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Britons soak up weekend rays amid European heatwave

Highs of 33C (91.4F) could be reached on Tuesday in parts of the south east.

A balmy weekend is being enjoyed by Britons as southern Europe’s heatwave swelters on.

The mercury is set to rocket past 30C (85F) in parts of the UK on Sunday and into next week, the Met Office predicted.

The hottest areas on Sunday are expected to be around London and stretching north to the midlands.

Sun-lovers hitting the beaches on England’s south coast on Saturday felt the brunt of the heat, with a peak temperature of 29.8C (85.64F) reached at Gosport, Hampshire.

Britons soaking up the weekend rays were urged to stay “sun sensible” amid the high UV levels.

Temperatures could soar even higher early next week, with highs of 33C (89.6F) possible in parts of the south east on Tuesday.

South Lincolnshire and the north of Norfolk are predicted to experience the hottest conditions.

However, not all of the UK will be gazing into clear blue skies – in Scotland and Northern Ireland clouds are likely with some thick enough to bring patchy rain from the west.

The north-west, south-east split will continue early next week, with further showers expected across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

England and Wales are to stay generally dry and warmer, with the exception of possible thunderstorms across the south east on Tuesday.

Temperatures will need to climb significantly if they are to come close to England’s current August record – 38.5C (101.3F) reached in Faversham, Kent, in 2003.

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Girls sunbathe in the hot sunny weather during Bestival at the Lulworth Estate in Dorset (Ben Birchall/PA)

However, the intense heat is likely to lessen come Wednesday.

Forecaster Dean Hall said there will be “quite a marked change to the feel of things” from the middle of the week as conditions turn “fresher and more changeable”.

It is likely to stay cooler throughout next weekend, he said, with “no real sign of any return of the heat that we have been seeing over the recent days”.

It comes amid a sweltering European heatwave, with holidaymakers in Portugal and Spain feeling the sun most intensely.

The mercury is being driven higher by a hot air mass moving north from Africa, bringing dust from the Sahara Desert.

British holiday-makers abroad are being warned to avoid spending time in the sun during the hottest part of the day and to keep hydrated.

Earlier this week local records were smashed in eight areas of Portugal.

Red health alerts for extreme heat have been issued for more than half the country, with thermometers passing 46C (114.8F) on Saturday.

The hot, dry conditions have led to several Portuguese wildfires.

Nearly 700 firefighters and 10 water-dumping aircraft were fighting the biggest outbreak, which has burned 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) near the town of Monchique in the southern Algarve region.

In Spain, heat warnings have been issued for 41 of the country’s 50 provinces, with the top temperature of 46.6C (115.8F) reached at El Granado.

The stifling conditions played a part in the deaths of two men, one in Barcelona and the other in the southern Spanish region of Murcia, according to Spanish authorities.

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