By TAMARA COHEN, SIMON NEVILLE and ANDY DOLAN
Going swimmingly: Young men relax on the River Cam in Cambridge as temperatures climbed today to 29.5c -the hottest October in 26 years
Hot on the heels of the warmest end to September on record, today was Britain’s most scorching October day ever.
Just four weeks before the clocks go back for winter, Britain is in the middle of an Indian summer like no other.
Met Office forecasters said there was a strong chance temperatures in the south could today nudge above the previous high recorded in October– when the mercury hit 29.4c (85f) in March, Cambridgeshire, 16 years ago to the day.
Beachgoers bask in the sunshine at Seaburn where the heatwave has brought people outside to make the most of the Indian summer
Here it comes: The sun rises over River Thames this morning ahead of what is forecast to be the hottest October day ever
Warm daybreak: An early morning jogger makes the most of the sunshine today in Cambridge
One forecaster even predicted temperatures could reach 32c (90f) – close to the highest temperature recorded this year, 33.1c (92f) in Gravesend, Kent, on June 27.
Tourism chiefs said hotels in Brighton and Bournemouth were almost all full as up to 400,000 sun worshippers were expected to flood to the resorts over the weekend.
Tesco predicted it would sell an extra 3.5million sausages in the next three days compared with the number it usually would at the start of October.
Summer leaves in the fall: Esme McDonald, six, from Darlington, County Durham, enjoys the the warm autumn weather today
The sun sets over the West Pier in Brighton, East Sussex, on the final day of September, as the predicted warm weather continues
As one day ends... Met Office forecasters said there was a strong chance temperatures in the south could today nudge above the previous high recorded in October - when the mercury hit 29.4c (85f) in March, Cambridgeshire, 16 years ago to the day
Splash! Students Melina Kukinski and Madita Becker enjoy the sun at the Diana Memorial Fountain in Kensington Gardens yesterday
Parklife: Londoners soak up the rays on the hottest late-September day for a century
Met Office forecaster Dave Britton said yesterday’s warmest spot was Cambridge, which recorded 29.2c (85f) – hotter than the Costa del Sol, Turkey, Cuba and Mexico.
It was around ten degrees above average for the start of autumn.
The previous record for the last day of September was 27.8c (82f), set in 1908 in Maidenhead, Berkshire.
Laid back: Enjoying the deckchairs at Brighton beach yesterday
Jonathan Powell, senior forecaster at Positive Weather Solutions, a network of UK-based independent meteorologists, predicted a 60 per cent chance that temperatures could hit 32c (90f) in the south today.
And Mr Britton said: ‘I will not be surprised if temperatures reach 30c (86f) in parts of the south.’
He added: ‘The high temperatures will continue through Sunday, but by Tuesday temperatures will start to slip back towards the average for this time of year.’
Frolicking: Students Alex Loveridge, Aimae Eleran and Cassie Gruitt enjoy the sun on Bournemouth beach on Friday
Sun worshippers: The Victorians dressed up and headed out to the beach to enjoy the hot weather of September 1895
Contrast: Modern-day sunbathers are rather less inhibited in their choice of attire
Taking a dip: But children were dressed in petticoats even as they went paddling in the sea
Packed: These pictures, from Southsea beach in Hampshire, show that the UK's love of the seaside is no novelty
Rowing: The Victorians took to the water to cool off when temperatures exceeded 80f in late September