By CHRIS PARSONS
Hottest place in the UK: Children play in Loch Morlich, near, Aviemore, where temperatures reached 26.9C yesterday
Britain continued to bask in gloriously sunny temperatures yesterday, as forecasters predicted that the long-overdue summery spell is set to continue throughout the weekend in the UK.
After Tuesday's temperatures of almost 27C in parts of England set the standard for the hottest day of the year, the mercury rose again as thousands flocked to beaches, parks and gardens.
The record for the warmest day of 2012 was again smashed in, of all places, Scotland, as residents in Aviemore, Invernesshire enjoyed a tropical heat of 26.9C.
The hottest temperature in the UK posted north of the border made Aviemore hotter than Ibiza yesterday, as temperatures held firm.
Cooling down: Rhianna Mallia, 18 and Louise Dougherty, 21, sit in the sun in Aviemore - which registered the hottest temperature in the UK in 2012
From snow to sun: A train passes through Aviemore on May 23 just a week after the area was blanketed in snow. Temperatures have soared more than 25 degrees in just six days
Making a splash: Three young girls dash across the beach in Poole, Dorset, yesterday, as Britons continued to make the most of favourable weather
Life's a beach: Sun worshippers on Bournemouth Beach soak up the rays as Britons enjoyed more great weather
Time to relax: Two girls top up their tans on Bournemouth Beach
Beating the heat: Londoners strip off and cool off in the Thames as temperatures reach 24C in the capital
Summer's here: Breeze Burgess takes time for a lie down in London's Hyde Park with a book, as the warm front spread to the capital
Sun, sea and sand: Holly Purkis, 19 months old, has fun on the beach in Studland, Dorset
Time out: Edinburgh University student Camille Kim, 22, has a meditative moment north of the border yesterday
The balmy temperatures in Scotland beat Tuesday's record in Solent, Hampshire by 0.2C, though forecaster anticipated that record could be eclipsed by sunny spells in other parts of England.
South of the border, Thorney Island, near Solent, Hampshire, experienced highs of 25.3C by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, while Spadeadam in Cumbria also enjoyed the same temperature.
About to get their man: Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ride as part of the Horse Guard Parade for the Changing of the Queen's Life Guard ceremony in London
Met Office experts said that, although some breezes were expected across Britain in days to come, the sunny weather was generally expected to hold out in weather which is 'very warm for the time of year'.
The warmer-than-average temperatures saw the UK heat climb higher than several other European cities, including Rome, where the temperature yesterday was between 4 and 5C lower than many parts of the UK.
Forecaster Helen Chivers said yesterday: 'It should stay sunny for the next four days.
'There will be subtle changes from day to day, and there may some more colder air tomorrow, but overall places will have plenty of sun throughout the weekend.
Sand in their toes: Anna Donnelly and Rudy Pain take time out from the waves to have a read in West Sussex
Lapping it up: Sun worshippers on Brighton Pier didn't need a second invitation to get out and enjoy the rays
A student enjoys the sun in Edinburgh this afternoon, while, right, sunbathers in Southsea, Hants, make the most of the heat
Alex Livermore sits in London's Hyde Park listening to music as high temperatures swept the country for the second day in a row
Flowery fields: A young woman sits in Green Park in London enjoying the weather
'There might be quite a breeze in some parts of the country on Friday, but we are still looking at temperatures in the low to mid 20s, which is very warm for the time of year.'
The wonderful May temperatures are a far cry from the chilly weekend, which followed the wettest April on record and one of the coldest starts to May in decades.
A high like Tuesday's has not been seen for almost two months, with the south coast outshining the peak temperature of 23.6C enjoyed in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, on March 27.
Those able to make the most of the midweek sunny spell rushed to the country's parks and coasts.
Field of dreams: Ava, two, and Ethan Snell, four, take a stroll through the picturesque fields near Chesil Beach in Dorset
Catch of the day: Angler Arthur Cansfield cools down by the Derwent in the Lake District shortly after landing a 10lb pike
Water lot of fun: Ruby Beck, four, enjoys the waterworks in Centenary Square, Bradford, while, right, a youngster enjoys a sweet treat on Bournemouth Beach
Dipping their toes in: Anna Donnelly, 21, and Rudy Pain, 22, make a splash on West Wittering Beach in West Sussex
Taking it easy: The sun was so unexpected, some were caught unawares and still had their brollies out just in case
It follows weeks of weather so wet that officials have had to coin a new name for the strange situation whereby Britain found itself hit simultaneously by both floods and hosepipe bans.
Environmental Stress due to Rainfall Deficit, or ‘ESRD’ for short, is the term being employed by the Environment Agency. The agency admits it is not exactly catchy but believes it best describes the situation in the 19 counties no longer in drought.
And this is only the start of it. They plan to create ‘more sophisticated terminology’ to describe an array of dry conditions, and address concerns that the term drought is too ‘blunt’.
Park life: A couple relax on two deckchairs in London's Hyde Park, as the south east in particular revelled in highs of over 25C
The aim is to prevent a repeat of the situation this year where people were told that their areas were officially in drought despite the fact their homes were being flooded.
In future, dry conditions could be divided into a number of sub-categories to describe the level of water shortage and who is affected.
The drought was rained off for much of the South West and the Midlands ten days ago after more than double the average rainfall last month.
It is still in force in the east of England, where hosepipes are banned.
Heavy downpours saw 150 properties flooded, 75 flood warnings issued and more than 10,000 phone calls to a flood helpline.
Time for a break: These two women catching up underneath a shady tree in Hyde Park were just a couple of the hundreds who took to the outdoors this week
Sunning themselves: Abbey Ashman, 18 (left) Jessica Collier, 16 and Natalie Wright, 17 (right) soak up the sun on Barry Beach in South Wales
Child's play: Lucy Beck, aged two, Callum Beck, three, and Ruby Beck, four, splash around in the newly-opened City Park in Bradford
Shady customer: A man rests under a tree outside the Houses of Parliament in central London, where forecasters predicted temperatures of 27C
Meanwhile, in Blackpool: A sea mist shrouded the iconic Blackpool Tower as holidaymakers braved cool temperatures
A sea mist blankets the seaside as Fadi Matar and his wife Asma enjoy fish and chips on the promenade
Saltburn beach in Cleveland is shrouded in thick sea fret creating a mysterious environment for visitors to the beach