The UK has provisionally recorded its warmest March day in 53 years as temperatures rose above 24C, the Met Office said.
The mercury hit 24.2C in St James’s Park in central London on Tuesday – slightly below the UK’s hottest ever March temperature of 25.6C, recorded in 1968 at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.
The Met Office tweeted: “Temperatures have exceeded 24C in places today.
“This makes it provisionally the warmest March day in the UK for 53 years.”
Temperatures increased by more than 20C in less than four hours in Santon Downham, west Suffolk, earlier in the day.
The village saw the mercury climb from a frosty minus 1.6C at 7am to 19C shortly before 11am.
Temperatures are forecast to hit 24C again on Wednesday around the London area.
The Met Office earlier tweeted there would be “exceptional warmth” and “massive” temperature contrasts as the month comes to a close.
Chief meteorologist Steve Ramsdale said: “The UK will see a few days of notably warm weather to end March, with a maximum of 24C on Wednesday in the south and east of England.
“There will also be plenty of sunshine across England and Wales, however parts of Scotland will see some persistent rain over the next couple of days.
“Conditions will start to change through the day on Thursday as cooler air moves in from the north east, highs will fall to the mid-teens before falling further by Friday, especially along the east coast.
“With pressure building from the north however, conditions are expected to remain dry for the majority.”
Monday was the warmest day of the year so far for England and Northern Ireland, with temperatures hitting 20.4C and 17.3C respectively.
Mr Ramsdale said cold air will push across the UK by Sunday, bringing a “notable” change in temperature and the chance of strong wind and wintry showers.