LONDON — Temperatures hit 34 degrees Celsius (94 Fahrenheit) in north London on Monday afternoon, but locals were looking forward to Tuesday when it was forecast to be even hotter.
Mona Suleiman, 45, and her friend Zaina Al Amin, 40, waited for a bus as the afternoon warmed.
“I’m not worried about me in this heat,” said Ms Suleiman, from Eritrea. “But I worry about my children.”
Her flat is getting too hot, she says, and although she was advised to keep her children, aged 6 and 10, home after school, she decided to send them because she thought could be cooler there.
Schools, most of which are in their last week of classes before summer vacation, were doing their best to keep children cool, especially in older buildings ill-equipped for high temperatures. At a primary school near Portobello Road, staff had set up a paddling pool and children could be heard splashing and laughing in the street.
“Especially at night, in the summer in my apartment, it is already too hot,” Ms Suleiman said, adding that she feared it would become unbearable on Monday evening.
Ms Al Amin said the women, who are both Muslims and wore traditional clothes and headscarves, did not care about the weather outside in their light cotton clothes but were afraid to get on the bus.
“Right now it’s too difficult,” she said. “There is not enough air.”
In Hyde Park, a handful of sunbathers braved the afternoon heat and laid blankets on the visibly parched grass. A few steps away, would-be swimmers were turned away from the Serpentine Lido, where a sign said the facility was at capacity. Among them were Lalou Laredo, 19, and Rachel Trippier, 22, who were disappointed to be turned away but pointed out that the hot water, which was 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 Fahrenheit), could in makes them worse.
“London is really not good for days like this,” Ms Laredo said, lamenting the lack of places to cool off in the extreme heat.
Ms Trippier added that she was worried about the new reality of increasingly extreme temperatures.
Ms. Laredo agreed. “It’s always on our minds,” she said. “It’s frustrating that people are still denying it.”
Across central London, the area near St. Paul’s Cathedral was buzzing with lunchtime activity, despite the heat. A few joggers dodged both traffic and pedestrians in the scorching sun. Tourists stood in the shadow of the cathedral, consulting maps on their phones. Office workers wore suit jackets outside despite the heat, carrying takeout.
Pubs used the scorching sun to their advantage. “Ice cream, ice cream, baby!” was scrawled on a sign outside a pub, The Paternoster. “Refreshing Peach Iced Tea or Iced Coffee!”
On a working day, the pub would normally host at least 80 people at lunchtime. But on Monday, when many workers had been encouraged to work from home, there were five.
“It’s usually busier than that,” said bartender Sam Jordan, 22. “I think a lot of office workers are working from home.”
In nearby Paternoster Square, about three dozen people sat on lawn chairs or at picnic tables, some in the shade, having lunch and watching a large screen that had been erected weeks ago so that the public can watch Wimbledon. On Monday, the crowd watched a broadcast about politics and the upcoming battle to choose a new prime minister.
Marilyn Tan, wielding a protective umbrella, said she had just stepped off a plane from Singapore, where the weather was slightly cooler than in London.
“It had no effect on me,” said Ms Tan, 57. “I’m fine. I haven’t even tied my hair back.