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Bank Holiday heat gives way to showers

The early May Bank Holiday will be very warm and sunny for many before a change to fresher conditions and the chance of showers arrives for the rest of the week.

Bank Holiday Monday will see a continuation of the very warm and sunny weather that much of the UK has experienced during the bank holiday weekend. The exceptions to the sunny story being around some Irish Sea coasts where a chilly mist may come in off the sea at times, and cloudy skies over Northern Ireland and northern parts of Scotland where some drizzly rain is possible in places.

Temperatures on Monday will peak in the low to mid 20s Celsius in Scotland, warmest in the in Borders, and 24 to 26 °C can be expected in east Wales. Over England, highs of 24 to 26 °C can be expected in many areas with a few spots from south Lancashire and Yorkshire southwards seeing 27 or 28 °C.   

The highest temperature of the day is likely to be in or just west of the London area where 29 °C is possible, smashing the previous record high for early May Bank Holiday Monday.

The warmest early May Bank Holiday Monday on record is 23.6 °C recorded on 3 May 1999 in Martyr Worthy (Hampshire), Worcester and Malvern.  The warmest early May Bank Holiday weekend as a whole on record is 28.6 recorded on the 6 May 1995 at Cheltenham (Gloucestershire), 2 May 1981 in Grantown-on-Spey (Morayshire) and 30 April 1988 in Kinbrace (Sutherland).  It is important to remember that this Bank Holiday only came into being in 1978. See more on the early may Bank Holiday records in the tables below.

Andy Page, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office said: “Most of us will continue to have blue skies and sunshine on Bank Holiday Monday, although parts of the far north and northwest of Scotland will be cloudier with the chance of some rain, and it will be misty and chilly around some Irish Sea coasts.

“It’ll be very warm again in the sunshine and we are expecting this to be the hottest early May Bank Holiday Monday on record; it’s also possible that temperatures today will make it the hottest early May Bank Holiday weekend on record.

“The sunshine and heat won’t last much longer though, with the high pressure area that has brought the fine conditions gradually giving way to fresher winds and showers from the Atlantic over the next couple of days.”

After the Bank Holiday, the weather begins to change as bands of cloud and rain push in from the Atlantic. On Tuesday Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and southwest England can expect some rain for a time, while areas further east will see a few showers, possibly thundery in places, but it will still be very warm here for one more day.

By Wednesday it will be fresher everywhere with broken cloud and some sunshine, but further rain will reach western and northern areas during the day. This rain moving across remaining areas of the UK overnight to leave a day of sunshine and scattered showers on Thursday.

Thereafter, it will changeable, with the north and west likely to see strong winds and spells of rain or showers at times, whilst the east has the best of the drier and brighter spells.

With plenty of sunshine over the Bank Holiday weekend VisitBritain Director, Patricia Yates said: “This Bank Holiday weekend is a fantastic opportunity to get out and explore the outstanding accommodation, events and attractions right here on our doorstep whether enjoying a trip to the seaside, countryside or on a city break.

“There are so many amazing year-round activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy whatever the weather, right across the country.”

It looks like the good weather this weekend will also be good for gardening. Guy Barter, is the RHS chief horticulturalist. He said: “So far this spring, weather conditions will have delayed some tasks in the garden.

"With a fine forecast for the three-day weekend across most of the UK, gardeners should feel excited they will have the time to invest in their gardens and also have time to spend relaxing with families and friends enjoying the fruits of their labours. A perfect end to National Gardening Week.”

The sun is strong at this time of year, so if you are outside make sure you protect yourself from the strong UV rays and stay hydrated. More advice on how to stay safe in the sun can be found on our website.

We are still in the tree pollen season and levels are expected to rise again in the sunshine over the Bank Holiday Weekend. More information about pollen and the forecast can be found on our website here

May Bank Holiday UK records (Bank Holiday introduced in 1978)

Table 1
  For the whole weekend (Saturday-Monday)
  Record Place  Date 
Hottest 28.6 °C Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) 06-May-95 
Coldest -6.4 °C Grantown-on-Spey (Morayshire) 02-May-81
    Kinbrace (Sutherland) 30-April-88
Wettest 101.3 mm Trassey (Down) 02-May-15
Sunniest  15.3 hrs Fair Isle (Shetland) 05-May-02
Table 2
  For the Bank Holiday Monday
  Record Place  Date 
Hottest 23.6 °C  Martyr Worthy (Hampshire) 03-May-99
    Worcester & Malvern
Coldest -5.9 °C Kinbrace (Sutherland) 07-May-12
Wettest 63 mm Blaenau (Gwynedd) 07-May-79
Sunniest  15.1 hrs Kirkwall (Orkney) 07-May-01
    Strathy East (Sutherland) 06-May-02

You can find out the current forecast in your area using our forecast pages and by following us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as using our mobile app which is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from the Google Play store.

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