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Shore this is a good idea? Beachgoers ignore social distancing on hottest day of the year

Crush hour: Sun worshippers packed the beach at Southend yesterday, while visitors to Broadstairs (inset) observed social distancing PICTURES: DUNCAN MCGLYNN/GETTY/REX

BRITAIN basked in the hottest day of the year so far — but sun worshippers were spotted ignoring guidance on social distancing.

Health chiefs feared the warm weather could put people in danger as the two-metre rule was abandoned on beaches including Brighton, Bournemouth, Southend and Blackpool.

In contrast, visitors to Broadstairs, Kent, appeared to be stretching out on the sands at a safe distance.

A top temperature of 32.6C (90.6F) was recorded at Heathrow during the afternoon.

Britain’s record high for June remains at 35.6C (96F), reached in both 1957 and the long hot summer of 1976.

The mercury could rise even higher today, with the Met Office predicting temperatures of 34C (93.2F).

Tuesday set a record as England’s hottest of 2020 so far, with 28.6C (83.4F) at Heathrow. The year’s UK peak was 28.9C (84F) in Scotland on May 29.

Despite the sunshine, the Met Office issued thunderstorm warnings for today, tomorrow and Saturday.

Paddle power: Six-year-old Edouard Lucquiaud (left) and Jack Parry, five, in Portobello, Edinburgh

Meteorologist Alex Burkill also said UV levels would be hitting nine across Devon and Cornwall, adding: ‘That’s about as high as it gets in the UK.

‘We’ve got peak sun strength, clear skies, plenty of sunshine — the perfect ingredients for high UV.’

Shoppers were warned that queuing could mean they are more exposed than usual.

Dr Lynn Thomas, of St John Ambulance, said: ‘You could end up in the sun for longer than expected on what would normally be a quick journey, such as queuing to enter the supermarket, so be prepared to look after yourself and others. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two of the most serious problems that can develop.’

Field day: Michael Eavis on what would have been the opening day of Glasto, with the Pyramid stage structure behind him

Meanwhile, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis posed in deserted fields at his Worthy Farm in Somerset on what would have been the festival’s opening day.

The event has been postponed until next year because of the virus.