protests, with officers ‘damned by some when they intervene, and damned by others when they do not’.

He thanked the majority of the public for understanding the difficulties police faced in upholding the laws determined by Government during the pandemic, while citing Police Federation research that showed only one in 10 officers thought police powers introduced to manage the Covid-19 crisis were clear.

‘We have repeatedly called on the English and Welsh governments to stop issuing mixed messages to avoid further confusion when lockdown measures are lifted,’ Mr Apter wrote.

‘We warned the Prime Minister not to repeat the lack of clarity over last year’s pandemic measures before he announced his roadmap out of lockdown.’

Mr Apter added ‘fair-minded, reasonable members of the public – and I know that is the majority – will agree my colleagues have faced an almost impossible task’ where ‘policing the lockdown has become a no-win situation for front-line police officers who are trying to do their best’.

‘Despite the avalanche of unfair criticism my colleagues have faced this week, they will continue to be the first to arrive whenever these same critics call us for help,’ he said.

The police crackdown on lockdown revellers continues, with officers breaking up a bonfire party complete with what appeared to be a sex doll in the woods at Leicester’s Aylestone Meadows last night.

Officers from the South Leicester neighbourhood policing team had been patrolling woods at the popular nature reserve yesterday when they came across the illegal gathering.

A photo taken by the beat team shows at least eight people assembled around a small campfire in breach of coronavirus lockdown rules. It shows several individuals placing sticks onto the fire, and what looks like a blow up sex doll hanging from one of the trees. 

The message read: ‘I never thought having an evening foot patrol on Aylestone Meadows I would discover this in the woods.’ It continues: ‘This was quickly stopped and everyone told to go home.’

The officer added: ‘Please, we have a part to play in helping the community follow the rules.’ It is not known whether any of the individuals the officers encountered were fined for breaking Covid-19 restrictions. 

The law governing the third national lockdown in England, which is still in place, states that ‘you much not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a reasonable excuse’ that includes work, exercise or essential shopping.

Fixed penalty notices of £200 have been routinely handed by the police to people found to be breaking the rules, with someone caught committing further offences liable to a penalty of up to £6,400.

It it not known if any of the individuals encountered at the campfire gathering in Aylestone Meadows was actually fined, or if any follow-up action will be taken by the police. 

Members of the public enjoy the spring sunshine in Richmond Park, South West London as forecasters predict more sunshine

Members of the public enjoy the spring sunshine in Richmond Park, South West London as forecasters predict more sunshine

People enjoying the warm Dorset sunshine as they exercise on the seafront in Bournemouth

People enjoying the warm Dorset sunshine as they exercise on the seafront in Bournemouth

People enjoying the warm Dorset sunshine as they exercise on the seafront in Bournemouth

The police crackdown on lockdown revellers continues, with officers breaking up a bonfire party complete with what appeared to be a sex doll in the woods at Leicester’s Aylestone Meadows last night

Hundreds of protesters waving signs marched through central London after meeting earlier in the afternoon in Hyde Park

The thuggery in Hyde Park saw members of the public get up and leave, with parents hurriedly carrying their small children

Police officers detain a demonstrator in Hyde Park, London, during a protest against lockdown yesterday

Laurence Fox is seen attending a rally in Hyde Park London. The actor is fighting to become the next mayor of London

Riot police were out in force on the streets of the capital last night as pockets of protesters continued to gather

It follows scenes of anarchy and violence yesterday, with police and anti-lockdown protesters clashing in Hyde Park yesterday as officers wielding batons steadily backed off while projectiles rained down on them before gathering in number and charging back at the hooligans. 

The ugly scenes came after thousands of lockdown-sceptics, including actor Laurence Fox and activist Piers Corbyn, rallied in the heart of the capital to protest the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

It coincided with similar protests in European states such as Germany, Italy and Austria, which are bracing for a third wave of the virus. 

Protesters waving placards reading ‘stop destroying our kids’ lives’ marched down Oxford Street and blocked off Park Lane. Riot police were still out in force on the streets of the capital tonight as pockets of protesters continued to gather.

Although the march was largely believed to be peaceful – albeit brazenly breaking lockdown, which bans large gatherings – police confirmed they have so far made 33 arrests.  

Britain’s police has been thrust into the spotlight recently in the wake of the controversial handling of Sarah Everard’s vigil, where women were pinned down and arrested at Clapham Common.  

The Government’s Policing Bill, which passed its first vote in the Commons this week and would hand officers more powers to deal with demonstrations, has also caused anger. Demonstrations in London, Manchester and Brighton saw activists hold banners urging the ministers to ‘kill the bill’.  

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