Heatwave could break early in Britain

London — Britain is poised to bask in a spring heatwave, with bank holiday Monday heading for record highs.

Temperatures could reach as high as 28C in some parts of England on Monday as the three-day weekend concludes. The record for the early May bank holiday weekend was set in 1995 when temperatures peaked on the Saturday at 28.6C. The peak for the holiday Monday was 23.6C in 1999.

The early May holiday was introduced in 1978.

Sophie Yeomans, a Met Office forecaster, said a record-breaking weekend could not be ruled out. “It could beat [28.6C] for the Monday in which case it would be the hottest ever early spring bank holiday weekend,” she said.

Most parts of England and Wales will have temperatures in the 20s throughout the weekend, with the best of the weather predicted for the south-east.

West London is expected to be the hottest part of the capital with temperatures of 26C and 27C. That will be considerably higher than the average maximum for the May bank holiday in London of about 18C.

However, in Northern Ireland a weather front will keep temperatures low, struggling to get above 16C and some patchy rain is likely, Yeomans said.

The west of Scotland will have similar weather, while eastern parts such as Aberdeen are due to fare better and could see a high of 21C on Monday.

“On the whole it looks like a fine and sunny bank holiday for most,” the forecaster added.

The Met Office also warned that UV levels will be high in the south-east.

The record May temperature of 32.8C was set on 29 May 1944 in Regent’s Park, Horsham and Tunbridge Wells.

A total of 8.5m leisure journeys are expected on UK roads between Friday and Monday, according to the RAC, with 4pm to 7pm due to be the busiest period as motorists embarking on pleasure trips battle with commuters.

Rail travellers are set for a miserable weekend, as Network Rail carries out hundreds of maintenance and upgrade projects.

Major work between Glasgow and Edinburgh means East Coast services will start and terminate at Edinburgh, while West Coast trains will not run north of Lancaster/Oxenholme Lake District on Sunday.

Liverpool’s mainline services will be reduced, with some replaced by buses or diverted via Manchester from Saturday to Monday.

No trains will serve London Paddington on Sunday, which will also force the suspension of Heathrow Express trains.

Network Rail says it schedules work for bank holidays as there are fewer passengers than normal.

More works are scheduled for the second bank holiday at the end of the month.

Network Rail’s chief executive, Mark Carne, said: “While most of the network is open for business as usual, some routes are heavily affected and so we strongly advise passengers to plan ahead this May.”

Pollen counts are also expected to soar this weekend, meaning misery for hay fever sufferers as tree pollen season peaks and combines with warm, breezy weather.