Britain has been basking in the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures forecast to remain high into the weekend.
The South East of the country enjoyed the warmest weather, with a high of 25C recorded in both Gravesend in Kent and St James’ Park in London.
Thursday’s temperatures are forecast to top those enjoyed on Wednesday, with the mercury expected to rise to 26C.
The hot weather far surpasses the average maximum temperature for April, which sits at 11.4C.
Warm air from the Azores, off the coast of Portugal, has been dragged up towards the UK by the combined efforts of an area of low pressure over the Atlantic and high pressure over western Europe, a Met Office spokesman said.
Elsewhere temperatures have reached 21.2C in Plymouth and 21.8C in Cardiff, while Scotland has seen a high of 19.7C in Kinloss, and Northern Ireland has enjoyed a mild 18.7C in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh.
The arrival of spring sunshine should be treated with caution following the cold start to the season, Oli Claydon from the Met Office said.
“After quite a dull and chilly start to spring this is the first bout of real warm sunshine that we’ve seen,” he said.
“The sun at this time of year is nearly equally as strong as it can be in the summer so people just need to be cautious of that and make sure that they do look after themselves.”
Runners getting ready for the London Marathon on Sunday could face challenging conditions on race day as the temperatures threaten to beat the 1996 record of 22.7C.
Offering a glimmer of hope for those competitors keen for cooler conditions, Mr Claydon said there is a chance of some cloud cover which could lower temperatures.
But he added: “There is a chance equally that we could see temperatures of 22C and maybe higher.”
Sun worshippers are being advised to make the most of the warm weather, with temperatures expected to fall across the UK from the beginning of next week, and some showery outbreaks predicted.