Gallery: Searing sunshine set to continue

THE region enjoyed one of the hottest weekends of the year so far - and the sunshine is expected to stay for at least the next few days.

Russell Claydon

THE region enjoyed one of the hottest weekends of the year so far - and the sunshine is expected to stay for at least the next few days.

Ice creams, hats and plenty of sun lotion were the order of the day as Suffolk and Essex sizzled in temperatures as high as 21C (69.8F) in the shade.

Emma Coombs, a meteorologist at regional forecasters Weatherquest, said the outlook for today and tomorrow was more of the same before a band of rain looks set to move in by next weekend.

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“It has definitely been one of the warmest weekends we have had so far,” she said. “The first May Bank Holiday was quite fine as well.

“We have had a fairly broad area of high pressure centred over northern Europe and this will recede in the coming days and it will cool slightly but remaining fine and dry for the first few days of the week.

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“There will definitely still be plenty of sunshine around over the next couple of days and visibility will be good.”

Tourist attractions received a welcome boost due to the cloudless skies as thousands flocked to the coast or inland beauty spots to make the best of the sunny conditions.

At Framlingham Castle crowds turned out to soak up some history as well as the sun.

Di Howard, the site supervisor of the English Heritage attraction, said: “We have had a brilliant week.

“We did a Tudor trail and it has been really popular with the children. The good weather is brilliant and it has been really nice here.”

At Colchester Zoo, very hot weather is not always great for business because people tend to head to the coast.

But Anthony Tropeano, the zoo's curator, said it had still been a busy weekend.

“We certainly had a busy end to last week and it was not a bad day on Saturday either.

“There is still that bit of a cool breeze so that makes the difference and people are still coming in, whereas when its absolutely baking hot, they head for the coast,” he said.

At Brightlingsea open air swimming pool, the hot weather was paying dividends as hundreds of people flocked to the lido which was built in 1933 and is one of the few remaining outdoor pools.

Lifeguard Josh Pearson, said: “It has been the busiest weekend here so far - if it is sunny people come here but the last few years have been dreadful because of the weather.”

A Clacton Pier spokeswoman said: “It has been a busy weekend with thousands of people - I am not sure of the exact number but the weather certainly helps.

“There have been a lot of people, young and old, enjoying themselves and the helter skelter and the “wave swinger” seem to be very popular.”

Meanwhile, parts of the UK have enjoyed the sunniest May for eight years, it was revealed yesterday.

Meteogroup released its monthly review which found England and Wales had basked in above average levels ofsunshine.

The sunniest place was tiny Fair Isle, lying between Orkney and Shetland, which saw 279 hours of sunshine in total.

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