03/05/2013 17:51 BST | Updated 03/05/2013 17:54 BST

UK Weather: Bank Holiday Monday Could Be Hottest Of The Year

A man enjoys sunbathing in the spring sunshine in the Museum Gardens, York.

Bank Holiday Monday could be the hottest day of the year so far as Britain is expected to bask in temperatures higher than in some parts of Italy and France.

Temperatures will get gradually warmer throughout the weekend and will creep above 20C (68F) in some places on Monday, beating temperatures in the sunny European destinations.

The warmest day of the year so far was on April 25 when temperatures climbed to 23C (73F), and forecasters believe Monday may break that record, or at the very least match it.

Paul Mott, a meteorologist at MeteoGroup, said that while the temperatures over central and eastern England are expected to be in the low 20s, it might just climb above 23C in London and East Anglia.

"There's a chance it could be the warmest day of the year so far. Temperatures will be higher than quite a bit of Italy.

"Northern parts of Italy and south east France will be about 20C," he said.

This year's expected sunny Bank Holiday will be a big improvement from last year, which saw rain and a temperature high of 16C (60.8F) at Exeter Airport.

Temperatures hit 20C in London today, and Mr Mott said the capital and East Anglia can expect the best weather Britain has to offer this weekend - with some mixed conditions elsewhere.

"Today has been quite a contrast in the weather. It's been a wet day in Scotland with 30-40mm of rain in northern Scotland and temperatures of just 4C (39F). Quite a miserable day," said Mr Mott.

He said conditions there will not be the best in Britain as the weekend continues, adding: "Scotland and Northern Ireland will have more cloud and rain as well, particularly in the west of Scotland."

The outlook is positive elsewhere with Monday predicted to be the best day.

Saturday morning may be cloudy and showery but it is expected to brighten up as the day progresses, and will continue to improve into Sunday.

"Eastern areas of England will be good on Sunday with lengthy periods of sunshine," Mr Mott added.

The warm weather is expected to see a surge in demand for barbecues, with Asda reporting a sales increase of 142% while Marks and Spencer report sales of its barbecue range 'The Grill' are expected to double on last year.

Meanwhile Superdrug has reported an increased demand for beauty products such as false toe nails, wax strips and fake tan.