IT'S going to be a scorcher!

Southampton residents can get set for blazing sunshine and temperatures hotter than Barcelona, Athens, and Palma this bank holiday weekend.

Forecasters predict that the mercury could top out at 21C on the south coast on Saturday and Sunday, with slightly cooler temperatures on Friday and Monday.

And while many Southampton FC fans will be heading up to Newcastle to see Saints play at St James' Park, the warmest areas of the UK will be in the south.

Good Friday will be pleasant before the mercury rises to exceed 20C (68F) in areas on Saturday and Sunday, said forecaster Simon Partridge.

Mr Partridge said: "After there was a chilly spell this weekend, we are going to see temperatures gradually increase through the week.

"By the weekend we could see in parts of the country temperatures of around 20C, or just above."

The highest temperature ever recorded for an Easter weekend is 27.8C which occurred in two different years.

The first was in Heathrow, west London and Mildenhall, Suffolk in 1949 and the second was recorded Wisley, Surrey in 2011.

The dual bank holidays have also given residents the chance to boost their time off work.

Research by Abta, the travel agents' association, and a survey of more than 2,000 adults by YouGov shows almost 6% of the UK population plans to take annual leave from work between the Easter bank holiday and May Day bank holiday, or travel with someone who has.

Employees who usually work Monday to Friday and take nine days leave between April 19 and May 6 will enjoy 18 days off, Abta said.

Popular destinations for Easter breaks include Majorca, Turkey, Spain, Egypt, Tunisia, Cyprus, Malta and the Canary Islands.

The extension of Brexit until October 31 will prevent politics from complicating travel plans in the meantime, the association said.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, said: "People only have so much time off they can take from work, so it's no wonder the back-to-back bank holidays have appealed to so many this year.

"Not only do people have the opportunity for a longer break, with Easter being so much later this year many destinations that are closer to home will appeal as the weather is likely to be warmer than Easter 2018."