Britain basks in 81F sunshine as families get ready for the big summer break

Temperatures could hit 81F (27C) today with plenty more sunshine expected this week as the school holidays start, despite a risk of rain on Saturday.

Sunbathers, surfers and cyclists flocked to beaches across England today to enjoy the warmth and relative quiet before the schools break up, although those in Scotland and Northern Ireland faced scattered showers. 

Conditions in southern England are looking fine for the rest of the week, with 79F (26C) tomorrow in southern England, then 75F (24C) on Thursday, 72F (22C) on Friday and back up to around 75F (24C) by the weekend. 

Sunbathers apply sunscreen during the hot sunshine this morning on Towan beach in Newquay, Cornwall

Sunbathers apply sunscreen during the hot sunshine this morning on Towan beach in Newquay, Cornwall

A man cycles past beach huts in Herne Bay, Kent, during the morning sunshine today on a beautiful summer's day

A man cycles past beach huts in Herne Bay, Kent, during the morning sunshine today on a beautiful summer's day

Sunbathers relax in the hot sunshine today on Towan beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on the week before school holidays start

Sunbathers relax in the hot sunshine today on Towan beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on the week before school holidays start

Surf school pupils adopt a stance during the hot sunshine this morning on Towan beach in Newquay, Cornwall

Surf school pupils adopt a stance during the hot sunshine this morning on Towan beach in Newquay, Cornwall

A sailing boat passes the Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm during the morning sunshine near Herne Bay in Kent today

A sailing boat passes the Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm during the morning sunshine near Herne Bay in Kent today

Surfers make the most of the waves during the warm weather this morning on Tolcarne beach in Newquay, Cornwall

Surfers make the most of the waves during the warm weather this morning on Tolcarne beach in Newquay, Cornwall

A woman sits by herself to read her book during the morning sunshine on the beach at Herne Bay in Kent today

A woman sits by herself to read her book during the morning sunshine on the beach at Herne Bay in Kent today

However, there is a risk of showers on both Thursday and Saturday. The North will see slightly lower temperatures of 68F (20C) on Thursday, then 66F (19C) on Friday and 68F (20C) again by the weekend.

Met Office meteorologist Oli Claydon told MailOnline: 'For

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