More sunshine ahead of Olympics

Britain is set to bask in more sunshine and high temperatures in the coming days as the London 2012 Olympic countdown reaches its climax.

The UK enjoyed the hottest day of the year on Tuesday with the mercury tipping 30C and Wednesday is expected to be even warmer, according to forecasters.

Southern areas are set to see the best of the long-awaited summer weather on Wednesday and Thursday as last-minute preparations for the London Games are put into place.

Forecasters also said that showers that are expected in the capital on Friday could have cleared by the time the evening opening ceremony gets under way.

Tuesday's warmest temperature was recorded at Eton Dorney Lake in Buckinghamshire, where the thermometer soared to 30.2C (86F), while St James's Park in central London and Charlwood, close to Gatwick Airport in Surrey, saw temperatures hit 30.1C and 30C respectively.

Billy Payne, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said Wednesday could be even warmer.

"It's looking like it's going to be another fine and dry day for southern areas with temperatures maybe creeping past yesterday's and getting up to 31C (87.8F)," he added. "Further north there will be a fair amount of cloud around and a few showers but temperatures will still reach around 24C (75.2F) in Wales and northern England. Northern Ireland and Scotland could also see the odd spot of rain with highs of around 22C (71.6F)."

Mr Payne said southern parts will remain warm on Thursday with temperatures of around 27C (80.6F) in the capital, but forecast that northern parts would turn more unsettled as a cold front moves in. "The front will move south east into Friday bringing cooler temperatures and showers behind it," he added.

Spells of rain are expect to hit London on Friday afternoon but should have started to die away by the time the Olympic opening ceremony begins at 9pm, Mr Payne said. He continued: "The showers will be heaviest in London on Friday afternoon but may be on the way out by the time the ceremony starts."

Things are expected to start to cool down again on Saturday with temperatures hitting 20C (68F) in the south as the Olympic events get into full swing.