BRITS hit the beach from 7am today – as temperatures soar to 29C on what is predicted to be the hottest day of the year.
A blowtorch straight from the Azores has hit the UK as summer finally arrives.
🔵 Read our UK weather live blog for the latest forecasts
And sun-worshippers who have faced weeks of miserable weather aren't wasting a moment.
In Dorset, families began setting up on the sand early this morning in a bid to beat the crowds.
By 7am, many had bagged their spot on the water's edge at Branksome Chine in Poole.
And hardy friends in Tynemouth, North Tyneside went one better.
The women were seen plunging into the surf at sunrise to paddleboard.
Met Office forecasters say this weekend will be the warmest of the year so far, with the mercury rising to around 30C.
June 14 is currently the hottest day of 2021, with 29.7C recorded in Teddington, south-west London.
Travel chaos is expected as millions head for the beach today.
And in Bournemouth – where a major incident was declared in June 2020 after tens of thousands of people crammed onto the beach – cops are bracing for a tough weekend.
The force warned: "A number of our staff have tested positive for Covid or are self-isolating, and 101 call waiting times will be longer this weekend.
"We expect it to be busy and will prioritise 999 calls."
A Met Office spokesman said: “Many areas of the UK could reach heatwave criteria in the coming days.
"Temperatures are building day-on-day over the weekend, reaching mid to high 20s on Saturday and Sunday.
"Some places in central and southern parts will reach 30C on Saturday and a few spots could reach 31C during Sunday and Monday.”
Bookies have slashed the odds on this month being the hottest July on record.
Ladbrokes have cut odds from 6/4 to just 5/4.
Spokesman Alex Apati said: "It's time to get the beach towels and sun cream out, with a record-breaking few days potentially on the cards."
But health chiefs have warned Brits to stay safe during the heatwave.
An alert is in place until Tuesday, with Public Health England bosses urging sunseekers to drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
And the UK's longed-for 'freedom day' will be a gorgeous one as Covid restrictions finally lift.
Social distancing will come to an end, while clubs reopen at midnight tomorrow and propping up the bar with friends makes a return.
Meanwhile, holidays without quarantine will return for double-jabbed Brits.
However, sunshine breaks are in chaos as France hits the red list and Ibiza, Menorca and Majorca are moved to amber.
It means this weekend's stunning weather will be all the more welcome for Brits desperate to enjoy a break.
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