THE weather this weekend is set to be the best so far this year and hotter than parts of Spain, Italy and Greece.

As temperatures on Saturday are expected to soar to 24 degrees, they could top Ibiza, where 21 degrees is predicted, or Rhodes in Greece where the barometer might not rise above 22 degrees. Naples, Italy, is set for temperatures of only 19 degrees.

A spokesman for The Met Office said: “We are looking to see some of the warmest weather this year at the weekend, with temperatures in parts of Sussex hitting 24 degrees.

“Brighton is likely to fall a bit shy of that. But we are looking at something in the low 20s.”

Business owners have predicted the heat wave will bring sun-seekers flocking to the city.

David Sewell, owner of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe and chairman of the North Laine Trading Association, said: “Good weather is everything for an open air business like the cafe and we are very much looking forward to this weekend.

“When the Met start making this kind of forecast, people from London, Croydon and Crawley make plans to come down to the coast rather than leave it to decide on the day.

“That's when the town gets packed and Brighton really buzzes.”

When the sun started to shine yesterday some businesses were already reporting a boost in trade.

Elly Trimingham, manager of beach sports venue Yellowave in Madeira Drive, said: “All six of our beach volleyball courts are booked up all day on Saturday, which is the first time this has happened this year.

“We have already seen a lot of trade - the cafe has been really busy.”

Jo Woollcott, of vintage ice cream van business Vintage Scoops, said: “If it's sunny we will sell loads of ice cream.

“We're doing two events in Brighton this Saturday - when the sun shines, we make hay.”

The spokesman for the Met Office said: “Spring is a transitional month so we get these periods of warmer weather.

“It's not likely to last beyond the weekend, though - by Monday we will probably see some clouds and maybe a few showers.”

The warmest weather the UK has seen so far this year was when temperatures reached 22 degrees in Aviemore on April 28.

However, the Scottish town will remain chillier than Sussex on Saturday with predicted temperatures of only 16 degrees.