THOUSANDS of people made the most of the sun at Bournemouth's beaches on Wednesday – for what has been tipped to be the hottest day of the year so far.

The mercury has just hit 20C near the town's pier, but elsewhere in the UK it has risen to 26C.

Bournemouth Echo:

Lengthy queues have also built up at Harry Ramsden's, which has opened its takeaway services today for the first time since lockdown started.

Plenty of customers seemed happy to queue, while maintaining social distancing guidelines, for their fish and chips.

Bournemouth Echo:

Some people, however, say they feel uneasy the crowds have gathered in such numbers.

Bournemouth Echo:

Visitor Peter Robinson, who told the Echo he'd popped across the border from Wiltshire to visit the seaside, said: "It was worth the queuing up.

"This is the first time I have been able to visit the seaside since this all began, to have fish and chips as well was icing on the cake."

Bournemouth Echo:

Another local, who asked not to be named, said: "People are anxious about the return to a bit more normality, I think we can all understand that.

"But there are real economic dangers that could cost lives in the long run as well.

"Somewhere like Bournemouth, which depends on the hospitality industry, needs to be able to open up in some shape or form.

"It was nice to be able to get some chips today, easily the best chips I've eaten for two months."

Bournemouth Echo:

Meanwhile, Bournemouth resident Shirley Klein said she was surprised so many people had flocked to the area.

"I'm not sure if these crowds are a good idea," she said. "To start with, it didn't feel safe, but we are trying to all keep our distance from one another's groups."

People were being reminded to not only adhere to social distancing guidelines on the beach, but to remember there are no lifeguards currently on duty due to the coronavirus.

Coastguards have urged caution in and around the water.

"Don't forget that beaches in the area are not currently manned by lifeguards, so please do take extra care," said a coastguard spokesman.

However, the coastguard says if you do see anyone in trouble on the coast, or at sea, do not hesitate to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

The spokesman said: "We would rather have a false alarm with good intent than not receive a call at all."