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People flock to beaches across England despite warnings to avoid crowds as lockdown eases

Zoe Tidman
Sunbathers enoy the warm weather on the beach near Boscombe Pier in Bournemouth: Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Crowds of people have headed to beaches in England as the country enjoyed sunny weather – and while the public have been told to keep their distance from others to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Sunbathers flocked to the seaside in Dorset and Bournemouth on Saturday amid warnings from scientists the lockdown over Covid-19 is being lifted too early.

Images showed people packed together on beaches as they made the most of the weekend sunshine.

Crowds were seen by the sea at Durdle Door in Dorset, while lots of people enjoyed the warm weather at Boscombe beach in Bournemouth.

Meanwhile in Brighton, photos showed people cramped together along the boardwalk next to the beach.

(Sunbathers enjoy the sunny weather on Boscombe beach (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Travel to outdoor spaces in England - such as parks, beaches and beauty spots – is allowed after the government relaxed some of its lockdown measures over coronavirus.

People can sit outside for as long as they like once they are there.

However, members of the public have been told to avoid crowds and to keep at least two metres away from others when they are outside.

Sunbathers enjoy the warm weather on the beach near Boscombe Pier in Bournemouth (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

People can still only meet one person from another household outdoors – although this is set to increase to six on Monday.

On the final Saturday in May, photos showed rows of people basking in sun by the seaside, despite the warning to avoid crowded spaces as people have more freedom to go outside.

Local councils warned the public to avoid beaches over last week’s bank holiday weekend, despite new government guidelines allowing a day trip to the sea.

People make their way down to the sea Durdle Door as the public have been allowed to go to beaches (Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)

In Brighton, the council issued a statement saying: “Wish you were here – but not just yet.”

Carmen Appich, a city councillor, said: “We are discouraging people from visiting the city at this time, not because we don’t want or value our visitors but because it is in everyone’s best interest right now.”

This weekend, a surge in passengers led to “chaos” on rail services to Bournemouth on Saturday, a union has said.

The beach at Durdle Door was crowded on Saturday, while people have been allowed to go outside as long as they keep their distance from others (Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union blamed “mixed messaging” for the influx of people using their services.

RMT said Cross Country had been forced to try and find additional fleet to cope with the increased passenger numbers.

Mick Cash, the general secretary, said: “The hopeless mixed messaging from the government and the impact of the Cummings affair has resulted in predictable chaos on the railway today with Bournemouth at the eye of the storm.”

People queue for the toilet on Brighton Beach on 30 May (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

England is set to relax more lockdown measures on Monday, including letting people gather outside in small groups and bringing more children back to school.

More than 271,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK, according to health ministry figures released on Friday.

Meanwhile, the death toll stands at 38,161.

Additional reporting by Press Association