Spring definitely has not sprung, with the UK set for widespread snowstorms, risk of flooding and freezing temperatures this weekend.
Charlie Powell, spokesman at the Met Office, told Aol Travel: "The worst affected areas for snow will be north Wales, the Midlands, north-west England, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland (Amber warnings here). Over the highest ground, as much as 20 to 30 cm of snow is possible but at lower levels, between 5 to10 cm. There will also be strong winds and low temperatures so blizzards and ice respectively are likely to be an additional problem.
"There is a risk of flooding with localised surface water and rivers in south-west England – an Amber warning here for rain with 40 to 60 mm by the end of Friday across southern parts of Devon and Cornwall.
"The heavy rain and snow should ease by Saturday evening but it will stay cold through much of next week, although much drier."
An area of low pressure is expected to move in from the Atlantic during Thursday and Friday, causing the unsettled weather.
As the rain moves north-eastwards it will mix with cold air and has the potential to give as much as 20 to 30 cm of snow across parts of north Wales, northern England, south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland during Friday and Saturday.
Will Lang, Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, told Aol Travel: "While it is not unusual to see snow in March, the cold weather we have seen has been quite prolonged. The next period of wintry weather has some uncertainty at this stage regarding where the worst of the snow will be so it is essential to watch for updates to severe weather warnings.
"As always, we are working with different agencies to help keep Britain on the move, and to keep people safe and well. However, people should be prepared for further disruption as we head through the next few days."
A spokesman for the Scottish Government added: "Though we were enjoying record high temperatures around this time last year, we know that March normally brings us challenging weather conditions and this year is proving much more like the norm. Already this week our agencies and partners have dealt with Amber snow warnings across much of the country, and we continue to do all we can to ensure Scotland is prepared for any potential weather disruption.
"When the snow and storms hit, drivers can play their part by planning journeys in advance and using other forms of transport where available. Travellers should monitor Met Office forecasts and use the many other sources of information and advice to plan ahead, prepare well and stay safe."
Pete Fox, Environment Agency spokesperson, said: "Heavy rain in south west England and south Wales on Thursday and into Friday means there is a risk of localised surface water and river flooding in the south west, the southern counties and parts of south Wales. The public can sign up for flood warnings and check the latest information on the Environment Agency's website, or follow us on Twitter at @EnvAgency."
The Met Office added that the unsettled weather looks set to continue into next week, with the north and east of the UK remaining very much on the cold side. Although temperatures in south-western parts of the country should be nearer to normal for a while, this may turn out to be short-lived.
Fed-up of the British winter? Try one of these wonderful escapes:
20 reasons to travel this spring
Whiteout! 10cm of snow and freezing temps this weekend
For a late-season ski trip and a city break rolled in one, head for Lebanon, where you can explore bustling Beirut and get active on the ski slopes at Cedars Ski Resort, located less than an hour away. Lebanon is a lesser-known ski spot and is home to six ski resorts and 30km of pistes. Gefinor Rotana, in the centre of Beirut, is home to a rooftop pool, so you can enjoy days in the sun or head to the nearby slopes.
Desperate for sunshine? Check in to Jumeirah Port Soller, which offers luxury on the ruggedly beautiful northwest coast of Mallorca with stunning mountain or sea views from every room. The family-friendly hotel offers access to a cyclist's paradise, as well as shopping and culture galore. Don't miss a tram ride and exploring the lively port of the old town.
After a long winter, the sun returns to the far north of Norway and you can experience blue light during dawn and dusk and Northern Lights during the hours of darkness. March is high season in Spitsburgen, when you can enjoy snowmobile safaris and ice carving with the return of the sun. Spitsbergen Travel offers an ice caving break in the heart of the Longyear Glacier from 705EUR per person. The experience last approximately 3 hours.
With the intensity of the Australian summer over, March is a great time to visit South West Australia and what better way to explore the great outdoors than by testing your peddling power on the new off-road cycling trail, with brilliant wildlife opportunities through magnificent forests, coasts and bushland. The Munda Biddi Trail stretches over 1,000km from Mundaring to Albany. It's the perfect place to spot western brush wallabies, emus, kangaroos and possums - especially near the lush rock pools along the trail. The trail is fast becoming a world-class nature-based off-road cycling experience.
Spring for us is autumn in Namibia and it's a particularly wonderful time to visit when April and May are dry with a freshness in the air and greenery in the landscape. It doesn't have to be expensive either, as Wild about Africa offers an 11-day affordable trip to Namibia from £1,724 per person, with camping in scenic spots, meeting local Himba people, and a wildlife safari in Etosha National Park. Flights from Heathrow and three nights at a guesthouse are included.
Croatia joined the EU last year and is an exciting destination for European breaks. The airlines know it too and are launching new flights to this stunning corner of Europe. Last year Ryanair launched flights from the East Midlands and Liverpool to Zadar and Norwegian launched routes from Gatwick to Split and Dubrovnik. This year, Ryanair will introduce a new route from London Stansted to Osijek and an additional route from Manchester to Zadar. Explore Croatia offers beautiful villas, farmhouses and luxury apartments if you're looking for a relaxed stay on land.
Never has a theme park been so cold - until now! SeaWorld Orlando recently launched one of its most incredible attractions, Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin. The brilliant new ride takes you to the frozen wilderness of Antarctica through the eyes of the world's most loved bird, the penguin. The state-of-the-art interactive ride combined with an animal attraction, offers a journey like no other to the coldest and most barren place on earth.
You don't have to travel too far for an exciting experience this spring as the largest zip wire attraction in the Northern Hemisphere is located in Wales. The exhilarating new experience in Bethesda, near Bangor, will see visitors fly through the skies for over a mile at speeds of up to 75mph. Located in the world's largest old slate quarry, Zip World takes you over a mountain lake with panoramic views over Snowdonia, the Isle of Anglesey and even the Isle of Man on a clear day. From £50 per person or £180 for a family ticket.
Thanks to British Airways launching new flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka is looking even more attractive to travellers in search of a varied holiday destination. A new highway linking the capital to the south cuts road journeys to the southern beaches and the wildlife in Yala National Park by half. Combine a relaxing beach break with a safari in Yala National Park or the temples and cultural sites to make the most of Sri Lanka this spring. Western & Oriental offers a 7-night all inclusive Sri Lanka holiday from £785 per adult.
Once a pricey holiday destination, Moscow is now accessible for all as easyJet recently launched cheap flights to the Russian capital from London Gatwick and Manchester. The weather is mild, the days are long and the city's trees and parks begin to bloom in spring. Be sure to visit the spectacular Moscow Kremlin, Red Square, Old Arbat and the department store GUM.
With affordable Ryanair flights from Beziers, travellers from Edinburgh Airport can get a taste of the South of France this spring. Just 30 minutes from the pretty French town's airport, lies the stunning Chateau Les Carrasses, nestled in the heart of the unspoilt Languedoc region. Spring is the ideal time to visit, with the warm Mediterranean climate, clear blue skies and low season prices. Rooms from £105 per person until the end of April.
Get the best of the end of season snow and pop your shorts and T-shirt on for a hike in Utah, where you can ski, kayak, and ride in places like Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and Monument Valley. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy the array of activities on offer and discover this magnificent part of America. Ski Safari offers a Utah and Las Vegas package, which allows you to sample Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Deer Valley, Snowbird and much more over 14 days from £1,325 per person based on two people traveling.
Canada's iconic Rocky Mountaineer added a new destination to its First Passage to the West journey. Spectacular Lake Louise will was introduced to the route, enabling guests staying at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise the luxury of a quick and direct transfer to their hotel. The stop marks the return of passenger rail service to Lake Louise for the first time in over two decades, giving you the perfect excuse for a scenic holiday by rail.
If you failed being healthy at the start of the year and want to spring clean your lifestyle, then take a relaxing break in Europe's first yoga resort. Zening Resort in Cyprus is dedicated to yoga, meditation and wellness with classes that run throughout the day for any willing participants. The team is made up of nutritionists, personal trainers, spa therapists and yoga masters, and you can take full advantage of the eco-resort's facilities, such as the smoothie bar, culinary classes and the swimming pools. A week's yoga holiday including flights, half board and accommodation in a Yogi Studio and all yoga classes starts from £1,355 per person with The Healthy Holiday Company.
Hit South Africa this spring and enjoy a safari holiday at Kwandwe Game Reserve, with lovely sunny days, warm evenings, wild flowers in bloom and new beginnings for the animals, when springbok, Red hartebeest and gemsbok all drop their young. Kwandwe offers luxury safari lodges for couples and families. If you're travelling with little ones, they can be taken on special children's safaris to spot non-dangerous animals and take part in 'poo safaris', Minnow fishing trips and 'Big Five' cookie baking.
Always wanted to take a road trip in a retro VW camper van? For a funky and affordable spring holiday in France, rent Pucci, Jardi, Fleur, Gary or Hippy from WeDubYou.com for fun travels around the historic villages of Issigeac, Monpazier and Monflanquin or the cool surfing towns of the west coast. The camper vans are equipped with iPad and iPhone with movies, games, music and navigation, stylish tableware and bedding, and you can opt for the VIP add-on to have the fridge stocked with local goodies and champagne. Seven nights in a camper van costs from £595, based on pick-up and drop-off at Bergerac Airport.
If you like full-on heat, you should visit Jamaica in the spring before the first rainy season sets in from May to June. But if you like the short, tropical showers that provide a welcome break from the afternoon heat, travel in May, when you can also discover Caribbean fashion at Style Week Jamaica in a five-day extravaganza in capital city, Kingston, with fashion shows, cocktail receptions and after-parties. Caribtours is offering a seven-night package at Strawberry Hill from £1,755 per person, including flights, accommodation, private transfers and use of a lounge at Gatwick.
It may still be cold for some, but the snow melting and 10C means spring in Stockholm, with the Swedes celebrating the milder weather. Restaurants and bars start setting up their outdoor seating in April and there are wonderful events and festivals to enjoy throughout the season. Take a trip to the ABBA Museum is set to open at the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, marking the band's career from 1970 until 1983. Travel for four nights to Stockholm's Beauty on Water with Taber Holidays from £735 per person. If you're planning on spending extra time in Sweden and want to explore more of the country, spring marks oyster season in West Sweden and the Nordic Championships in Oyster Opening (4 May) sees contestants racing to open 30 oysters at impressive speeds.
This spring you can enjoy a luxurious train journey in Pembrokeshire, with Orient-Express celebrating the beauty and history of Wales in March and April. Journeys on the Northern Belle will take in the stunning coastline and there is a special excursion to St Davids, Britain's smallest city. You'll enjoy the best views in Wales while sipping champagne on a timeless train ride. The St Davids journey from Cardiff and Swansea takes place on 2 March and the Pembrokeshire coastline trip is from Bath, Bristol and Cardiff on 9 May. From £340 per person including a special Bellini brunch on the outward journey followed by a four-course gourmet meal with champagne and wine on the journey home.
Never thought you'd hear the word 'cheap' and 'Paris' in a sentence? Explorer and entrepreneur Neil Laughton launched new airline Brighton City Airways just last year, bringing Paris closer to those living in the South of England, without the hassle of travelling to London. The cost-effective airline offers daily flights from Shoreham Airport to Paris Pontoise with VIP service, spacious cabins in LET-410 planes that seat 19 people and check in just 15 minutes before take-off. Prices start from £69.