Britain has experienced its warmest new year on record as temperatures rose above 16C (61F).
St James’s Park in central London provisionally beat the record with a temperature of 16.2C, the Met Office said. The previous high was 15.6C, which was set in Bude in Cornwall in 1916.
Overnight on Friday the Met Office said temperatures increased to reach 16.5C in Bala, Gwynedd, north Wales.
The warm start to the new year follows a mild December and record-breaking temperatures during the day on New Year’s Eve.
A Met Office spokesperson said: “This makes New Year’s Eve 2021 provisionally the warmest on record.”
On Friday temperatures reached 15.8C in Merryfield in Somerset and Nantwich in Cheshire, surpassing the previous record of 14.8C.
The Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said the average temperature in December and the beginning of January is usually about 7C or 8C, with the warmer weather the result of a south-westerly wind making its way across the country.
The higher temperatures are usually localised, but “plenty of places” have recorded highs of 15C over December, he said. However, he added that there was likely to be a drop in temperatures in January.
On Friday, Somerset House in London confirmed it would be closing its ice rink on New Year’s Day because of warmer temperatures.
A spokesperson for the attraction tweeted: “Skate update: due to the effect of the on-going warm temperatures on the quality of the ice, we have had to make the difficult decision to also close our ice rink on 1 January.”
Temperatures are expected to fall from Tuesday, with warnings issued for snow and strong winds in northern and eastern Scotland.