Summer is returning to Basingstoke this weekend with temperatures of up to 23C expected.

It comes after a disappointing start to July which saw cooler climes and drizzly weather plague the town over the last week.

However the month's fortunes are now turning around, in part thanks to the warmer weather sweeping Europe.

Basingstoke Gazette: Residents enjoying the summer in Eastrop Park in 2016Residents enjoying the summer in Eastrop Park in 2016

According to the Met office, Basingstoke will reach 20C today the UV index rating of 6.

Sunday is expected to even sunnier, with highs of 23C forecast though it will feel much warmer - around 27C.

The warm weather is largely thanks to warm weather on the continent, where temperatures have been between 10C - 15C above average. Madrid in Spain today is expected to be 37C. 

Back in Basingstoke, the mercury will continue rising over the course of the next week with temperatures expected to soar as high as 25C. 

And bookmakers haven't written July off just yet, with bookmakers Coral believing the month will be the hottest on record. 

Their odds are currently at 1-2 for July being the hottest July on record in the UK.

"The rain of early July looks set to become a distant memory and we make this month firmly odds on to break the record as the hottest ever," Coral's Harry Aitkenhead told MailOnline.

Giving the forecast for the weekend, a Met Office spokesman said: "A dry and fine start to the day with early sunshine.

"It will continue largely dry with some sunny spells, although areas of patchy cloud will build during the day and there is the chance of a few showers, particularly for western Scotland, Northern Ireland and north-west England. Mostly gentle winds.

"It will be a dry and fine evening with late spells of sunshine for most. However, northern Scotland will be cloudier, with rain for the Northern Isles. 

Basingstoke Gazette:

Basingstoke Gazette: Residents enjoying the sunshine in lockdown back in MayResidents enjoying the sunshine in lockdown back in May

He continued : "Overnight will continue dry with long clear spells for most but with further rain for the Northern Isles. Mostly gentle winds but moderate for northern Scotland."

Looking ahead to next week, the spokesman added it'll be mostly fine and sunny, though there could be some patches of cloud and rain. 

July's mediocre start comes after a glorious April and May which researchers believe was down to a fall in air pollution as a result of lockdown.

At the University of Birmingham, Professor Francis Pope who studies atmospheric science, suggested a 40 per cent drop in air pollution could be behind the cause of warmer temperatures the nation experienced in April.