It may have been the third hottest day on record but July was the coldest for eight years

Canoeists taking in the sunset at West Mersea in Essex on 30 July 2020 Credit: Keith Ambrose

Soaring temperatures on the final day of the month were not enough to prevent July being the coldest in the Anglia region since 2012.

The UK has its third hottest day on record on Friday 31 July when the temperature reached 37.8°C at Heathrow airport in London. The maximum reached in the Anglia region was 35.9°C in Bedford.

But overall July was disappointing in the Eastern counties, being cooler and wetter than normal along with a distinct lack of sunshine.

Normally July provides an average 6½ hours of sunshine a day in the Anglia region but July 2020 could barely deliver 5½ hours a day.

Overall temperatures were about 0.5°C below average making it the coolest July in the East of England for eight years.

Golden crops and clear blue skies at Ramsey St Mary's in Cambridgeshire on 31 July, the hottest day of 2020 so far Credit: Christine Mitchell

With the searing heat on the last day of the month came some spectacular downpours and thunderstorms for a few places in the Anglia region.

Brackley on the Northamptonshire-Buckinghamshire border and Chesterton in Cambridgeshire recorded 9 mm of rain in an hour on Friday night into Saturday as isolated heavy showers swept through.

Overall July was wetter than normal in the Anglia region but only the wettest July for three years.

Boats on the River Deben in the early morning light at Martlesham in Suffolk on 31 July 2020. Credit: Paul Coates

July partly redeemed itself by trying to cram all its heat into just one day on the last day of the month. The maximum temperatures across the Anglia region were broadly in the range of 32-35°C - some 10-13°C above average for the time of year.

Even coastal sites in East Anglia, which quite often have a cooling sea breeze, experienced temperatures above 30°C.

It was the second hottest day of the past 15 years in the Anglia region behind 25 July 2019 when the UK's all-time temperature record was set in Cambridge.

Maximum temperatures in the Anglia region on Friday 31 July 2020

  • 35.9°C in Bedford

  • 35.2°C in Woburn, Bedfordshire

  • 35.1°C in Writtle, Essex

  • 34.5°C in Harpenden, Hertfordshire

  • 34.3°C in Cambridge

  • 34.2°C in Stowe, Buckinghamshire

  • 33.0°C in Holbeach, Lincolnshire

  • 32.9°C in Santon Downham, Suffolk

  • 32.7°C in Marham, Norfolk

  • 30.2°C in Shoeburyness, Essex

  • 30.0°C in Cromer, Norfolk