Published: 12:32, 29 March 2021
| Updated: 17:20, 29 March 2021
Even the weather seemed to know about Boris Johnson's 'roadmap' out of lockdown today.
With the sun shining on Kent's numerous parks and beaches one national newspaper even predicted a mass 'bunk off'.
Families and friends are allowed to reunite after three months under the Rule of Six - but only outdoors - while grass roots sport can kick off, picnics can be shared and couples can tie the knot.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking at this afternoon's Downing Street briefing, urged people to take advantage of the moment and the " beautiful weather to play sport, to take exercise and to have fun" and "build national resilience".
The Sun's front page exclusive this morning predicted a 'Great British Bunk Off' with 'millions set to skive' as temperatures soared and restrictions were eased, so we ventured out to see just how busy (or not) our green spaces were.
Mote Park, Maidstone
Friends, new mums and family members who hadn't seen each other for months (apart from over Zoom) reunited today in Mote Park, Maidstone.
Hazel Aldridge and her mum Margaret have not met since November, but speak on the phone every day.
Hazel is clinically vulnerable and her only outings have been to the supermarket. This is her first "leisure" outing for many months. Today the pair were bird watching in the park.
Hazel, 43, said: "I've basically been stuck at home, this is an opportunity to come out and still socially distance. It's a little bit busy and with children it's hard to socially distance. I am a little bit anxious but I try not to look at the people, just make sure you do the right thing.
"It's nice to see there are still people in the world, it isn't the zombie apocalypse."
New mums Chloe Hutchfield, 29 and Penny Shepherd, 30, who met at antenatal classes, were out with their babies, both nine months old.
Speaking about why they decided to meet today, Chloe said: "Because it's sunny,the lovely weather and the babies want to look at people other than us."
Speaking about having a new baby over lockdown, Chloe said: "it's had its challenges, it's nice in a way to have all of that time with them but at the same time your family is missing out on them growing up."
Chloe and Penny were not the only friends meeting again.
Alan Hood, 79, Brian Parrot, 73, Bernard Runting, 83, and David Coombs, 79, were sitting by the lake on deck chairs and benches, with cameras by their side.
They have been meeting on Zoom but as Brian says, it's "not the same", you "don't get the same interaction," he added.
The group had last met in October.
Speaking about meeting today, Alan said: "Sun, blue sky, fresh air, it's lovely."
"The world has usually been sorted out by the time we leave", Bernard said.
Dane John Gardens, Canterbury
School friends Yasmin Bramble, Amber Pout and Sophia O'Leary, 17 and from Faversham, were among those that took the chance to share each other's company and soak up the rays in Canterbury.
Canterbury College students Poppy Cox, Ella Ritchie and Chloe Dilworth were also enjoying meeting up for the first time in months.
Edward Andrews turns 35 today. He's at the Dane John with his girlfriend, and his mum Helen Andrews.
Mrs Andrews said: "I haven't seen Edward since Christmas Eve when I stood outside his flat to wave, so it's lovely to see them again."
Westgate Gardens, Canterbury
Student Grace Philpot has been reunited with mum and dad Heather and Michael Philpot for a picnic.
Her mum said: "This is the first time we've been together in quite a few months. It's lovely."
Students Naz Saddique, Demitra Michael, Anna Conlon, Anastasia Toseland and Olivia Vaughan also seized the opportunity to meet up outside for the first time in months.
Dad-of-four Jamie Askew, 33, from Sheerness, was at the town's sandpit with his youngsters, eight-month-old Poppy and Lottie, five.
He said: "This has been the best Monday ever. It is lovely to see people getting out and being together again, especially the elderly. It;s good to see a bit of normality returning and some light at the end of the tunnel.
"The past year has been chaotic and caused a lot of mental illness for so many. I can see why people get depressed. It has been a nightmare. We have missed the family big time."
His youngest daughter Poppy is a lockdown baby born last August.
Pensioners Sharon and Eric Ambrose managed to drive from Hoo to Sheerness to see their grandchildren for the first time for months.
Sharon, 69, said: "We last saw them just before Christmas when we made a doorstep drop-off to give them their presents.
"We have spoken to them on Facetime but this is the first chance for months we have been able to hold their hands. It is wonderful - although we are still masked-up and taking precautions."
She's pictured with her husband Eric, 63, grandchildren Mathew, two, and Nathan, one, their mum Katie Dollman, 26, and Katie's brother Tommy Dollman, 19.
Husband and wife Colin and Maureen Lyons, both in their 70s and from the Medway Towns, took advantage of Monday's loosening of lockdown restrictions to visit the Isle of Sheppey.
Colin said: "It's good to see people being able to meet up again but it could still all go horribly wrong if they don't take notice of the restrictions still in place."
The car park at Sheerness Golf Course was packed as members took advantage of the new regulations and bright sunshine to book a game.
Club secretary Alex Tindall said: "We were inundated with requests. We have more than 500 paying members and 100 of those were booked to play today."
First on the tee at 7am was veteran member Robert Whitington (corr), 68, who joined 55 years ago and has represented the club in many tournaments. Alex said: "It was only fitting that he should be the first."
The club has had to introduce an electronic booking system for slots which are timed from 7am to 6pm. Alex added: "I'm told that when the system goes live at 8pm every night there is a rush. Only those with the quickest fingers get a slot."
Among those playing today were Ray Seager, 66, and Paul Onslow, 63, who teed off at the 18-hole golf course in Power Station Road just before 9am. Ray said: "It was wonderful to get out again and I'm booked in again tomorrow. It has been an unbelievably long time to wait but the weather was perfect and the green is in fantastic condition.
"We normally play a four-ball so the Rule of Six didn't really apply - apart from on my score card!"
Under existing regulations members still can't access the changing rooms so must change in their cars in the car park and bring their own clubs from home.
But other parts of the county weren't quite as lively...
Faversham Rec Rating: Not very busy
There were a few people at Faversham Recreation Ground today.
Dog walkers and parents pushing prams enjoyed a stroll through the large and peaceful park, taking advantage of the blue skies and warmer weather.
But there were no larger groups in sight as of yet.
Eythorne Rating: Not much going on
Kearsney Abbey, Dover Rating: Peaceful
Kearsney Abbey was a tranquil sanctuary for dog walker's this morning.
But in amongst the birdsong and rustling leaves you could hear a sound not present since before Christmas - the laughter of children.
The park's play area had opened again.
Hythe Seafront Rating: Relatively buzzing
Hythe Seafront was positively teeming, compared to many parts of Kent.
Those not still confined to home offices made the most of a gentle sea breeze and clear blue skies.
There didn't appear to be much bunking off going on.
Central Park, Dartford Rating: Deserted
Sittingbourne Memorial Ground Rating: Peaceful
Martin Ainsworth, who says he has lived in Sittingbourne for most of his life, took a stroll in the sunshine to Sittingbourne Memorial Gardens.
He said: "It has definitely been a good day so far. I have already been to do my shopping this morning. Now, I am sun bathing and just trying to make the most of it, really."
Mark Williams, 43, said: "I have the day off work, so I thought it would be a good idea to head out after checking the forecast for today over the weekend. Let's hope the weather stays like this."
Herne Bay Rating: Calm
What are the rules?
Households are now allowed to meet outdoors or in private gardens. Groups can meet with up to six people or limit themselves to just two households.
The rule of six does include children and people in bubbles with another household. These rules are in place just in time for the Easter holidays, giving families more freedom during a much needed break.
Outdoor swimming pools, tennis, basketball courts and other outdoor sports facilities will be allowed to reopen on Monday.
Those employed at the facilities will return to work and visitors will be allowed to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
Some of the facilities reopening in Kent include Mote Park Watersports Centre, St Andrew Watersports, Canoe Wild, Go Ape and Bedgebury Pinetum treetop courses.
Is it safe to loosen restrictions now?
Over a month ago Andrew Scott-Clark, Kent's public health director, said the goal was for Kent to reach an infection rate of 25 before the end of lockdown - similar to the levels during last summer.
Seven areas have an infection rate over 25 and six have a lower infection rate, as of March 20.
Overall Kent's infection rate is 31.6 which has risen 13% in the last week and Medway's is 32.7.
So although the county is not quite there yet, we still have two weeks before restrictions are lifted more significantly.
Claire Nix, assistant chief constable of Kent Police, said: "As we approach this milestone combined with the warmer weather, it is important we remain focussed and don’t become complacent to the rules.
"The government’s roadmap applies to everyone and should be followed, it is the key for us all to get back to a normal way of life and we seek everyone’s support in continuing to follow the rules."