In pictures: How Leeds made the most of the mini heatwave

Soaring temperatures reached near record levels yesterday, making it the warmest April day in almost 70 years.

While the South East enjoyed the best of the weather, Leeds saw sunshine more associated with a typical British summer – with highs reaching more than 22C.

Across the country, temperatures yesterday peaked at 29.1C in central London, just shy of the hottest April day ever in the UK, when 29.4C was recorded in Camden in 1949.

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“It’s been exceptionally warm for this time of year,” said Nicola Maxey, Met Office spokeswoman.

“We are seeing high temperatures across the whole of the country, with warm air coming in from the south which is picking the temperatures up - quite a contrast from the weather we saw in March. For Yorkshire as a whole, we would normally expect around 12C in April, so while it’s not quite double the average – it is close.”

With the unseasonably warm weather, experts have said, a rare phenomenon could soon be seen in gardens as the seasons collide.

Spring flowers, held back a few weeks by the recent cold snap, are set to burst into bloom at RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate, curators have said, while this week’s sunshine is to bring a flurry of sudden summer blossoms.

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The result, they said, is set to see an intense burst of traditional spring and summer colours combined in coming days.

The first of 60 varieties of rhododendrons are opening in its woodlands, gardeners have said, alongside the first of the tulips, late daffodils and vibrant pink forced rhubarb.

The summery spell comes as a result of warm air from the Azores, off the coast of Portugal, being dragged up towards the UK by the combined efforts of an area of low pressure over the Atlantic and high pressure over western Europe.

And yet as the warmer weather is set to stretch into the weekend, forecasters have warned that the heatwave will be shortlived.

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In coming days the skies will slowly become more clouded with more traditional April climes of around 12 to 13C expected by early next week.

Mrs Maxey said temperatures peaked across Yorkshire yesterday, with highs in Linton on Ouse reaching 25.4C at 4pm, and at 22.4 in Leeds and Bradford. The records were set at 23.9C for April for Leeds, in 1908.

“We expect for it to get a little cooler towards the weekend,” she said, with today set to be around 18C to 19C, dropping to 16C on Sunday. “By next week we will be looking at more average temperatures for this time of year, around 12 or 13C.”