Darts fans and families hit a weather bonanza bullseye as crowds flocked to Blackpool Promenade on the resort’s hottest day of the year so far.
With temperatures soaring into the high twenties before peaking at 31 degrees , the seafront was packed with families taking advantage of temperatures normally found on the Spanish costas.
And with more sunshine – albeit punctured by the occasional storm – forecast, council chiefs have reminded residents and tourists alike to take care in the sun.
With clear blue skies, temperatures on Tuesday peaked at seven degrees higher than the previous day and the highest since July 2006.
With some schools already broken up for the summer there were plenty of children splashing around in the water.
Jill Abour-Okoh, from Falkirk, was soaking up the rays with children Sarah, eight, Kayla, 13, and Abie, 17.
And the family were enjoying a super start to their Blackpool break.
“We couldn’t have asked for any better,” said Jill.
“The children are loving it.
“We were saying before that you’d usually go to Spain for sunshine like this.
“I’d not be surprised if it was a record-breaking day.
“With this weather we’re already talking about booking our next trip.”
With the family baking on the Promenade, the three children were brave enough to take the plunge.
“It’s still really cold,” joked Abie after a quick dip.
Morag Wilson, 51, from Fife was on her family’s annual trip to the World Matchplay Darts at the Winter Gardens.
“We’re here with the grandchildren,” she explained.
“We come every year for the darts.
“What a brilliant bonus to get this weather.
“We live near the beach in Scotland.
“But it doesn’t get like this.
“We’re here every July and the weather is usually good, but rarely this hot.”
But would grandson Tyler, 11, rather be playing in the sun or taking in the action at the oche?
“When it’s like this, I’d rather be outside,” he told The Gazette.
It wasn’t only Scotland which had sent darts fans turned sun-seekers.
Ruth Lee, 57, Chris Lee, 55, Caroline Eccleston, 56, and Tom Eccleston, 59, were in town from Birmingham.
“We get the best of both,” said Ruth. “The darts and the sunshine.”
With temperatures topping 30, some opted to enjoy the shade.
But not this midlands quartet. Ruth added: “Of course it’s not too hot. To enjoy it for one day, it’s great.”
Kate Shane, head of Merlin’s Blackpool cluster of attractions, which include The Tower, Madame Tussaud’s and Sea Life, said: “It’s great to see the sunshine at long last and to see the Promenade packed with visitors enjoying what we have to offer in Blackpool.
“Seaside resorts definitely benefit from good weather and the Merlin attractions in Blackpool are seeing a growth in visitor numbers on last year.
“As the main English school holidays start later this week we are looking forward to numbers increasing further still.”
Claire Smith, who runs the Number One in St Luke’s Road, is head of hoteliers group Stay Blackpool.
She believes the sunshine is a welcome boost at the start of a busy summer and told The Gazette the resort had been busy this week, with schools north of the border already breaking up.
She said: “Isn’t it wonderful having the darts in town, always a bumper event, and sunshine for all those attending to enjoy?
“They’ll go home and tell people what a wonderful time they had and spread the word.
“This kind of weather at the start of the summer is just what we needed. People’s habits have changed.
“They make last-minute decisions and the weather is a big factor.
“The timing for this spell of sunshine is brilliant for us.
“Why go abroad?
“Why go through all he hassle at the airport when you can go an hour down the road and everything is there for you.”
Blackpool Council has reminded those enjoying the sunshine – and those working outdoors – to take basic steps to avoid long-term damage.
Their beach patrol team and other outdoor workers have been given hats and SPF50 sunscreen to protect against over-exposure.
Coun Amy Cross said: “Everyone is at risk of sun damage and skin cancer but outdoor workers are at a higher risk as they spend more time exposed to UV radiation.
“Getting painful sunburn just once every two years can triple the risk of the most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma which means sun safety at work is essential.”
With holidaymakers stripping off on the sands, those working for extended periods outdoors have been reminded to stay covered up, wear a hat covering their ears and neck, use at least factor 30 sunscreen and drink plenty of water.
Today’s forecast is for cooler conditions, around 23 degrees, with showers throughout the day.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for potentially heavy rain connected with thunder storms.
For the rest of the week temperatures are expected to remain in the low twenties with dry but cloudier conditions.