DORSET was hotter than Jamaica or Florida yesterday, with an estimated 70,000 sun-seekers packing out Bournemouth beach on both days of the weekend.

Huge crowds basked in the hottest day of the year yesterday as the mercury peaked at 29°C (84°F).

“These are the sorts of visitor numbers normally seen at the height of the season,” a Bournemouth Tourism spokesman said.

“This is a really great kick-start to the season. Long may it continue.”

But it wasn't all good news for the town. Hundreds got caught in a ten-mile traffic jam and were stranded in their cars until after midnight last night

And the Echo has been inundated with messages from readers complaining about the mess left behind in the streets and on the beaches. 

Street cleaning teams out on early morning duty yesterday said it was the worst they had ever seen.

Bournemouth Echo:

But hotels and guest houses have been booked out all weekend – and this looks likely to continue into this week.

“We experienced high levels of bookings on Sunday night. It seems people are going to stay on. There may be a few people calling in sick today,” said the spokesman.

Crowds arrived early with the sands around Bournemouth Pier packed by mid-morning, as temperatures put many world hotspots in the shade.

Forecasts for fine weather paid off with last-minute visitors struggling to find beds for the night at Bournemouth’s packed hotels and guesthouses.

Yesterday, the award-winning Lower Gardens were thronged with visitors.

On Saturday the neatly manicured lawns doubled up as a practising ground for competitors limbering up for the National Cheerleading Championships at the nearby BIC.

Poole Quay was also packed throughout the weekend, with businesses, pubs and restaurants reporting brisk trade.

Poole council  reportedly closed the community tennis courts because the temperatures were too high to play.

The good news is that the long-awaited heat wave is set to last with sunny conditions continuing through this week.