Coastal resorts across the country were packed as families grabbed what for many was the final opportunity of the summer for a break. But there was tragedy as a man died after a family of paddle-boarders had to be rescued from the sea in Hampshire. With temperatures climbing to 72F (22C) in some areas, beaches were packed.
Brighton, Bournemouth, Durdle Door and Weymouth were particularly busy on the South Coast, as were Scarborough and Blackpool in the North.
But road safety groups have warned of clogged routes home today. A staggering 18.4 million cars were predicted to be on the roads over the long weekend, as holidaymakers enjoyed the final days of summer.
With the pandemic meaning more staycations than ever before, excessive traffic jams could cause misery for many today.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “Weather is always a big decider on where people spend their bank holiday.
“However, AA research suggests that local traffic may be heavier this time. There are likely to be big delays on the roads where holiday traffic mixes with sporting or shopping day-trippers.
“Drivers are advised to check their cars before venturing out.”
Roads are expected to be especially busy today in the South-west, with Devon and Cornwall reporting a sharp rise in tourist numbers.
The Met Office said the mostly fine conditions would now last for much of this week.
A spokesman added: “High pressure is expected to be in charge across the UK at first.
“Most areas will see a continuation of dry weather with variable cloud and some spells of sunshine.”
Meanwhile, a 51-year-old man was pulled from the sea and airlifted to hospital on Saturday but could not be saved.
Lifeboats were scrambled after two teenagers and their parents got into difficulty half a mile from the shore.
The family had been paddle-boarding off Lepe Beach, near Exbury, Hants, when the horror unfolded.
His three relatives were treated at the scene by paramedics.