SCORCHING temperatures have sizzled their way to a record-breaking 28C – making it the hottest April day in nearly 70 years.

But as eager sunshine worshippers hope to lap up more rays today, authorities have warned the public to "stay indoors" as a toxic plume from France and Spain blows in.

The pollution will be at its worst today and tomorrow, with a warning for people with lung and heart problems to avoid strenuous activities outside, with anyone experiencing discomfort advised to head indoors.

Met Office meteorologist John West said today was officially the warmest April since 1949, with the record-breaking temperatures recorded in Northolt, west London, and Kew Gardens.

He said: "It wouldn't be completely out of the question that we could get closer to 29 today, we are keeping our eye on it."

He warned that despite Brits wanting to make the most of the sun should be cautious, with high UV rates increasing the chance of a day ending in sunburn.

The sunny temperatures mean it is 10C higher than average for this time of year – with Brits enjoying a taste of temperatures usually only expected in mid-August.

The average temperature in south east England sizzled at 24C – on par with sunny Madrid and soaring over Rome and Athens' temps of 22C.

Mr Keates said: "We have some winds coming up from the south, so that coupled with some day on day heating, the heat is as strong as it is in mid-August.

"Just having some sunshine, which is a blessed relief, has really warmed up."

Brits dashed outside to make the most of the sunny weather yesterday, with top temperatures of 25.3C recorded in St James' Park in London.

But temperatures across northern Scotland may struggle to reach the blazing temperatures that are expected down south, with parts of Scotland and north England hitting 10C to 15C.

It comes as advice from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs warned: "Thursday and Friday have the chance of localised high pollution levels near east coasts of England, with isolated pockets also possible in busy urban areas in southern and eastern England.

"Areas of moderate air pollution are expected across southern parts of the UK, with more isolated moderate levels in the North, mainly close to coasts."

Brits prone to hay fever may also need to be careful, with the pollen count the highest it has been this year.

High levels have been recorded across England, from South to North, and the levels are expected to continue until at least the end of next week.

Yesterday was the warmest it has been since late August last year – with today's temperatures of 26C soaring past those in Italy and Greece.

And classically, as soon as the sunbeams hit, Brits jumped into bikinis and threw off their winter wear to fully appreciate the good weather.

In London one man decided to ditch all his clothing to properly enjoy the sunshine, and was seen wandering down a street by stunned onlookers.

All over the country men and women donned swimwear and hit the beach or nearby park to feel the warmth of the sun.

It was a welcome relief for Brits who have endured months of bleak wintry weather – with the promise of more sunshine to come this week.

Met Office meteorologist John West told The Sun Online yesterday: "It's an absolutely smashing day – there's hardly a cloud in the sky.

"We've seen temperatures creeping up through the course of this afternoon."

And the heatwave will continue for the next couple of days, with dry and sunny conditions expected up until Sunday.

Families flocked to parks and rivers to make the most of the hot and sunny day yesterday, with many in Cambridge taking to the River Cam for a day out.

They packed onto punts and enjoyed a ride along the river, which was lined with blossom and Spring flowers.

The UK has already bypassed sunny destinations like Malibu, California, and Rome, with the cities hitting 23C and 24C respectively on Tuesday.

The sizzling temperatures are coming courtesy of a hot African air plume, which has been sending the weather soaring.

The 1,500 mile wide plume arrived from North Africa on Monday.

But the warm weather has been welcomed by characteristically dry British humour, with some joking they could not recognise the "sun" symbol on their weather forecast.

Rising temperatures aren't just set to end this month – with forecasters predicting a hotter than average June, July and August.

The Weather Channel’s Leon Brown said: “Glorious blue skies and 30C are expected by June thanks to warm air flowing from the Continent.”

And the heat will be continuing throughout the weekend, meaning Sunday's London Marathon could be the hottest on record.

Bookmaker Coral have even slashed the odds on this month to be the hottest April ever.

And Ladbrokes have cut the odds for the good weather continuing into June, cutting the 2003 record of 101.3F (38.5C) being broken this year.

But Brits have been warned to make the most of the sunny weather this week – as it may not continue.

Saturday could see isolated showers in parts, while there is "uncertainty" about what Sunday's weather will bring.

Temperatures will be dropping to a comparatively chilly 16C, so Brits wanting to make the most of BBQ weather should dust off their deckchairs now.



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The Met's Mr Wilson said: "We’re not quite into summer yet…but compared to the cold start to Spring, this week will certainly be feeling very different."

Next weekend showers will return to dampen the sunshine as fronts from the Atlantic may mean western Scotland and Northern Ireland could see more rainy weather.

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