Thursday was the hottest day of the year so far in most parts of England and Wales, as a heatwave continues across the UK.

In England, a major incident has been declared after thousands of people flocked to beaches on the south coast.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council said services were "completely overstretched" as huge numbers of visitors defied advice to stay away.

It was a different picture that our cameras saw in Wales on Thursday. In Rhyl, the beachfront was largely deserted.

Few people came to the beach in Rhyl on Thursday. Credit: ITV News

The Met Office officially declared Thursday as the hottest day of the year so far after the temperature reached 33.3°C at Heathrow Airport - beating Wednesday’s high of 32.6°C at the same location.

Health officials have been concerned about the mass gathering of people in beauty spots, parks and beaches as the threat from coronavirus remains.

In Barry Island, the comparatively few beachgoers appeared to be abiding by social distancing laws.

Beach goers on Barry Island appeared to be abiding by social distancing rules. Credit: Matthew Horwood

It comes just one day after officers from Dfyed-Powys Police issued a number of fines to four people from different households in England in one car.

Last month there were reports that the Welsh Government was going to increase the fines for individuals who breach the 5-mile rule during lockdown, this would include people who travelled from England in to the country.

The scenes in England were in stark contrast. In Bournemouth, by midmorning the beach was full.

Bournemouth Beach was packed from mid-morning. Credit: PA Images

Similarly in Brighton, the pier front was full of people out enjoying the sun.

On May 10th, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a relaxation of the lockdown that included driving to beauty spots, in England only.

Lockdown restrictions in Wales have been eased slightly by First Minister Mark Drakeford, but there are still different rules to England.

The regulations still suggest that people should not travel for any further than five miles unless it is completely necessary.

Brighton beach was a very popular spot to enjoy the hot weather on Thursday. Credit: PA Images

The Met Office is forecasting the weather to change dramatically over the coming days. Thunderstorms and heavy rain are expected for parts of Wales and England.

The storms are expected to continue from midday on Friday through to 6am on Saturday, with another yellow warning in place for the whole of the UK.

Areas hit by the storms could experience "torrential downpours" with between 30mm to 50mm of rain falling in an hour.