TENS of thousands of people flocked to Bournemouth to bask in glorious sunshine during potentially the warmest Easter weekend for 70 years.

Sunseekers as far as the eye could see took to the beach and a few brave souls even enjoyed a dip in the sea to cool off on Saturday and Sunday as the mercury soared to 25C during the extended bank holiday break.

People queued for ice creams at kiosks on the beachfront and the busy scenes extended into the Lower Gardens.

Bournemouth Echo:

Nicola Goode, of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s tourism department, said on Good Friday over 150,000 people visited Bournemouth town centre, gardens and beach, with over 47,000 alone enjoying the beach.

Saturday saw over 52,000 visitors to the beach and beach equipment sold out by lunch time. With the good weather continuing today, tourism bosses estimate Bournemouth and Poole will have welcomed over 640,000 visitors over the Easter weekend.

Bournemouth Echo:

Nicola said: “We’ve never had an Easter weekend like this. With bank holidays we’ve always got something to compare against, with Easter it’s always raining or there’s at least one day that’s a bit rubbish but this year we’ve struck it lucky and Bournemouth is obviously the place everyone is coming to.”

Extra cleaning teams were ready to cope with the impact of additional visitors.

Bournemouth Echo:

Poole and Christchurch also enjoyed a boost in visitors with Sandbanks car park already full by 10am on Friday, and similar scenes on Saturday and Sunday.

Adam Richardson of Picnic Park Deli in Westover Gardens said: “It’s like summer’s arrived overnight.”

He said that trade had been “non-stop” since 9am and staff had been busy selling ice creams and grilled sandwiches to customers.

Bournemouth Echo:

Sheila Goodbody from Frome booked a last-minute trip to Bournemouth with her husband.

She said: “When they said the weather forecast was going to be good, I said ‘let’s go away for the weekend’.”

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” she added.

Local weather enthusiast Jim Smith recorded 25.4C at his Springbourne-based weather station on Saturday afternoon. He said it was the warmest April day according to his records for the past 24 years. The previous record was 24.7C which he recorded in April 2003.

Yesterday brought more warm temperatures, with highs of around 25C again.

The UK’s warmest Easter temperature was the 29.4C recorded at London’s Camden Square on Easter Saturday in 1949.

Other warmest Easter weekend days include the 26.9C recorded at London’s St James’s Park on Good Friday in 2011 - when the mercury also reached 25.3C on Easter Sunday and 24C on Easter Monday, both in the Solent.

The mini hot spell is due to an 880-mile gust of hot air from across the Mediterranean.

Britain enjoyed warmer temperatures than parts of Spain, Portugal, Ibiza and Greece at the weekend.

More sunshine and highs of 18C and 19C are predicted for today and tomorrow with temperatures cooling as the week goes on. By Friday there will be showers and highs of just 13C.

Forecaster Jim Smith added: “For those wondering if this spell is the precursor to a fine summer - beware! We had a similarly warm day in April 2007 - but we had to wait till late August that year for a warmer day! Summer 2011 was pretty poor as well.”