A cold weather front is to sweep across the UK, with several inches of snow and frost and temperatures expected to drop as much as 10C to below zero.
Snow showers are expected across much of the the country from Wednesday, including much of the northern half of the UK, Wales and southern areas too, say UK weather forecasters.
Some forecasters have predicted that a 'displaced polar vortex', a large-scale low pressure area, will hit the country late this week.
The Met Office has issued warnings for large parts of England, from the North West to East Anglia, and called for the public to be aware of possible disruption to travel, while health officials urged people to take extra care.
Wintry showers are expected to hit northern and eastern England and the Midlands, as well as parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland over the next couple of days and forecasters predicted 3-6cm of snow to accumulate on high ground in the north of England, with 5-10cm at lower levels and over 10cm expected in high ground in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Met Office warning said: "A cold front is expected to cross the UK during Wednesday, introducing much colder conditions to central and northern England in particular. Very strong winds will accentuate the cold. Snow showers are likely in most areas, but especially the north west where significant accumulations are likely to build up, especially in hilly areas."
Billy Payne of forecaster MeteoGroup said: "The cold front will be going through and there will be a much colder air mass with snow showers, or at least wintry showers, spreading from the west.
"We will certainly notice a drop in temperatures from in the region of 10C to, by the end of the day, 4C or 5C and widely dropping below zero overnight - down to minus 5C in high ground in the north."
But while the cold weather is set to remain into early next week, Mr Payne said, it is unlikely the UK will see any impact of the heavy blizzards hitting much of the north-eastern coast of the US.
Britain's wonderful winter wonderlands
Polar vortex: Britain braced for snow and freezing conditions
From the ruined castle to deer park and woodland, there is plenty to discover in this iconic part of the Welsh countryside. Visitors can enjoy walks, spot nature or simply take in the sights before warming up with fine local fare in the tea room.
Originally designed as a tourist destination, Stowe’s temples, lakes and monuments remain as fascinating as ever through the seasons. The newly restored coaching inn is the perfect place to enjoy a winter warmer, from hot drinks to soups and main courses.
Six miles from Exeter, this relaxed 18th-century estate makes an ideal place to stop off for a few hours. Rare trees, woodland walks and a the quirky “Bear’s Hut” are just some of the highlights to be found outside. Pop into the Killerton Kitchen restaurant for a hearty meal, or take tea in the Stable tea-room. Award-winning Killerton cider, chutney, flour or honey can be bought here too as a tasty reminder of your day.
This former Ducal park is open all year and home to nearly 4000 acres of parkland and gardens, peaceful woodlands and open spaces to explore on foot or by bike.
Mottisfont contains the National Trust’s newest winter garden, and specialises in exploring the potential of plants that are at their most beautiful and interesting when other plants are in hibernation. It combines a number of unusual plants, but also some familiar species for visitors to view in a new light.
Magnificent 12th-century ruins combine with beautiful landscaped Georgian water gardens at this lovely World Heritage Site, which also boasts its own medieval deer park. To make a weekend of it, stay in one of the 11 holiday cottages here, including apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall and five cottages converted from a group of eighteenth century farm buildings, there’s something for everyone.
This seven-acre winter garden is home to more than 700 different plant species and a further 1,600 shrubs to admire, providing plenty of colourful distractions from the cold.
Take in the fresh winter air surrounded by a world-famous landscape garden, where a magnificent lake reflects classic temples, mystical grottos and swathes of surrounding trees. Make a weekend of it at 89 Church Lawn: set at the entrance to the magical landscape garden, this pretty stone cottage is an idyllic country hideaway. Enjoy bracing walks around the ornamental lake before the crowds. Sleeps seven.
Well worth a visit for its plethora of scenic delights, with statues and columns scattered across the atmospheric grounds. And the winter garden will be a delight for gardening fanatics, as it contains over 150 species of plants....
This beautiful 18th-century landscape park and nature reserve offers a taste of the country on the edge of the city. Discover fine Derwent Valley views, winding paths and refreshing open spaces to stretch tired legs while exploring elegant buildings and ruins. Escape along the avenue for miles of tranquil walks or enjoy family adventures at the woodland playscape and challenge trail.