SCOTLAND basked in record-breaking sunshine as temperatures reached the highest level ever measured in March.

A high of 22.8°C (73F) – the best in the UK – was recorded at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire, beating the previous March high of 22.2°C in 1965, the Met Office said.

Across the country, parks and beaches were packed as temperatures soared above Majorca and other southerly parts of continental Europe.

Crowds gathered in Glasgow's Botanic Gardens to take advantage of the sunshine while at Nardini's cafe, restaurant and ice-cream parlour in Largs, the sunny weather attracted large numbers of customers. One member of staff said: "We're absolutely mobbed here. I think everybody from Glasgow is down here today."

Major roads across Scotland were busy as families took advantage of the heat.

The Met Office tweeted the official confirmation yesterday afternoon, saying: "We have a new record maximum temperature for March in Scotland! 22.8°C recorded at Fyvie Castle (Aberdeenshire) at 3pm today."

There was further good news to come as for most of Scotland, the good weather looks like continuing for a few days at least.

Dave Clark, a forecaster at the Met Office, said records in various parts of the country were broken yesterday. A previous record maximum temperature of 22.2°C was recorded at Gordon Castle, Moray, in 1957, equalling that recorded at Strachan, Aberdeenshire in 1965.

Aboyne, in Aberdeenshire, yesterday enjoyed 21.7°C, as opposed to the previous high of 19°C. At Tain, temperatures soared to 21°C, breaking the record of 17.5°C. At Abbotsinch, Glasgow, the previous record of 16.4°C was exceeded yesterday with a reading of 19.3°C.

"It's really just the high pressure bringing in nice, warm air of the Continent up across the UK," Mr Clark said. "The warmest finger of air is across Scotland. It's liable to be a little warmer on Monday. We're talking about half a degree. Tuesday will be slightly cooler, to about 20°C.

"The average for this time of year is 10°C, so the very warm temperatures are well above average.

"They'll continue through Wednesday, round about 18°C, and later on Wednesday we'll start to get some cloud in the far north, producing some light rain in the north on Thursday, but for most, it will be another fine, sunny day."

The only cloud on the horizon is that after Saturday conditions "could become much more unsettled again". He added: "By the time we get through the weekend we could actually start to see some snow on the mountains in the north again – so it's probably a case of making the most of this week."