UK enjoys hottest day of the year

It was the hottest day of the year so far on Saturday as temperatures soared across the nation.

Most of the UK enjoyed temperatures in the high 20s, but at Cavendish, in Suffolk, the mercury reached 31.7C (89.06F), eclipsing the previous high of 31.4C (88.5F) recorded at London's Olympic Park on July 25.

Much of East Anglia and the South East of England saw the hottest temperatures with Charsfield in Suffolk basking in 31.4C and Santon, Downham, recording temperatures of 31.3C (88.5F). And the baking heat looks set to continue on Sunday, said Gareth Harvey, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division.

Saturday's sweltering conditions saw thousands packing out seaside towns and an increase in sales of barbecue foods and drinks as sun lovers enjoyed the Mediterranean conditions.

Music lovers also enjoyed the warm conditions at the V Festival Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex and Weston Park, Staffordshire. Much of the UK was hotter than popular European holiday destinations such as Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, where tourists enjoyed top temperatures of 29.8C (85.64F).

The Caribbean islands are currently experiencing temperatures of between 30C (86F) and 32C (89.6F). Large parts of Europe were savouring the weather too but it was remarkably hot in parts of France and Italy, with Paris experiencing highs of almost 39C (102.2F) and Florence 38C (100.4F).

The conditions ensured a hot start to the Premier League season on Saturday with hundreds of thousands of fans travelling up and down the country to watch their team play. The sun also provided an ideal setting to the third day of the test match at Lords between England and South Africa.

Mr Harvey said Sunday could see the temperatures in the South East rising further.

"East Anglia and the South East might see 32C (89.6F) in the afternoon. There will be lots of sunny spells but during the afternoon we might see cloud building up and there is a chance of a thundery shower breaking out but that's the exception rather than the rule."

Elsewhere as the day goes on there will be long spells of rain and the possibility of thundery showers in the west and northern parts of England.