Hundreds have hit Britain’s beaches and parks for Easter Sunday amid gloriously warm temperatures in the South of England as lockdown restrictions are eased – and it is revealed that the first Covid-safe events will take place in April and May.
Families met in small groups outdoors to celebrate Easter Sunday together today, as temperatures reached 64.4F (18C) in the South of England, and northern parts saw highs of 59F (15C).
In another step towards normality, sports minister Nigel Huddleston confirmed this afternoon that a wave of pilot events are to be held in April and May. The large scale events will trial testing attendees for Covid before and after taking place rather than requiring individuals to have a vaccine passport.
Huddleston said: ‘It is not just about certification actually, in fact the earlier programmes, the earlier pilots almost certainly won’t involve any element of certification but it will involve testing, making sure people are tested before and after the event.
‘What we will be looking at is the mitigation measures, so the ventilation, one-way systems, hygiene measures, all of those kind of things to help inform long term decision making.’
Trial events include 21,000 fans at the FA Cup Final at Wembley, spectators at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield and a mass participation run in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
Boris Johnson appeared to scrap plans to force drinkers and families out for a meal to show a coronavirus vaccine passport to get into pubs and restaurants after facing huge political opposition.
Today family groups met to enjoy the warm weather before temperatures across the UK are forecast to plummet, threatening snow in some areas on Monday, with more cloud cover and possible rain moving in over the north from later this evening.
Easter Monday is expected to bring wet and very windy weather across much of Britain and cooler temperatures, falling to 44F (7C) by tomorrow morning and to lows of 23F (-5C) in parts of northern Scotland.
The Met Office has issued three snow and wind warnings covering most of Scotland from today until Monday night – in what is predicted to be a three-day cold snap bringing ‘heavy snow showers’.
England’s east coast could also see snow showers following today’s sunshine.
Visitors on the beach looking up to the top of the limestone arch waiting for the base jumpers to leap off. This is the shocking moment two daredevils jumped off the top of the Durdle Door arch using parachutes, Lulworth in Dorset
Visitors flock to Durdle Door in Dorset on a day of warm spring sunshine and a cool breeze during Easter Sunday
Crowds are seen flowing the path to and from the beach in Durdle Door, Lulworth, Dorset on Easter Sunday
Two men are seen on the top of Durdle door with parachutes, preparing to jump towards the water
One of the base jumpers with a yellow parachute leaps off the limestone arch and into the sea while his mate waits at the top
Both base jumpers swim to the beach at Durdle Door where they are helped by a friend. The base jumpers stunned members of the public out for an Easter Sunday walk by ascending the 200ft tall landmark on the Dorset coast
The Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth proved popular today, Easter Sunday, as the Spring sun shone in Hampshire
Friends Roisin, Aislin and Gillian made the most of the warm weather on Easter Sunday as they met up for a picnic on Wimbledon Common
Temperatures across the UK are expected to plummet as we head through the Easter weekend though, with the cold snap threatening snow in some areas on Monday
Runners enjoy the sun in Sandbanks, Dorset, where hundreds have taken to the beach to soak up the Easter Sunday rays
A couple are seen walking a dog on Sandbanks beach, Dorset, in the early morning sun this Easter Sunday
People flocked to the beaches during the Bank Holiday as a sea of cars parked near the Storey Arms in the Brecon Beacons on Sunday
Brave individuals take a dip in the sea on Sandbanks beach in Dorset, despite top temperatures only reaching 64.4F (18C)
A couple relaxed together in Wimbledon Common in south London during the spring sunshine on the balmy Bank Holiday weekend
Two women are seen taking the plunge in Sandbanks on a sunny but crisp feeling Easter Sunday morning
Two people are seen going for an Easter Sunday dip in the cold water in Sandbanks, Dorset, where many have taken to the sea
People sat enjoying the sunshine in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire on Easter Sunday
A trio of friends took advantage of the relaxed coronavirus restrictions as they met outside on Wimbledon Common on Sunday
Paddle boarders make the most of the early sunshine in Southsea, Hampshire, on Easter Sunday, before temperatures are set to plummet on Monday
A group of four take a dip in the sea in Southsea, Hampshire, on Easter Sunday
The dire snow forecast came as people flocked to parks and public spaces, including Liverpool’s Sefton Park and Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, to enjoy the sunshine on Easter Sunday.
Met Office forecaster Sarah Kent said: ‘We will see this plunge of much colder conditions coming in. It’s Arctic maritime air, which does mean it’s coming from the Arctic.
‘So it’s going to be cold for everybody, but also windy too. The wind chill is going to be significant.’
Southern England can expect to see some sunshine and highs of 7C later in the day, but gusts of up to 30mph will make the temperature ‘feel like’ -1C, Ms Kent said.
She added: ‘Today is a lovely day for an Easter egg hunt in the back garden, whereas tomorrow if you were doing one you’d probably want to wear three jumpers.’
As the Easter sunshine brings a feel of normality it is expected Boris Johnson will announce nine pilot events that are being held over the next few weeks to help policy makers decide how best to unlock Britain.
The success of high-tech ventilation and covid tests on entry will be trialled at a comedy club, cinema, nightclub and business conference arena in Liverpool next week.
Some fans will be allowed at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on April 25, the FA Cup final on May 15 and the semi-finals on April 18.
The World Snooker Championship in Sheffield and a mass participation run in Hatfield, Herts, will also go ahead with crowds to test the scheme.
People enjoy the sunny weather in Sefton Park in Liverpool on Easter Sunday
Families gather together in Sefton Park in Liverpool on Easter Sunday, as the rule of six permits two households to meet outdoors
Hundreds made their way to parks for an Easter Sunday walk as the sun shone today, on the first weekend since covid restrictions were eased
An easter bunny is seen among the daffodils in Sefton Park in Liverpool, as families make the most of the sunshine
Police patrol as members of the public gather in Hyde Park. On April 12th England is set to relax more lockdown restrictions, which were imposed to control the spread of COVID-19
Police watch from their van in Hyde Park, which is full of people enjoying the Easter Sunday sun
Members of the public exercise in Hyde Park this Easter Sunday as police patrol the area
A stunning orange glow is pictured over Edinburgh Castle at sunrise on Easter Sunday
The waning gibbous moon is visible at daybreak on a cold Easter Sunday morning in, Dunsden, Oxfordshire
Groups of people out in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, on sunny Easter Sunday
Groups of people out in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire as Easter Sunday brings warm weather across the South of England
Groups of people out in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire – making the most of the warm weather before lows of 23F (-5C) are expected tomorrow as part of a cold snap
A family feed swans and ducks in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, Easter Sunday
A man rows along the river Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. Easter Sunday
A couple take a selfie underneath a blooming tree in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire
Overnight in Sandbanks, Dorset, police were forced to disperse crowds for the second night in a row after groups that had been drinking on the beach throughout Saturday refused to go home after a day in the sun.
Several males and one female was taken away by the police during the evening, which also saw boy racers zoom up and down the exclusive stretch of coast line.
Sandbanks’ local Tesco has been so busy selling alcohol to the groups that it had one very large delivery of beer during the evening to maintain stock levels during the easter weekend.
Sandbanks locals have made many complaints to the police in the past few days and many stayed indoors whilst the trouble ensued, Sandbanks has some of the most expensive real estate in the uk and police have a real battle to contain the partying during the hot weather as Covid-19 rules relax.
Sandbanks beach seen on Easter Sunday morning as small groups gather to meet with family as permitted under the rule of six as covid restrictions are eased
Brave swimmers make their way back to a beach hut after taking a dip in the sea in Sandbanks, Easter Sunday
Runners burn off their easter chocolate on a jog along the seafront in Sandbanks, Dorset, Easter Sunday
A young family get ready to go paddle boarding in Sandbanks this morning, with the whole family involved
Family’s gather in beach front huts on Sandbanks, as the weather and covid restrictions finally allow the meetings
A man uses a metal detector on Sandbanks in Dorset in the hopes of finding lockdown treasure on Easter Sunday
A man is seen pulling his rubber dingy from the water in Sandbanks, Dorset. Swimmers can be seen braving the water behind
A family wrap up warm for a stroll on the breezy but sunny Sandbanks beach this morning, as the weather remains warm for Easter Sunday before temperatures are due to plummet
A couple are seen in their swimming gear after taking the plunge on Sandbanks beach for morning exercise
Groups drank on the beach and pavements ignoring social distancing and the police’s repeated requests to disperse and go home after a day in the sun in Sandbanks, Dorset, in the early hours of this morning
Large groups are seen gathering outside Tescos in Sandbanks, Dorset, where crowds have gathered for the second night after good weather brought them to the beach
Sandbanks has some of the most expensive real estate in the uk and police have a real battle to contain the partying during the hot weather as covid-19 rules relax
The local Tesco has been so busy selling alcohol to the groups that it had one very large delivery of beer during the evening to maintain stock levels during the easter weekend in Sandbanks, Dorset
Elsewhere in the UK this morning, paddle boarders were seen making the most of the early sunshine in Southsea, Hampshire.
Meanwhile brave souls in Sandbanks were seen stripping down to their swimming cosies to take a dip in the sea, with many opening up their beach huts to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.
In Cambridgeshire Police were seen patrolling the banks of the River Great Ouse near Ely to stop crowds gathering ahead of the Men’s Boat Race.
A pair of rowers travel along the River Thames at Maidenhead, Berkshire, on Easter Sunday
A man is questioned by police as he tries to go down the footpath by the River Great Ouse where the Boat Race will be held, between Ely and Littleport in Cambridgeshire
George Peacock from Ely (left) was reportedly questioned by police for 45 minutes before being released after agreeing to leave the area. No fine was issued. Spectators could be fined up to £200 if they try to watch the world-famous Boat Race
Police patrol the river banks ahead of the Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridgeshire
Police patrol the river banks before the Men’s Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridgeshire, Easter Sunday
Crowds gathered to watch the Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridgeshire, but were moved on by police
Police patrol the river bank before the Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridgeshire
People walk along the river bank by the start line before the Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridgeshire
Police vans arrive in Ely before the Men’s Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridgeshire. Picture date: Sunday April 4
Police near the start line of the Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridgeshire
Council workers begin the task of clearing up the litter left on Southsea Common in Hampshire today, following nice weather over the Easter weekend
Temperatures are expected to drop, but the Spring-like conditions over the last few days have brought many lockdown-weary Brits back outdoors