SEAFRONT traders welcomed the hottest early May bank holiday on record as a massive boost that left Clacton “buzzing”.

Crowds packed the resort’s West Beach, Martello Bay and attractions as temperatures soared across the country.

There was unbroken sunshine and as the day was dry and warm, families set out on trips to the beach and the Tendring countryside.

The sizzling weather caused major traffic delays along the A120 near Marks Tey and Elmstead, and parts of the A12 and traffic also queued up along the A133 to Clacton and Frinton.

Clacton Pier director Billy Ball said it was the busiest time of the season so far as residents, day-trippers and holidaymakers packed on to the attraction.

He said free entertainment for the children and live music for the adults again proved popular, as did the second free fireworks extravaganza of the year on Sunday evening.

“It all goes to show that you have to make hay while the sun shines and it certainly did that all weekend long,” he said.

“It was the warmest early May bank holiday I can remember since we took over nine years ago – and we have never seen so many people on the pier over that particular weekend.

“The town was buzzing and it was great to see the new beaches to the east of the pier really busy, as well as the West Beach and Martello Beach.

“Clacton really comes to life and thrives in the sun and our staff worked hard to keep everyone happy and make sure they enjoyed themselves.

“Hopefully they will want to keep coming back for more family fun throughout the summer.”

Traders and shopkeepers in Clacton said the weather was also a huge boost for shops and restaurants in the town centre.

Shantelle Robinson, who runs the Clacton Weather Centre, added: “The fabulous bank holiday weekend weather was forecast over a week in advance, which is what I feel helped people’s decisions on whether to come to the seaside or not.

“Temperatures were the highest recorded since the formation of the bank holiday in 1978, with Northolt in West London being the warmest place in the UK, reaching 28.7C.

“However, Clacton’s maximum temperature for Monday didn’t reach that high, where close to the beach we managed to achieve 20.8C. With a sea breeze developing late morning this limited any further increases in temperature.”