LONDON – Temperatures in north London had reached 34 degrees Celsius (94 Fahrenheit) on Monday afternoon, but residents were looking with concern for Tuesday when it was expected to get even hotter.
Mona Suleiman, 45, and her friend Zaina Al Amin, 40, waited for a bus as the afternoon warmed up.
“I’m not worried about myself in this heat,” said Ms. Suleiman, who is originally from Eritrea. “But I worry about my children.”
Her apartment is getting too hot, she said, and although she was advised to keep her children aged 6 and 10 away from school, she decided to send them in because she thought it might be cooler there.
Schools, most of which are in their final week of classes before a summer break, are doing their best to keep children cool, particularly in older buildings that are ill-equipped to withstand the high temperatures. At an elementary school near Portobello Road, staff had set up a paddling pool and children could be heard splashing and laughing down the street.
“Especially at night, in the summer, it’s already too hot in my apartment,” said Ms. Suleiman, adding that she was afraid that Monday night would be unbearable.
Ms Al Amin said the women, who are both Muslims and wore traditional clothes and headscarves, did not mind the weather outside in their light cotton clothing but were concerned about boarding the bus.
“Right now it’s too difficult,” she said. “There’s not enough air.”
In Hyde Park, a handful of sunbathers braved the afternoon heat and laid blankets on the visibly parched grass. Just steps away, would-be swimmers were turned away by the Serpentine Lido, where a sign indicated the facility was operating at full capacity. Among them were Lalou Laredo, 19, and Rachel Trippier, 22, who were disappointed to be turned away but noted the warm water, which was 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 Fahrenheit), may make them feel even worse would.
“London really isn’t 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 concerned about the new reality of increasingly extreme temperatures.
Mrs. Laredo agreed. “We always have that in the back of our minds,” she says. “It’s frustrating that people still deny it.”
In central London, the neighborhood near St Paul’s Cathedral was buzzing with activity despite the midday heat. A few joggers dodged both traffic and pedestrians in the blazing sun. Tourists stood in the shadow of the cathedral and consulted maps on their cell phones. Office workers wore suit jackets outside despite the heat and carried takeaway food.
Pubs used the blazing sun to their advantage. “Ice cream ice cream baby!” was scrawled on a sign outside a pub, The Paternoster. “Refreshing peach iced tea or ice cold coffee!”
On a working day, at least 80 people would normally have lunch at the pub. But on Monday, when many workers were encouraged to work from home, there were five.
“It’s usually busier here,” said Sam Jordan, 22, a bartender. “I think a lot of office workers work from home.”
In nearby Paternoster Square, about three dozen people sat on lawn chairs or at picnic tables, some in the shade, eating lunch and looking at a large screen that had been set up weeks ago for the public to view Wimbledon. On Monday, the crowd watched a show about politics and the upcoming battle to choose a new prime minister.
Carrying a protective umbrella, Marilyn Tan said she had just stepped off a plane from Singapore, where the weather was slightly cooler than London.
“It doesn’t affect me,” said Ms. Tan, 57. “I’m fine. I didn’t even tie my hair back.”