The scorching weather also brought traffic misery with main routes near coastal resorts grinding to a halt due to the huge crowds flocking to the beaches.
Dozens of cars were backed up in traffic jams near Hastings, East Sussex, and there were long delays on the M5 near Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Many frustrated drivers and passengers took to Twitter to complain about trips taking hours longer due to traffic.
One said it had taken 30 minutes just to get out of a petrol station.
In Bournemouth, local businesses were celebrating after more than 100,000 people flocked to the area for the bank holiday weekend which more than made up for a poor Easter.
Traffic queued back for more than 15 miles from the coast, sea front car parks were full and almost all of the resort's 3,000 deckchairs were snapped up early.
Jon Weaver, head of resort marketing for Bournemouth council, said: "This has been exactly what Bournemouth needed.
"Normally we would expect around 60,000 visitors over a bank holiday weekend, but we are on target for more than 100,000. It is a huge sigh of relief for the town."
The hot weather is set to continue in the coming days, with temperatures predicted to hit 29C as hot air arrives from southern Russia.
However, Brits have been warned to enjoy it while it lasts as thunderstorms are set to hit the UK by the end of the week.
Today's record temperature – recorded in Northolt – beat Mexico City's 23C, and means it is now officially the hottest May Bank Holiday weekend ever.
Meanwhile sunseekers in Ibiza were disappointed by 16C and gloomy skies, and tourists in Marbella were treated to a rainy downpour and temperatures as low as 17C.
Today's temperatures marked the hottest early May Bank Holiday since it was introduced 40 years ago, beating the 23.6C in 1999.
A woman takes a dip in the sea in Tenby, cooling off from the baking spring heat
Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst said: "We have smashed the warmest Bank Holiday Monday for early May, but for the whole bank holiday weekend itself we have got to be over 28C (82.4F).
Bookies have slashed the odds that this month will end as the hottest May on record in the UK after taking a flurry of bets over the last couple of days.
Coral is offering 5-4 that the record high of 32.8C is recorded this May, while they are 1-2 that it is 20C or higher during Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.
A man in his 50's died today while running the Belfast City marathon in the heat, cops have confirmed.
While a tombstoner in Portland had to be rescued today after he struck his head on submerged rocks while jumping into the sea.
He suffered concussion and deep cuts to his head after not realising the rocks were lying underneath the Dorset water.
Meanwhile a coastguard rescue helicopter rushed to Hayling Island beach after a teenager was thrown from her horse and suffered leg injuries.
She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and the horse was removed from the area.
Yesterday the mercury hit 22.3C in Edinburgh, while 20.8C was recorded in Katesbridge in County Down – with Sunday recorded as the hottest day of 2018 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The highest temperature across the UK was recorded in Heathrow, West London, at a scorching 26.3C.
Craig Snell from the Met Office told Sun Online: "In most parts of the UK we're going to see wall to wall sunshine.
"We're likely to see 26C, with temperatures particularly high in London.
"Right across England we're looking at temperatures between the low and mid 20s."
After the Beast from the East left Britain shivering in snowstorms and rock bottom temperatures, the Roast from Russia will make amends – offering a glorious heatwave.
Scotland and Northern Ireland are likely to to be a little cooler, but will still be largely sunny.
Sea fog could bring cooler temperatures to coastal areas, with Angelsea dropping down to 11C.
Mr Snell added that there was even a 30 per cent chance of breaking the record for the hottest bank holiday on record over the three days.
The weather is set to become more mixed as the month progresses, and the May 19 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle draws near.
Sunshine is likely to continue into the working week, with temperatures in the low 20s predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Yesterday the temperatures caused travel chaos, with Southern Rail advising passengers for Brighton and the South Coast not to travel due to overcrowding.
Replacement buses were also provided due to engineering works, and at one point National Rail said there was a two-hour wait to board a bus at Gatwick Airport.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Passengers will rightly be frustrated to find they can't travel on the bank holiday weekend.
"These works and the weather were no surprise – so why has Southern failed to provide enough rail replacement buses?
"We'll be working with the operator to find out what went wrong and to ensure that passengers aren't left high and dry next time they plan a trip to the seaside on a weekend."
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