By DANIEL MILLER
Scorcher: A woman uses a tablet computer as she basks in the sunshine in Hyde Park today as temperatures were set to hit a sweltering 28c making it the hottest day of the year so far
Dust off that barbeque and break out the bikinis, Britain's sizzling weather is set to continue throughout the weekend with forecasters predicting five glorious days of unbroken sunshine.
As sunseekers continued to pour onto the country’s beaches, parts of the UK have seen temperatures at almost 28c with forecasters predicting today will almost certainly become the hottest of 2012.
Five million sausages - 70 per cent more than normal - are expected to fly off supermarket shelves over the weekend as the country makes the most of the mini heatwave. Supermarkets reported a surge in sales of sausages, burgers and summer tipple Pimms as well as picnic treats such as pork pies.
Asda predicts it will sell one million burgers, half a million bags of salad - 20 per cent more than in a normal week - as well as a 115 per cent increase in burger bun sales.
Hot stuff: Forecasters are predicting five days of glorious unbroken sunshine
In the pink: Sophie Thomson (right), 4, and Iona Edgar, 5, play at the beach front in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Chris Carden, Asda’s head of fresh food supply, said: ‘We have already seen rising sales throughout the week of typical BBQ fare such as burgers and sausages but with the mini heatwave expected to continue into the weekend, we’re expecting it to be one of the biggest we’ve ever seen for barbecue foods.’
Hazy days: The beach front in Stonehaven Harbour, Aberdeenshire was covered in a thick coastal fog known as a haar this morning due to the heat
Met spokesman Helen Chivers added: 'Pretty much everywhere has temperatures in the 20s Celsius and wall-to-wall sunshine.
‘In recent weeks we had low pressure over or close to the UK, bringing rain and cold temperatures.
‘Over the last couple of days, that has given way to high pressure, sunny weather and rising temperatures from the Continent.’
Incredibly Britain was hotter than parts of Australia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. It also left most of the Mediterranean in the shade.
Ahoy there matey: Little pirate Scott Esslemont, 3, plays on the beach front in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Last night early 800 passengers on London's Jubilee Line were left trapped in their carriages for more than two hours in stifling heat after the weather cause mechanical problems. Mayor Boris Johnson has offered £40 compensation to those affected.
London's ambulance service issued a smog warning following an 'unprecedented' rise in calls for breathing trouble and chest pain.
Yesterday saw the hot weather causing problems on the railways with commuters travelling between Leicester, Loughborough and Lincoln
delayed by up to ten minutes because of high temperatures.
Picture perfect: A visitor to the National Trust Gardens at Bodnant near Cowny north Wales takes a photo of the colourful scene
Taking a punt: People pile into boats on the River Cam in Cambridgeshire as they lapped up the sunshine in the hottest day of the year so far
Basking: Sunbathers soak up the sun in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens as the castle makes for a dramatic backdrop
Picnic lunch: Kerry McDermott enjoys the warm sunny weather with her daughter in Harrogate, North Yorkshire today
Cooling off: Four-year-old Megan dips her hand in the water at the National Trust Gardens in Bodant, near Conwy
Take-off: A youngster flies a Kite in Greenwich Park flower gardens. Yesterday Britain was hotter than parts of Australia, South America, Africa and the Middle East
Stroll in the sun: A woman takes a walk near St Huberts Church, near Horndean, Hampshire
Bizarrely, the highest temperature yesterday was not recorded in the south but in the Scottish ski resort of Aviemore.
It also hit 26.9c (80.4f) at London’s Heathrow Airport, 25.9c (78.6f) on Bournemouth’s beaches and 25.6c (78.1f) in London’s St James’s Park.
The heatwave follows weeks of weather so wet that officials have had to coin a new name for the strange situation whereby Britain found itself hit simultaneously by both floods and hosepipe bans.
Environmental Stress due to Rainfall Deficit, or ‘ESRD’ for short, is the term being employed by the Environment Agency. The agency admits it is not exactly catchy but believes it best describes the situation in the 19 counties no longer in drought.
Dudley the lion chills out by licking an ice ball placed in his enclosure by staff at Scotland's Blair Drummond Safari Park to help the big cats stay cool
And this is only the start of it. They plan to create ‘more sophisticated terminology’ to describe an array of dry conditions, and address concerns that the term drought is too ‘blunt’.
The aim is to prevent a repeat of the situation this year where people were told that their areas were officially in drought despite the fact their homes were being flooded.
In future, dry conditions could be divided into a number of sub-categories to describe the level of water shortage and who is affected.
Meanwhile, the arrival of the sun saw betting firm Ladbrokes slash the odds of the temperature soaring past 39c (103f) during the Jubilee weekend from 20/1 to just 8/1.
Cool cat: Libby the Lion cub licks a piece of ice from a broken ice ball which was placed in the lion enclosure by staff at Blair Drummond wildlife park in Scotland
Shower time: Libby the Lion cub puts her head under a water sprinkler at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland
Fun and frolics: Nine-year-old Billie Burgess jumps to burst a giant bubble on the South Bank in London