EAST Lancashire residents made the most of the hottest weekend of the year by flocking to the area’s parks and tourist destinations.

Bare chests and white legs were spotted en masse across the county as the mercury tipped 21°C on Saturday and yesterday.

Disposable barbecues, meat, beer and suntan lotion flew off shelves as people made the most of the hot weather – with thundery showers expected later this week.

A spokeswoman for Asda, on the Lower Audley Retail Park, Grimshaw Park, Blackburn, said: “We sold lots of children’s items. Usually, it’s a trip down to the pub for a beer garden experience, but over the weekend families were shining through.

“We sold a lot of instant barbecues and meat, but we sold a lot of the 10ft children’s trampolines.

“We even sold out of the children’s garden bench.”

And Heath Kershaw, the managing director of Wellybobs at Davyfield Farm, Roman Road, Darwen, said: “It was lovely and busy.

“It was a little bit busier than we would expect and people were using the outdoor facilities a lot more, and going down to the river, which was really nice to see.”

Martin Cleaver, who runs Foulridge Canal Cruises, said: “It was our busiest weekend of the year so far.

“We were pretty full all weekend and we had two groups staying in the area book on to cruises.

“It helps when we have weather like this.

“We can have the windows down on the boat and people get a much better view of the beautiful scenery.”

Parts of the UK were hotter than Italy and Greece yesterday.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes said it was offering odds of 8/1 on May becoming the hottest on record, although the sun is expected to hide back under dark clouds this week.

The weather will be more unsettled with thundery showers anticipated all over the country, although temperatures are expected to stay warm at 23 degrees today and 22 tomorrow.