Forget April showers: Hail and temperatures of -2C predicted

Forget April showers: Snow and temperatures of -2C predictedPA

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across the UK as heavy rain, hail, gale force winds of 60mph and flash floods are forecast.

Not one corner of the country will escape the wet and wintry conditions, and dangerous driving warnings are already in place in central Scotland because of the threat of landslides in Argyll.

Snow and thundery showers are predicted for northern England and Scotland as Arctic winds from Scandinavia take hold - and they're expected to stretch as far as the Midlands.

Meanwhile, the south will be battered by gales and heavy rain. The Met Office issued warnings for London, the South West, the South East, Wales and the West of England due to flooding on roads and high winds.

Hail storms are also forecast across the country, some of which could be up to 1cm thick.

Forget April showers: Snow and temperatures of -2C predictedPA

The Met Office says that rain will continue into the weekend, and the unsettled weather shows no signs of letting up.

Is the miserable weather getting you down? Here's something to cheer you up. You can but dream...

The secret island gems of the Caribbean
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Forget April showers: Hail and temperatures of -2C predicted

Bonaire is known primarily as a spectacular dive site, ringed by a series of offshore reefs.  But Bonaire is also a landlover’s destination, with a developing art and dining scene, and a slew of land-based activities. In the main town, Kralendijk, visit Cinnamon Art Gallery, founded by a trio of artists, or any number of fine restaurants featuring French, Italian, Argentine and creative cuisines. Bonaire is, however, a long way from becoming an urban mecca. Here, the flamingo population rivals the human one, building size is strictly limited, and the circumference of the island is a protected marine park. Stones marked with the names of dive sites can be seen from the coastal roads and a 'two minutes’ swim (literally) will reveal a reef teeming with marine life. Drive-through dive stations allow divers to refill their tanks before heading out to other alluring spots.  Don't fancy diving? Sign up with the Mangrove Info and Kayak Centre for a kayaking session through the pristine mangrove system – one of the few left in the world; drive north up the west coast past a prime flamingo-viewing lake called Goto Mere; spend a day in Washington-Slagbaai National Park amidst more than 13,000 acres of flora and fauna; see rock formations like Seru Bentana (Sky Window), and spot any number of birds and beasts at the Pos Mangel watering hole.
Stay at: The Harbour Village Beach Club in Kralendijk.

Travellers come to Anguilla for the natural beauty and quiet atmosphere, the 33 sparkling beaches, art galleries, and many other historical and cultural gems. Beach options are seemingly endless: Rendezvous Bay, Cove Bay and Mead’s Bay are among the best. Smaller pocket beaches include Limestone Bay, known for its snorkelling, and Little Bay, reached only by boat. Captain’s Bay and Junk’s Hole Bay are more remote, Shoal Bay East is undoubtedly the island’s most popular beach, while Scrub Island, Prickly Pear and Dog Island are excellent snorkelling destinations.  Activities on land include horse riding, bird watching (there are 136 species), biking and sampling spirits at the Pyrat Rum Distillery. Visit the Arawak 'spirit eyes' petroglyphs in the caverns at Big Springs Heritage Site and the 1,000-year-old artefacts at the Heritage Collection Museum. Art lover? You'll enjoy touring Anguilla’s 16 galleries, which feature a mix of local and Caribbean crafts, woodcarving, hand-blown glass and fine art.
Stay at: The Viceroy Anguilla for beachfront bliss.

Belize has the second largest living barrier reef in the world, running the entire 185-mile length of the country, and is revered among scuba divers and fishermen. But there's more - 3,000 foot-high mountains, waterfalls, jungles, dramatic Maya sites and rich culture. Nature, undoubtedly though, is the biggest draw to Belize: manatees, monkeys, keel-billed toucans, rare orchids, green iguanas, blue morpho butterflies, Jaguars and 570 bird species, to name a few. The highlights for divers are the famed Blue Hole and three coral atolls: Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef and Turneffe Islands. Visit partially excavated Maya sites such as Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha and Lamanai, or explore the country’s vast caves and glimpse into the Maya underworld, where you can see fire pits, artefacts and skeletons of human sacrifices while hiking, tubing or canoeing with headlamps. Belize has three primary tourist destinations: Ambergris Caye off the north coast especially attracts divers and snorkellers, while the main town, San Pedro, features sand streets, art galleries and a few beach bars over the water; the Cayo District, on the western border with Guatemala, hosts a tropical rainforest and the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. Placencia, along the south coast, has the nicest beaches in the country and is a gateway to the offshore cayes and atolls.
Stay at: Blancaneaux Lodge, a jungle getaway owned by Francis Ford Coppola.

Curaçao is one of the Caribbean’s most sophisticated capitals. Don’t miss the Maritime Museum, the Sea Aquarium, and the Curaçao Postal Museum to see bright Antillean stamps. Visit the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the Caribbean’s oldest continuously operating synagogue, with a fine display on the island’s Jewish history. Serious divers come for the spring Curaçao Dive Festival to participate in a week's worth of workshops such as Underwater Digital Photography. The western shores have a series of beautiful beaches, each one occupying a separate cove: popular Daaibooi, tiny Playa Lagun, and Knip, which opens onto a large bay of luminous water. Also in the west is Christoffel Park. Drive, hike, or ride a horse through kadushi cactus, tamarind, divi-divi trees and lignum vitae trees, along the road curving upward to amazing vistas of Mount Christoffel. The locally-famous Jazz Night at Blues Restaurant on a pier overlooking the sea is not to be missed.  Classy, joyful and mellow, it’s the perfect summary of what’s so appealing about Curaçao.
Stay at: Hotel Kura Hulanda, a luxury boutique hotel in a UNESCO world heritage site.

Bequia is the second largest of the islands and cays that make up the island state of St Vincent & the Grenadines. It's the quintessential island paradise with pristine white sand beaches, lush interior, pretty wooden waterfront houses, a multitude of water sports and welcoming people. Port Elizabeth, Bequia’s atmospheric capital built along the harbour of Admiralty Bay (considered one of the safest harbours in the Grenadines and a magnet for visiting yachts), has shops, restaurants and markets stretching out several blocks along Front Street. Bequia is surrounded by some of the most beautiful waters in the world for sailing; head to the famous Tobago Cays, rub shoulders with the rich and famous on Mustique (nine miles west of Bequia), or take a picnic to the nearby deserted island of Isle de Quatre. There are more than 30 underwater dive sites on this charming island that only has a population of 5,000, including The Bullet where rays, barracuda and nurse sharks mingle, and a shipwreck at Devil's Table.  Don't miss a trip to Orton King’s Turtle Sanctuary, which has been caring for young Hawksbills since 1995.
Stay at: Bequia Beach Club overlooking the beautiful Friendship Beach.

There’s a reason why Dominica is branded as the 'Nature Island’ of the Caribbean: lush rainforests, rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, rushing rivers, hot springs, the world’s second biggest boiling lake and whale-watching tours promise an unforgettable experience. The quickest way to picture this unspoiled island? Just think of Pirates of the Caribbean, as this is where the second instalment of the movie was filmed. Dominica is a world leader in sustainable tourism, offering a selection of eco-friendly properties to stay at; there are no hotel chains here and even the biggest hotel on the island only has 70 rooms. In 2012 the first and only long-distance walking trail in the Caribbean, the 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail, will be launched in Dominica.  
Stay at: The eco-luxury Jungle Bay Resort.

Martinique is the definition of a refined French-Caribbean island: fashionable and elegant, with an abundance of flora. Filled with ruins and monuments, Martinique has been French, with few interruptions, since 1635, and offers gorgeous beaches, great food and a live volcano. Banana farming, cane raising, the rum business and tourism are all important to the island.  Its many small museums focus on curiosities such as dolls and ancient island civilisations. Hikers and horse riders will find plenty of guided adventures among the steep, lush hillsides, while windsurfers and board surfers will welcome the challenges of the choppy Atlantic side of the island. The capital, Fort-de-France, offers chic shops, the flowered Park Savanne, the Bibliothèque Schoelcher, and the Saint-Louis Cathedral, built in 1895. North along the coast is St. Pierre, which was destroyed, along with its 30,000 residents, in 1902 when Mont Pelée erupted; its Museum of Vulcanology displays chilling lava-coated mementoes. Carbet, a quaint fishing village, was briefly home for French painter Paul Gauguin.
Restaurants are among the best in the islands. Pointe du Bout is the island’s main resort area, offering hotels, golf, shopping and casino nightlife. Don't miss a trip to one of Martinique’s 12 fine rum distilleries, either.
Stay at: Le Cap Est Lagoon Resort & Spa for the ultimate in treat-yourself luxury.

Just a 20-minute flight from Antigua, Montserrat combines breathtaking beautiful landscapes with the Caribbean’s friendliest people. Its active volcano woke up after a long period of dormancy in the mid-1990s, transforming its capital into a modern day Pompeii, and remains active today. A famous celebrity hangout in the 1980s thanks to Sir George Martin’s AIR Studios, Montserrat has seen many famous faces throughout the years, including the Beatles, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, The Rolling Stones and Sting, who reportedly learned to windsurf on a trip to the nearby uninhabited island of Redonda. Originally settled by the Irish, Montserrat celebrates St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday.
Stay at: Olveston House, Sir George Martin’s very own house.

Aruba was conquered by the Dutch in 1636 and this heritage can be seen everywhere on the island. The charming capital of Oranjestad is particularly distinct, with a number of pastel-coloured, gingerbread-house style buildings. The sun-drenched island boasts amazing beaches, contrasting landscapes, friendly people, a colourful underwater world and delicious food. Sitting just outside the hurricane belt, Aruba is at the very south of the Caribbean Sea, less than 20 miles from the Venezuela coast, and has been popular with the American market for decades – though us Brits are slowly catching up.
Stay at: The adults-only Bucuti Beach Resort on Eagle Beach, which was voted by TripAdvisor among the top three beaches in the world in 2011.

The setting for Johnny Depp's movie, Rum Diaries, Puerto Rico is a colourful, diverse and culturally unique island. Hip, funky restaurants nestle next to 15th-century Spanish forts, and the island features tropical rainforests and some of the most stunning beaches, caves and offshore coral reefs in the Caribbean. Take a trip to nearby Vieques Island for palm-lined white beaches and lush landscapes. One of Puerto Rico’s most memorable experiences is night swimming in the Bioluminescent Bays, which are home to large colonies of dinoflagellates that light up like fireflies and provide the experience of a lifetime as they produce incredible glowing waters best seen in the light of a full moon.  Two of the most spectacular bays are the northeast’s Mosquito Bay in Vieques.
Stay at: The W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island, for real indulgence and Alain Ducasse cuisine.

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