MORE than 100,000 people will have flocked to Bournemouth Beach for what’s on target to be a record-breaking May bank holiday weekend.

Yesterday the beach was packed with day trippers, locals and holidaymakers - and today traders are hoping for much of the same.

On Sunday, as the mercury hit 24C - surpassing temperatures in Cape Town and Barcelona - tourism chiefs confirmed it had been the busiest day for the seafront in 2018.

Yesterday, Bournemouth Tourism boss Jon Weaver told the Echo: “After a disastrous Easter, a terrible start to the holiday season, this has been exactly what Bournemouth needed.

“It is looking like a record early May bank holiday. Normally we’d expect around 60,000 visitors over the weekend, but we are on target for more than 100,000. It is a huge sigh of relief for the town.”

The gardens and Bournemouth town centre were also brimming with holidaymakers yesterday.

Meanwhile, pubs and restaurants along Poole Quay also experienced numerous visitors.

Tony Whitehead, on a stag do from Wolverhampton with his friends, told the Echo: “It has been a brilliant weekend, and the weather has made it. I’ve never seen a beach as packed as this before. The sea is a little on the chilly side, but you quickly get used to it. Yep, its fair to say we’ve all been impressed with Bournemouth.”

By midday on Sunday, Travel Dorset reported limited parking places at the seafront car parks, as beachgoers opted for an early start.

Scores of thrill-seekers took advantage of the conditions to experience the zip wire, while thousands of ice creams were sold throughout the day.

Daytripper Melinda Grange said: “We decided to come down when we saw how lovely the weather was this morning.

“I know we are technically not there yet, but this weekend kind of feels like the start of the summer. There has been a great vibe around the town all weekend. It is a shame we have to drive back later today.”

Traffic delays as visitors flock

LENGTHY traffic delays were reported around the conurbation yesterday afternoon, as tens of thousands of visitors headed to and from the beaches.

Traffic in central Bournemouth, particularly along Bath Road, Terrace Road and Poole Hill built up from midday and lasted throughout the afternoon.

It was also bumper-to-bumper along East Overcliff Drive.

Hundreds of motorists were caught up in queues around Sandbanks and on roads approaching the chain ferry from Swanage.

Just after 2pm a Morebus spokesman said: “The weather brings the good and bad. Unfortunately due to severe congestion in Sandbanks and Swanage, we are seeing heavy delays to our Purbeck Breezer services. Services are running later than scheduled. Apologies for any inconvenience.”

Emergency services were also forced to close the westbound carriageway of theA31 at Red Post, just after 3.30pm, following a single vehicle collision between the Roundhouse Roundabout and Bere Regis.