© Getty Images
Britain will be hit by a seven-day cold snap from the weekend, with snow, frost and gale-force winds set to arrive just as the nation thought winter was finished.

The country basked in 20C temperatures at the weekend - the hottest of the year - as big crowds enjoyed the Grand National and FA Cup semi-finals and packed beaches and tourist attractions.

But the coldest winter in 31 years has a final sting in the tail.

Forecasters warned of 2C nighttime temperatures - low enough for frost - for the rest of this week, with heavy rain at the weekend and then snow through next week in northern England and Scotland. Frosts and bitter gale-force northerly winds are also expected in the north, with extreme windchill making temperatures feel as cold as -7C.

© Getty Images
A change of scenery: Britons basked in spring weather at the weekend but wintry weather is set to return in the next week.
Southern England and Wales will see single-figure daytime highs with windchill again making temperatures feel closer to freezing.

A Met Office statement said: 'Rain is expected to move southwards across the country on Sunday and Monday. This will be followed by showers in northern areas, turning wintry over hills, with snow perhaps falling at low level in the far north.

'The unsettled theme is set to continue for most of the week with showers for most areas, falling as snow at times on northern hills. It will be windy at times in the north with a risk of gales. Temperatures will be rather cold in the north, with a risk of frost, and in probably in single figures in southern areas.'

Positive Weather Solutions senior forecaster Jonathan Powell said: 'It will turn decidedly cold for northern England and Scotland from the weekend and into next week, with a chilling blast of northerly air.

'Typical daytime temperatures will be pegged right back to 3C to 5C at best. But the windchill will really bite, as the northerly winds mean it will feel like -4 to -7C, during daytime and nighttime. Frosty conditions may well return will a vengeance and there is also the possibility of snowfall.

'With these sort of temperatures, even lower levels will not be safe from a covering.'

Met Office forecaster John Hammond added:

He said winds would change to a northerly direction, bringing lower temperatures of just above freezing.

'With clear skies and light winds, temperatures drop sharply towards dusk - so if you're wearing a T-shirt, you'll have to put your coat on again.' he said.

In the meantime, yesterday people were making the most of the last sign of sun for a few days, enjoying the cherry blossom on the trees at Twycross Zoo, Leicestershire.