LONDON — By midday, temperatures in north London had reached 34 degrees Celsius (94 Fahrenheit), but residents were anxiously awaiting Tuesday, when it was predicted to get 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 myself in this heat,” said Ms Suleiman, who is originally from Eritrea. “But I’m worried about my kids.”
Her apartment is getting too hot, she said, and despite the advice to keep her children, ages 6 and 10, home from school, she decided to send them in because she thought it would be cooler there.
Schools, most of them in their last week of school before the summer holidays, did their best to keep children cool, especially in older buildings ill-equipped for the high temperatures. At an elementary school off Portobello Road, staff had set up a wading pool, and the kids could be heard splashing and laughing in the street.
“Especially at night, in the summer in my flat it’s already too hot,” said Ms Suleiman, adding that she feared Monday night would become unbearable.
Ms Al Amin said the women, who are both Muslim and who wore traditional clothing and headscarves, did not mind outside in their lightweight cotton clothes but were concerned about boarding the bus.
“Right now it’s too hard,” she said. “There’s not enough air.”
In Hyde Park, a handful of sunbathers braved the midday heat and laid blankets on the visibly parched grass. A stone’s throw away, would-be swimmers were turned away from the Serpentine Lido, where a sign indicated the facility was full. Among them were Lalou Laredo, 19, and Rachel Trippier, 22, who were disappointed to be rejected but noted that the warm water, which was 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 Fahrenheit), might make them feel worse.
‘London really isn’t good for days like this,’ said Mrs Laredo, 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. “It’s always in the back of our minds,” she said. “It’s frustrating that people still deny it.”
In central London, the neighborhood near St. Paul’s Cathedral was buzzing at lunchtime, despite the heat. A few joggers dodged both traffic and pedestrians in the blazing sun. Tourists stood in the shadow of the cathedral, consulting maps on their phones. Despite the heat, office workers wore takeout jackets outside.
Pubs used the blazing sun to their advantage. “Ice cream baby!” was scribbled on a sign outside a pub, The Paternoster. “Refreshing peach iced tea or iced coffee!”
On a working day, the pub would normally have 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 this,” says Sam Jordan, 22, a bartender. “I think a lot of office workers work from home.”
In nearby Paternoster Square, about three dozen people sat in lawn chairs or at picnic tables, some in the shade, had lunch and watched a large screen set up weeks ago for the public to watch Wimbledon. On Monday, the public watched a show about politics and the upcoming battle for a new prime minister.
Marilyn Tan, brandishing a protective umbrella, said she had just stepped out of Singapore, where the weather was slightly cooler than London.
“This has had no effect on me,” said Ms. Tan, 57. “I’m fine. I haven’t even tied my hair back.”