There is little joy on the horizon for anyone planning a drink or meal outside a pub this weekend as the wintry snap is set to be replaced by warmer but wetter and windier weather, forecasters have warned.
A band of snowy showers which gave the north of Scotland a spring covering moved south overnight into Thursday to reach parts of northern England.
These Arctic bursts – along with a chance of hail and thunder – are likely to continue into Friday.
People have been taking to the slopes at the Lake District Ski Club after chilly weather left a blanket of snow on the slopes
Many places on the slopes of the Pennines, the Lake District and the North East of England woke to a dusting of snow, but in most areas it was nothing like the 2cm recorded at Aviemore in the Cairngorms.
The snowfall was good news for skiers, giving members of the Lake District Ski Club a chance to return to the slopes for the first time since lockdown.
Club president Mike Sweeney said about 40 people used the tow on Raise, near Helvellyn, to get to the top on the slope on Wednesday, when there were blue skies and views as far as Scotland as well as deep snow.
He said: “It was fabulous, people were just giddy with excitement.”
The Met Office said most of the snow in northern England was on the highest ground and did not settle lower down.
But there were reports of some showers at low levels, including in Gateshead.
Met Office spokesperson Nicola Maxey said snowfall was not that unusual in England in May, with some as recently as last year, but lying snow was much more uncommon for the time of year.
The last time snow accumulated in any quantity at this time in May was in 1997, when several centimetres settled in Scotland, Wales and northern England.
Ms Maxey said: “Through spring you get these swings in weather types. So it’s not unusual to see a cold snap through April and May.
“During those cold snaps you potentially see a bit of falling snow but generally over higher ground and generally in the north.”
She said snow settling was much more rare as the ground is warming up, even if it does not feel like it.
“Temperatures are rising during the day and, even if they’re not rising to what we expect in April and May, they are warm enough to melt snow.”
Ms Maxey said the sun is also quite strong at this time of year, meaning some people are suffering sunburn on clear days even though it feels quite close.
She said more snow and hail showers could be expected on Friday, but temperatures will rise at the weekend when a cold air mass is nudged out of the way by a warmer system from the Atlantic.
But Ms Maxey said the weather will be “giving with one hand and taking with the other” as this system will bring wind and rain on Saturday.
She said: “At the weekend we’ve got one of these low pressure systems coming in which pushes the high pressure out of the way and allows the temperatures to rise a bit but brings some wet and windy weather.
“It pushes in from the South West on Saturday morning and by Saturday evening it will have reached as far as the north of Scotland.
“You will see temperatures pushing up a bit then and returning more to normal with the South East potentially seeing temperatures as high as 20C just for Saturday.
“But we’ll see some rain and breezy conditions and some of that rain could be quite heavy.”
Ms Maxey said places like Dartmoor could see as much as 70mm of rain in the 24 hours to Saturday.