THE sound of children playing and lawnmowers cutting filled the air as Swindon basked in the hottest day of the year.

Temperatures reached a scorching 32C mid-afternoon after people took full advantage of the sunny weather.

The Met Office said it was the third hottest UK day on record as temperatures soared to 37.8C at Heathrow Airport.

In Swindon, people met up with friends at socially-distant picnics and families enjoyed the fresh air at play areas.

Shunning the pub were Cheryl Guminiyak and Sharon Harpen, who continued their weekly meet-ups under some trees in Queen's Park.

Cheryl said: “We love Queen's Park, and it’s easy access from our own homes. We sit here, have lunch together and go home.

“We’ve hit the jackpot this week with the weather.

“It’s outdoors so it gives us that bit more reassurance with the social distancing and we know who we’re meeting.

“And if friends wanted to join they could and we could spread out safely.”

Sharon added: “It’s quieter than Town Gardens, because it’s probably got a bit more to offer children.

“We would normally meet at the pub and do a wine lunch but we didn’t want to do that so we brought our own picnic and came here.”

Tracey Webb was enjoying the park with her daughter by feeding the pigeons and ducks.

She said: “I’ve got the day off work so it’s just a cheap day out.

“We thought we’d come in to town and then come here. I used to come here as a child and I’ve got good memories.

“We’ve brought our own picnic and we’re going to go and feed the squirrels.”

And the weather wasn’t just fantastic for the public. Businesses also saw an increase in traffic as people ventured outside.

Rays Ice Cream owner Hadi Brooks said the warm weather arrived just at the right time.

“It’s gone remarkably well,” she said. “It’s been as busy as it probably can be considering the social distancing measures we have in place.

“Summer is our time, so we need to maximise this as much as we can. After that period of being closed, everything we can get from now until the end of the season is all good and very welcome.

“We’re probably at the limit of what’s comfortable, temperature-wise, to have people working in."

Hadi added: “We can only have one family in so that slows us down and we can only have two staff members in at a time so we’re not going as quick as we would be normally but we’re serving as many people as we can.”