Essex is braced for the hottest day of the year so far on Friday, with further sunshine expected over the weekend.

Temperatures are set to enter the thirties today with the fine weather to continue into next week.

It will be a welcome boost to our tourist attractions, restaurants and cafés who are all hoping for a bumper summer to make up for lost takings while the country was plunged into lockdown.

But health bosses have called on people to stay safe amid fears over heatstroke.

Friday is set to be the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures set to hit as high as 32 degrees in Colchester at points.

The warm weather will continue into the weekend, with highs of 25 expected on Saturday.

Sunday will be slightly cooler, with highs of 22 degrees expected. 

Beauty spots such as Dedham are likely to be very busy this weekend as tourists rush to enjoy the sunshine.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

  • Dedham in the sun by Cheryl Holland

North Essex's beaches are also likely to be very busy, with thousands expected to flock to Clacton and Walton on Friday. 

Are you heading to the beach today? Send your photos to robbie.bryson@newsquest.co.uk if so.

To check the weather forecast click here.