Parts of Britain bask in week of glorious sunshine... but cold weather will return by Friday

Britain was warmer than Turkey today as people basked in unseasonably warm temperatures.

In London, temperatures hit 15C (59F) which was hotter than Istanbul and adults and children alike took advantage of the weather to laze in the park.

After the desperate snow and ice this winter, the sun proved a welcome relief. Yesterday, parts of Britain were hotter than Greece at 15.5C (60F).

Mediterranean highs of 17C (63F) could be reached by the end of the day, although forecasters have warned the good conditions are not set to last.

Two women enjoy the sun in St James's Park, London

Has spring finally sprung? Two women enjoy the sun in St James's Park, London

Much of the week will remain warm, but cold weather will move in again before the weekend.

MeteoGroup forecaster John Hutchinson said: 'The general forecast this week is plenty of sunshine.

'There will be a few areas of cloud in the north but on the whole temperatures will be quite pleasant. It will not be remarkably hot for this time of year.'

Colder weather will be brought in by winds turning into the east. Sunshine is still likely in places, but it will feel raw in the strong easterly blasts.

Aliisa King, four, plays amongst the daffodils in Green Park, London

Warm: Aliisa King, four, plays amongst the daffodils in Green Park, London

Met Office forecaster Nigel Bolton said: 'Sunday was the UK's hottest day of the year so far at 15.5c (60f) and there will be sunny conditions for much of the UK until Thursday.

'We're looking at temperatures of up to 17c (63f) by day, although temperatures will fall like a stone after dark with clear skies. It will be close to freezing at night.'

He added: 'It will be really pleasantly warm at the beginning of the week, but by the end of Thursday-and into the weekend the weather will change again.

'The weather in March can be so changeable and this is just typical of British weather.'

Exeter was the UK's hottest spot yesterday with temperatures peaking at 15.5c (60f), while St James's Park in London hit 15c (59f).

By contrast, Greek holiday hot-spot Crete only managed 14c (57f) while Istanbul in Turkey shivered in a chilly 8c (46f).

Brighton beach

Day out: Crowds ventured to Brighton beach yesterday to make the most of the unseasonably good weather. The sunshine will last a few more days

Glorious sunshine in Bournemouth drew crowds of walkers, cyclists and roller-bladers on to its seven-mile seafront.

Children in T-shirts built sandcastles on the beach, although nobody braved the sea which was a chilly 7c (45f).

Yesterday the Devon and Cornwall coasts were packed with crowds normally seen at the height of summer as temperatures reached 13c (55f).

The sunny weather is thanks to a large area of high pressure coming up from the Azores islands in the Atlantic.

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