London is set to bake in temperatures of up to 35°C as a summer heatwave makes its way from Iberia towards UK shores.

Mercury will start rising in thermometers on Tuesday when a tropical continental airmass from Europe sweeps over the Channel.

Parts of south east and central England could see temperatures reach 32 or 33°C on Wednesday, with a chance that could soar to 35°C. Scotland could see readings in the high 20s but conditions will be cooled by clouds.

It means tennis players competing at the All England Club in this year's Wimbledon tournament could see court-side temperatures reach almost 50°C.

Hottest temperatures recorded in Britain

England: 38.5°C, Faversham (Kent), 10 August 2003

Wales: 35.2°C, Hawarden Bridge (Flintshire), 2 August 1990

Scotland: 32.9°C, Greycrook (Scottish Borders), August 2003

Northern Ireland: 30.8°C, Shaw's Bridge, Belfast (County Antrim) and Knockarevan (County Fermanagh), 1978

The spike in temperatures comes after Cordoba recorded highs of 43.7 °C on Sunday (28 June) while France is experiencing temperatures in the high 30s.

The Met Offices's deputy chief meteorologist, Laura Paterson, said the warm air could also bring with it thunderstorms.

"Both Tuesday and Wednesday nights are expected to be warm and humid temperatures will remain in the high teens in many places, possibly low 20s in parts of south east England," she said.

"The very warm air means there is a risk of us seeing thunderstorms on Wednesday or Thursday but the exact timing and location of those storms, if they happen, is uncertain at the moment."

While sun worshippers will rejoice at the forecast, Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England, warned there were also safety concerns.

"Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it's important to look out for them, help them stay hydrated with plenty of cool drinks, and keep indoor areas as cool as possible," he said.