West Dorset enjoyed a scorching bank holiday weekend, with thousands of visitors and locals alike heading to the coast to soak up the sun on the hottest day of the year so far.

The economy has been given a boost after what was the hottest early May bank holiday since records began, with temperatures reaching more than 26 degrees C in shade in parts while it was much hotter in direct sunlight.

Traders are reaping the rewards of a sizzling start to the season - with one ice cream parlour selling out of the dessert as sunseekers cooled off in the heat.

Andrew Hartley, manager at Hive Beach, said: “Hive Beach enjoyed an amazingly busy weekend where everyone was out enjoying the sunshine. It was definitely one of our most busy bank holidays that we had had.”

Sarah Wright, of Granny Gothards, only launched her businesses several weeks ago.

She sold out of all 44 flavours as hundreds of visitors queued for a refreshing treat.

Sarah said: "It was busy, busy, busy. We didn't close up until 9.30pm and actually sold out of ice creams. There were constant queues for about six hours; as a new business it was great to get ourselves out there. When they said it was going to be sunny we didn't really listen but when it did actually shine for us it was a huge relief. As a business we rely on the weather.

"The only issue was that parking was a bit of a nightmare with them being closed for work. Some customers said they driving around for an hour looking for somewhere to park."

And West Bay Boat Hire reported a 'fantastic' weekend.

A spokesman for the company said: “Everyone in West Bay had a fantastic weekend. The only problem was the car parks were closed. The majority, however, were happy with the weather. The weekend was on par with one of the best.”