UK heatwave: Where can you keep cool in Wales?

Rhyl Image copyright BBC Weather Watcher/JJ infinity
Image caption Rhyl is looking glorious in the sun

Are you feelin' hot, hot, hot?

The UK has had its hottest July day on record, with temperatures reaching 38.1C (100.6F) in Cambridge. It reached 30C (86F) in several places around Wales, with the heat causing some travel disruption.

The Welsh record was set on 2 August 1990 at Hawarden Bridge, Flintshire, when it reached 35.2C (95.3F).

With the summer holidays upon us, how can you get out of the house but keep cool as Wales basks in the summer sun?

#hottestdayoftheyear is trending on Twitter, mainly with people sharing gifs and memes of how to stay cool.

The temperature reached 30C in Cardiff, Bala, Bodelwyddan, Hawarden, Newbridge -on-Wye and Usk and peaked at 31C in Gogerddan, according to BBC weather forecaster Derek Brockway.

So if you fancy taking in a bit of history and culture without having to break out the factor 50, castles and cathedrals, with their high ceilings and often stone buildings, are ideal.

Llandaff Cathedral, St Asaph Cathedral or Brecon Cathedral to name but a few would be great places to cool off.

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Media captionHot tots? How are mums dealing with the heatwave?

In keeping with history and culture, the National Trust has a wealth of places to explore, including Colby Woodland Garden which has an industrial past and a secret garden.

A country house with its thick walls, marble floors and servants quarters below stairs mean these places are several degrees cooler than the temperature outside, Penrhyn Castle or a shady underground tour of Dolaucothi Gold Mines might also suit.

While the sheltered parkland of Erddig could provide you with a much-needed break from the sun.

At Folly Farm in Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire, they keep the animals cool with iced treats and a good old-fashioned hosing down.

Image copyright Folly Farm
Image caption A lemur enjoys an iced treat to keep cool in the heat
Image copyright Folly Farm
Image caption Time for a shower!

Or how about making the most of Wales' slate caverns?

Rob Owen, owner of Llanfair Slate Caverns near Harlech, said plenty of people are visiting the caverns as a place to keep cool.

"It's been steady in the morning and then everyone heads down to the beach in the afternoon.

"You do feel a difference, it's 10 degrees (50F) constant all year round."

Image copyright Llanfair Slate Caverns
Image caption The tunnels and caverns were man made over 100 years ago with only candles for lighting

We are gifted with a number of glorious national parks in Wales and they can offer some areas of shade while still enjoying the great outdoors.

Who can forget the waterfalls at Brecon Beacons National Park?

One part of the park, at the head of the Vale of Neath, has so many it is called Waterfall Country.

Many of these cascades are easily accessible on foot, but make sure you are safe and don't go into open water.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption "Waterfall Country" at Brecon Beacons National Park

But on days like these, spare a thought for the people working in this heat.

Mike Woods, owner of Just Love Food Company, in Blackwood, Caerphilly county, said: "On a day-to-day basis it can be really tricky trying to work in the heat.

"That's not just when it's hot, it can get really hot anyway in the factory. I make sure that my staff all get regular breaks and are drinking plenty of water.

"We also have big electric fans throughout the workplace which really make a difference."

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Barry Island - dubbed Barrybados by the locals - is a very popular destination when the sun is out

Staying safe in the sun

Police have warned of the risks of cooling off in open water - if you do feel you want to take a dip, have a read on how to stay safe.

Britain is not used to such extreme temperatures, which means some people could be vulnerable to heat exhaustion.

The NHS recommends keeping all babies under six months out of direct sunlight, and older infants should be kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly between 11:00 and 15:00.

They should be kept in the shade or under a sunshade if they're in a buggy or pushchair.

Sun cream with a high sun protection factor should be applied regularly - particularly if children are in water.

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