The UK has experienced its hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures expected to soar even higher over the weekend.

The mercury climbed to 30C (86F) at around 3.50pm at Achnagart in Scotland on Friday, beating 2019's previous hottest day of 28.8C (84F) on June 2.

Hot weather covered the length and breadth of the country, with Porthmadog in Wales also seeing a temperature of 29.5C (85F).

Over at Yeovilton, near the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, conditions reached a warm 28.3C (83F), but were still some way off 2017's record temperature of 31.2C (88F).

The rising heat is in part due to warm air originating from northern Africa that has brought a scorching heatwave to a large swathe of Europe.

Saturday is set to be the hottest day of the year with temperatures set to hit 34C (93.2F) in London and the east of England.

The highest ever temperature on record for June was 35.6C (96F) in 1976 in Southampton.

People enjoy the sunshine on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset as temperatures are set to rise over the weekend. Credit: PA

Festival-goers enjoying Glastonbury are baking in warm weather with temperatures hitting 28C today and expected to stay in the high 20s this weekend - an unexpected change for annual revellers used to the rain and mud the festival has become known for.

Free sun lotion and a record number of water stations are just part of the contingency plans in place to look after the thousands who have gathered for the highlight of the music calendar.

Glastonbury Festival goers have been urged to drink plenty of water. Credit: PA

Friday's 2019 record looks set to be short lived, with Martin Bowles, a Met Office meteorologist, telling ITV News that Saturday is likely to be the hottest day of the year in the UK.

"The highest temperatures will be in the in the south east, London, the east Midlands, and the home counties.

''We expect it will be 34C which will be hot and there is a 30 per cent chance it will break the record set for the hottest day in June which was 35.6C which was in Southampton in 1976.

''We are expecting to be significantly less warm and fresher after the weekend, with temperatures returning to being closer to the average temperatures for the month, around 22C, 24C, and 18C.''

The hot weather in Britain comes as the heatwave in Europe has seen southern France placed on an unprecedented red alert, with the country recording its hottest day ever, and firefighters in Spain battle wildfires on a scale not seen for 20 years.

MeteoFrance said Villevieille in the southern region of Provence reached 45.1C (113.2F) on Friday afternoon, France's hottest ever temperature since records began.

A lion cools down beside a sprinkler at Blair Drummond Safari Park as temperatures continue to rise across the UK. Credit: PA

Parts of Spain were expected to exceed 44C (111.2F) on Friday, with Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic also setting new records for the month of June.

Government officials have urged caution and a warning that the worst could yet be to come.

The red alert in France signifies a “dangerous weather phenomenon” and is the first since the system was introduced in 2004 following a 2003 heatwave that led to 15,000 premature deaths.

The Sahara-style heatwave spreading over parts of Europe has been caused by an “enormous” reservoir of warm air and has been linked to the deaths of three swimmers on south coast beaches in France.

A 70-year-old man was believed to have been a victim of “thermal shock” after coming into contact with the water during the heat spell on Tuesday, according to French news outlet LCI.

Two other people, a 62-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man, reportedly died in similar circumstances.

Authorities in Milan, in northern Italy, said a 72-year-old homeless man had died at the city’s main train station after falling ill due to the heatwave.