SCORCHING sunshine is set to drive around 90,000 people onto Bournemouth beaches this weekend.

With an unexpected hot spell sweeping the country, tourism chiefs are predicting more than 40,000 will take to the sands each day of this weekend – the first weekend of October.

Thursday’s predicted figure for beach-goers topped 25,000. On a usual day at this time of year it would usually be around 2,000, according to Bournemouth Tourism.

And as temperatures look forecast to hit 25C–27C today and over the weekend, hotels and guesthouses are also gearing up for a busier than usual spell.

Toddlers were spied paddling in the sea, which is much warmer than the seasonal average, around 16.7C.

And all 500 deck chairs had been hired by mid afternoon on Wednesday with the trend expected to continue throughout the weekend.

A spokesperson for Bournemouth Tourism said hotel staff were reporting a surge in last-minute bookings with some accommodation already fully booked.

And additional seasonal staff have been recalled enabling all services to be open across the weekend, including all beach offices, two land trains, the cliff lifts and catering outlets.

Graham Richardson, tourism manager for Poole said: “We hope to be busy this weekend. The weather looks to be fair and we have been taking more enquiries than usual for this time of year.

“It has certainly brought people out and the Quay area and the town centre is definitely far busier than it would normally be.”

Andrew Woodland, general manager at Menzies Carlton and chairman of Bournemouth Area Hospitality Association said: “Bookings could be up by around 25 per cent for this week.

“As well as some hotels being full for the weekend some have also been taking more bookings mid-week.

“I think quite a few of the hotels will look to be full, certainly for some of the weekend. I think we have got to make the most of it.

“We want people to have a good feeling about Bournemouth. The beach is looking good and the gardens look great too.”

The predicted surge in visitors comes as RNLI lifeguards on Bournemouth and Poole beaches prepare to pack up for the winter on Sunday.

Simon Crayfourd, RNLI Lifeguard Manager for Dorset said: “The end of the lifeguard season seems to have come round quicker than ever.

“As usual this year has been a busy one with the RNLI lifeguards dealing with a range of incidents from major and minor first aids, lost children, and the rescue of people in difficulty in the water.

He added: “For those swimmers, surfers and bodyboarders in the Boscombe area, we encourage them to go to the east of Boscombe Pier, where two RNLI lifeguards will continue to provide safety patrols throughout the winter and can offer safety advice and guidance to those not sure about the conditions.”

RNLI lifeguards will patrol Boscombe beach throughout the winter, including Christmas Day.

Patrols will start at 10am and will initially finish at 6pm, but decrease as the nights draw in.