SCORCHING sunshine and blue skies are set to bring a taste of glorious summer to millions this Bank Holiday weekend.
Monday could be the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures in the South expected to hit 79F (26C).
Supermarkets have stocked up with thousands of extra burgers, sausages and chicken wings as families dust off their barbecues and prepare to sizzle in the sun.
But those planning to pack a picnic and head for the coast were warned of possible traffic jams. The RAC reckons almost seven million motorists will take to the roads over the next three days.
Met Office forecaster Sarah Holland said Monday would be the best day of the long weekend, with temperatures set to beat last week's record 74F. She added: "It will be a very pleasant weekend for most people and will feel quite warm in the sun."
Britain will be hotter than Bondi Beach as families flock to the coast this Bank Holiday weekend.
With temperatures here heading towards 80F (27C) on Monday, the Sydney surfing hot spot can manage only a chilly 68F.
The burst of summer weather is a welcome reward for millions who have battled through snow, wind and rain during the coldest spring on record.
Forecasters yesterday predicted highs of 79F in parts of the South with the rest of the country also likely to be bathed in sunshine.
The pleasant temperatures and cloudless skies are a welcome change from the traditional Bank Holiday showers which turn so many breaks into a damp squib.
Southern England will enjoy temperatures of 70F from tomorrow and the North around 68F. But Monday could be the hottest day of the year so far, easily beating the 74F reached in Faversham, Kent, last week.
It will be a very pleasant
weekend for most people and
will feel quite warm in the sun"
Met Office forecaster
The Met Office's Sarah Holland said today it would start off slightly cooler with the chance of fog before temperatures rise over the next few days. "On Monday there is a chance we could get the warmest day of the year so far." Jonathan Powell, of Vantage Weather Services, said: "Monday is the key day. The best of the weather will be across the South and the South-east but everywhere is in for a really glorious day.
"It really is going to be time to dust off the barbecues as it is likely we could see 79F or even higher."
The RAC said Britain's roads would be at their busiest since Easter as the "run to the sun" begins.
Spokesman Matt Dallaway said: "Finally we seem to have shaken off the cold and are enjoying a good spell of weather which will inevitably encourage more people into taking a short break this weekend."
AA spokesman Gavin Hill-Smith warned: "You should allow extra time for your journey."
Marks & Spencer said it expects to sell 500,000 burgers, 22,500 sausages and 30 per cent more ice cream than this time last year.
Tesco is expecting to shift 2.5million burgers, 40,000 packets of chicken wings and 28 million bottles of beer.
Spokesman Ashley Chatterton said: "The barbecue season usually starts in early April so we think more people than usual will be venturing outdoors this weekend to cook."