Millions tune in to watch virtual Stonehenge sunrise to celebrate Summer Solstice as forecasters predict 86F heatwave will hit from Tuesday making it hotter than the Canary Islands

  • More than 3.6mil people tuned in to a livestream from Stonehenge on Saturday night and Sunday morning
  • Due to the pandemic English Heritage broadcast footage from the famous landmark on its Facebook page
  • Forecasters predict that Britain could see the hottest day of the year so far next week, as temperatures soar
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Millions of people tuned in to watch the virtual Stonehenge sunrise to celebrate the summer solstice as forecasters predict a 86F heatwave will blast the country from Tuesday – making it hotter than the Canary Islands.

The usual celebrations at the famous Wiltshire landmark were cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, so English Heritage broadcast footage from its Facebook page instead.

More than 3.6 million people around the world tuned in to a livestream from Stonehenge on Saturday night and Sunday morning for a virtual celebration of the summer solstice, which marks the first day of summer.  

Normally around 10,000 people would attend the site itself, with the usually roped-off stones allowed to be touched. And despite the area being closed a small group of people did stand at the periphery of the site in the pouring rain. 

Druid King Arthur Pendragon said it had been ‘very wet,’ but he was undaunted. ‘You can’t cancel the sunrise,’ he told the BBC. ‘It’s going to happen, and we were there to celebrate it.’ 

Security people guard Stonehenge today. Despite the closure millions tuned in to watch the event live-streamed by English Heritage

Revellers celebrate in the rain near Stonehenge stone circle, despite official Summer Solstice celebrations being cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus disease

bout a 150 people braved the rain and mist to celebrate the summer solstice at the Glastonbury Tor, Somerset. Prayers and incantations were conducted with the playing of drums echoing around the Tor

People participate in the morning sunrise ritual in the rain at Stonehenge today despite it being closed off due to the coronavirus pandemic

People gather on Glastonbury Tor for sunset on the Summer Solstice weekend on the longest day of the year today at midsummer

Edwin Forster and his crystal ball greets the sun at the summer solstice. Celebrated by Stroud School of Larks Circus workshop on the a ancient Selsley Common, Stroud.

Stonehenge director Nichola Tasker said: ‘It was a rather wet but nonetheless atmospheric sunrise this morning and we were delighted to see that so many people around the world were enjoying the unique experience of seeing the dawn at Stonehenge on midsummer’s day.

‘We were sorry not to be able to open for solstice this year but we hope that our live stream offered the opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time.We look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.’ Stonehenge will reopen to the public on July 4.

Meanwhile, weather forecasters have predicted Britain could see the hottest day of the year so far next week, as the skies begin to brighten up over the course of Sunday.

It marks a rapid change from the thunderstorms and rain that have so far blighted June. 

Temperatures could hit 86F (30C) by Wednesday in London. The current record for this year was set on May 20, with 82.8F (28.2C) recorded at Santon Downham in Suffolk.

People watch the sunrise at Tynemouth after the shortest night following the summer solstice. Britain could bask in the hottest day of the year so far next week, with sunny weather moving in from the weekend

This topped the 79.2F (26.2C) recorded the previous day in London’s St James’s Park.

Met Office meteorologist Emma Salter said: ‘England and Wales should be totally clear of cloud from Sunday, with temperatures building day on day.

‘Scotland and Ireland could be more cloudy and overcast, but temperatures will still be warmer.

‘Wednesday could be the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures expected to reach 30C in London.’  

Temperatures on Sunday there will mostly be sunny spells with some showers, mostly in the northwest, with possible thunder. 

Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Martin Young, said: ‘By the middle of next week we’ll see temperatures across much of England and Wales widely climbing into the mid to high twenties Celsius and it will probably be hot in parts of southern and eastern England, as temperatures peak close to 30 Celsius.

‘It’s possible Northern Ireland and Scotland will join the rest of the country in seeing a spell of warmer weather later next week, as this hot air from the continent extends northwards across the UK.

Martin continued: ‘We’re keeping a close eye on the possibility of severe thunderstorms developing later next week too, triggered by the warm continental air.’

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