This July is likely to go down as one of the warmest and sunniest on record, according to Met Office data.

Figures from the 1st to the 28th of the month show the mean temperature across the UK was 16.3C (61.3F), which is 1.2C above the long-term average.

If the month concludes in the same trend, it would finish as the joint 8th warmest July since records started in 1910.

However, the average would still fall well short of the record-breaking 17.8C (64F) set in 2006.

The Met Office said the 210 sunshine hours recorded so far are "well above" the average expected for the whole month.

July already ranks as the joint 10th sunniest on record, but meteorologists expect it to climb higher once the remaining days are included.

However, it is unlikely to trouble the record of 256 hours of sunshine set in 1955.

It has also been a relatively dry month, with below-average rainfall.

The UK has seen about 2.3in (59mm) fall in July so far, which is around three- quarters of the average expected for a whole month.

The Met Office added: "Y ou'd normally expect about 90% at this stage."

The month currently ranks as the 29th driest July on record - but forecasters are warning that rain could be on the way this weekend.

Dan Williams, of the Met Office, said: "We are moving into slightly more unsettled conditions and temperatures aren't quite as warm.

"We have had a long run when we were seeing temperatures in the 20s and perhaps into the 30s. We are now looking at the early 20s.

"We are expecting rain in places over the next few days - it won't be quite as warm and dry as it has been."

He added that there was potential for heavy rain in the South West and Midlands on Saturday.