The UK is set to bask in balmy temperatures over the coming days, with a possible heatwave on the way, according to the Met Office.

Forecasters are expecting temperatures to hit the high 20s in the east of England, including Essex, by the end of the week.

And it could soar even further next week.

Much of the country has seen a drab start to July, with temperatures a degree and a half below average for the month, but a period of sustained high pressure will follow, bringing warm sunny days and dry spells.

A map released by the Met Office on Twitter shows most of Essex is most likely to reach its heatwave threshold from Sunday.

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Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said: "Certainly through this weekend we could see temperatures up into the high 20s, particularly in parts of the south and east of UK, and that high pressure that's driving the more settled conditions and high temperatures staying dominant through next week as well, with temperatures expected to continue to rise through next week."

Asked if the UK can expect a heatwave next week, Mr Claydon added: "With those settled conditions in place, and the high pressure remaining dominant, it's something that we'll have to look at once we get a little bit closer to time."

Current Met Office forecasts are predicting 28C (82F) in London next Monday, and if temperatures continue to rise as expected, it would mark the start of a heatwave in the capital.

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Mr Claydon said: "Temperatures certainly over the next couple of days are getting close to average for the time of year in terms of maximums that we'd expect."

Parts of the UK have already seen high temperatures in 2022, with the hottest temperature of the year so far recorded at 32.7C (90F) in Santon Downham, Norfolk, on June 17.

The picture is gloomier in the north and west of the UK, however, as Mr Claydon said: "The higher pressure is more dominant in the south-west of the UK, with low pressure still influencing the north and west of the UK with rain at times through much of western Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"So certainly the south and east faring better over the next few days in terms of brightness, but also temperatures, and as with the UK climate, those higher temperatures are expected in parts of the south and east of the UK."