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  1. ITV Report

Britain basks in hottest day of the year so far with temperatures expected to hit 35C

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Duncan Golestani

Britons have made the most of a mini heatwave as forecasters confirmed that Tuesday was the hottest day of the years so far.

Highs of over 33C were recorded in Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, with the mercury expected to climb yet higher to 35C in some parts of the South East.

Temperatures could reach 35C today. Credit: ITV News

Scores of people shed their clothes to bask in the sunshine, as temperatures soared around the country.

A sunbather pictured at the beach in the Lancashire seaside resort of Lytham St Annes on July 19. Credit: SWNS

The hot weather, caused by a warm plume of air that has worked its way northwards from Spain, has prompted health warnings.

Health chiefs said they had seen a spike in emergency calls, with London alone recording 300 more contacts than usual.

British sunbathers reading on the beach on July 19. Credit: SWNS
A British sunbather enjoys the hottest day of the year so far. Credit: SWNS

Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to look out for elderly relatives and friends who may be susceptible to the high temperatures - and to take extra care of young children, babies and those with heath issues.

Meanwhile the Met Office has issued weather warnings for heavy rain across much of the UK for Tuesday and Wednesday as the muggy weather breaks into thunderstorms in many areas.

However, many holidaymakers were content to make the most of the sunshine and searing temperatures while they last.

A young girl enjoys the sun at the beach in Blackpool on July 19. Credit: SWNS
People enjoying the hot weather in Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire. Credit: SWNS

Despite the warning, members of the public headed outdoors en masse to soak in the rays around the country.

Sunbathers enjoy Blackpool beach on the hottest day of the year so far. Credit: SWNS

Even Number 10 Downing Street's resident cat Larry was spotted getting in on the action while sprawled outside the prime minister's official residence.

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Larry the cat was not the only animal species basking in the sun on Tuesday.

Barbary macaques at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland were spotted trying to keep cool in the heat.

Barbary macaques at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling, Scotland. Credit: PA Wire
Barbary macaques trying to keep cool at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling, Scotland. Credit: PA Wire
A western lowland gorilla eats an ice lolly to keep cool at London Zoo. Credit: PA Wire
A western lowland gorilla with her babies trying to keep cool at London Zoo. Credit: PA Wire

In the Scottish Highlands, polar bears were pictured frolicking around with traffic cones.

A polar bear pictured in the Highlands on July 19. Credit: SWNS

People with hay fever will suffer with pollen levels high over the next few days.

Britain braced itself for a mini heat wave on July 19. Credit: SWNS

Temperatures could be as high as 22C overnight on Tuesday.

Blackpool visitors take a selfie as they bask in the warm weather. Credit: SWNS

The hot and humid air is expected to trigger thunderstorms across much of the UK from Tuesday evening until late on Wednesday, with a severe weather warning for rain and the possibility of flash-flooding.