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Are we in for a record-breaking Bank Holiday weekend?

The changeable weather of the last week or so is being pushed northwards as an area of high pressure has moved in from the southwest. This is bringing a good deal of fine and dry weather for many for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Sunday will be dry and warm with sunny spells for most of England and Wales with temperatures reaching mid 20s Celsius, although it may be rather misty and feel chilly around some coasts in the south and west. Scotland and Northern Ireland will be breezier and cooler, with some rain around.

For Bank Holiday Monday, most of us will see plenty of sunshine and it will be very warm with temperatures in the mid to high 20s Celsius with the chance areas in the south east of 26 or 27 °C with one or two places reaching 28 °C.

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: “We can’t promise wall to wall sunshine for everyone this Bank Holiday weekend, however, it’s looking like most of us will get some prolonged warm sunshine. Parts of the far north and northwest of Scotland will be cloudier at times with the chance of some rain, and it will be misty and chilly around some Irish Sea coasts.

“The best of the sunshine and the highest temperatures are expected across England and Wales away from the coast and for Bank Holiday Monday itself it is likely that temperatures could be record-breaking.”

With the widespread sunshine this 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

After the Bank Holiday, the weather begins to change with a small risk of thunderstorms on Tuesday in the south, although staying very warm. Wednesday will see bands of rain or showers pushing eastwards across the UK, displacing the warmth and thunderstorm risk steadily further east.

Behind the rain, we will see some brighter, showery and cooler weather that will continue into Thursday. Thereafter, a northwest/southeast split seems most likely, with the north and west likely to see strong winds and spells of rain at times and the southeast seeing drier and brighter spells.

Temperatures are likely to be above normal for the time of year in the south, but near normal elsewhere.

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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