BRITAIN is set to mark the lifting of lockdown restrictions amid glorious sunshine and rising temperatures.
From next Monday long-lost households barred from seeing one another will once again be allowed to mix in back gardens.
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The stay at home order will also be withdrawn.
And the Met Office says suffering Brits will get to celebrate it with the start of a prolonged spell of warm weather.
The blast of sunshine is expected to continue well into April – in time for the reopening of hairdressers, non-essential retail and boozers.
Temperatures are expected to top the 13C (55F) average for this time of year and soar towards 20C (68F).
Jubilant forecaster Simon Partridge said: "It's been a long and bleak Winter in lockdown, with a mixture of all sorts of weather.
"But as the country takes its next step on the roadmap we're in for some long-overdue sunshine.
"People will be able to meet up with other households in back gardens and, dare I say it, enjoy a barbecue."
He added: "Temperatures will be above average for this time of year and that means people will be able to enjoy time outdoors.
"It's been a long slog but we've got a lot to look forward to."
He said milder temperatures would dominate for the first half of this week before an unsettled end with a risk of downpours.
But by Monday next week higher pressure sweeps in and will bring warmer conditions for vast swathes of the nation.
The settled Easter weather comes after a miserable Winter which has seen flooding, snow, ice and storms.
Last month saw temperatures plunge to a bone-chilling -23C as the Beast from the East returned to wreak havoc.
It was the UK's coldest night since December 1995.
But after the big freeze bookies Coral have now cut their odds to just 2-1 on next month being the warmest April since records began.
The firm also makes it odds on at 4-5 that 20C is reached between Good Friday and the Bank Holiday Monday.
Spokesman Harry Aitkenhead said: "Temperatures finally look set to begin to climb as we head through spring and the sun is on the way just in time for Easter."
Today, Brits flocked to beaches and parks today to bask in 15C heat – but snow could return at the end of the week.
The Met Office has warned that wintry showers could return by Friday as temperatures are set to drop across the country.
The UK is set to enjoy much milder temperatures in the days to come – and while the mercury will drop towards the end of the week, forecasters predict a bright start to April.
It comes as Boris Johnson prepares for the next step of unlocking the UK on March 29.
Across the country, people have been making the most of the warmth.
Temperatures reached around 15C yesterday and will stay just as mild today.
And according to forecasts from WXCharts, warmer temperatures will arrive as the month goes on, with 17C likely by March 30.
In Battersea Park, London, people enjoyed the Spring weather underneath a row of blossom trees.
By the coast in Bournemouth, Brits made the most of the sunshine and strolled along the sea while sticking to Covid rules.
And in Leeds, members of the public spent the day in the sunshine in Hyde Park.
But the warm weather is sadly not set to last – with mercury expected to plummet below freezing from Friday.
The Met Office said that there will be much colder air coming through on the weekend as the weather takes "quite a shift."
Wintry showers and freezing temperatures are expected as we get to the end of the week.
Low temperatures are set to spark snowfall across much of the country.
The latest weather charts show Scotland, northern England and Wales are braced for the worst of the wintry conditions.
At 6am on Friday, Scotland is covered by a snow risk of between 70 to 100 per cent, while Northern Ireland has up to a 90 per cent risk of snowfall, according to Netweather.
Parts of Wales and Northern England have a more moderate snow risk, of between 30 to 75 per cent.
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