Humidity was high in many parts of the country as temperatures remained close to 30C (86F), but forecasters predicted the weather would break over the weekend.
For while the mini -heatwave is set to continue, it is only today that the rocketing temperatures are expected to continue uninterrupted.
The heat-wave continues unabated on Bournemouth beach todayParts of the country saw the thermometer climb to almost 29 degrees - warmer than Los Angeles, Mallorca and Barcelona.
The hottest place was Cramwell in Lincolnshire where temperatures soared to 28.6 degrees. That was higher than the previous record set on Thursday of 28.2 C.
London meanwhile enjoyed temperatures of 28 degrees with most parts of the country recording temperatures of 26 degrees
Occasional thundery showers, particularly in the north and west of the country, will interrupt the good weather on Saturday and Sunday.
With temperatures rocketing staff at Edinburgh Zoo have set up sprinklers to keep these penguins under a constant 'rain' as they stand on nesting rings.
How do you keep a penguin cool in a heatwave? The staff at Edinburgh Zoo have come up with a perfect solution - constant 'rain' from sprinklersBut the warm weather won't stop millions flocking abroad today for their summer holiday.
Despite the credit crunch many families have chosen to fly off for their summer break and with the last schools shutting today travel chaos is expected on the roads, railways and at major airports.
Almost one million people are due to flood London's three major airports, with terminals even more crowded than usual.
Cooling off: A group of girls enjoy the hot weather today on a beach near Padstow, CornwallMore than 420,000 are set to fly out of Heathrow, about 325,000 to leave Gatwick and 160,000 from Stansted.
Top destinations are New York, Dublin and Paris from Heathrow; Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Dalaman in Turkey from Gatwick and Dublin, Rome and Alicante from Stansted.
With most London state schools breaking up this week, today is expected to be the peak day, with an estimated 107,500 departures from Heathrow, 65,300 from Gatwick and 40,500 from Stansted.
Big getaway: Airports, roads and railways will be full of families making heading for their annual summer holiday this weekend (file picture)But for holidaymakers staying in Britain, the roads are not expected to be as bad as at Easter and Christmas.
Traffic on main roads out of London will be about 10 per cent up on normal, according to the AA.
'It will not be as bad as it sometimes can be, said spokesman Luke Bosdet. 'The worst times, however, will be tonight and Saturday morning as people head out of London on holiday.
'The biggest shock for drivers who have been used to filling up their tank just once a fortnight or so will be the sheer cost of fuel on a long journey.'
Packed: Families in their hundreds headed for Weymouth beach on Wednesday to enjoy the sunRoutes likely to be worst-hit this weekend include the M25 - especially western sections - the M4, A3, M3 and A303 to the west and southwest.
Other roads that will carry heavier than usual traffic include the M23 to the south, the M20, M2 and A2 to the south-east and the M11 and M1 to the north. The M40 to the Midlands could also be busier than usual.
It is a bleaker picture on the railways, with the prospect of major delays for holidaymakers.
Transport bosses say the summer is the best time to close sections of the network because that is when many people are on holiday.
A spokesman for Network Rail, which is responsible for maintenance, said: 'We have chosen times and dates carefully for our engineering work, which must be done to make essential improvements.
'We apologise to passengers for inconvenience they may suffer but our work will result in an improved service for the future.'
Sun worship: Natalie Andrews, 19, enjoying the July sun on Brighton beach this weekPeople staying at home will at least be able to enjoy some relatively nice weather over the next few days.
Temperatures across the country will remain high, with the chance today could become the year's hottest day so far.
Bookies William Hill are offering 6/1odds that this week will produce the hottest day of the year. To do so, it would have to beat the 28.2C (83F) reached in May.
Taking it easy: Children enjoy a donkey ride on Weymouth beach