This winter was the coldest for more than 30 years, official figures show.
Temperatures in December, January and February struggled to stay above zero, with the UK's average a chilly 1.51C (34.72F), making it the deepest freeze since 1978-1979.
And in Scotland and Northern Ireland it was the hardest winter since 1962-63 when snow covered much of the UK from Boxing Day to late March.
Altnaharra in northern Scotland recorded this winters' lowest temperature, with the mercury plummeting to minus 22.3C (minus 8.14F) on the morning of January 8th.
The previous day brought England's lows, of minus 17.6C (0.32F) in Woodford on the edge of Manchester and minus17.7C (0.14F) in Benson, Oxfordshire.
The figures - released to mark the first day of spring - sharply contrasts with the cosy picture of a 'mild' winter painted by the Met Office last autumn.
Offering its 'long-range' predictions for the winter, it said there was a 50 per cent of it being mild and just a 20 per cent risk of it being colder than the average temperature of 3.7C (38.66F).
The arrival of snow mid-December led to the forecast being revised, saying there was now a 45 per cent chance that January and February would be colder than average.
In January, as Britain was warned to expect a 'windchill Saturday' - with blasts of wind forcing daytime temperatures as low as minus 10 - a senior Met Office official admitted it should have done better.
Asked on BBC TV: 'Why didn't you see this coming?', Keith Groves replied: 'I'm disappointed that our seasonal forecasts didn't give a prediction or stronger probability of a colder winter.'
It was also forced to defend its long-range forecasting last autumn, when the much-feted 'barbecue summer' proved to be a wash-out
With final figures revealing the winter to be colder than any other for the last 30 years, the Met Office was last night on the back foot once more.
Spokesman John Hammond said: 'You have got to bear in mind that it is a relatively new forecast. Only 20 years ago you would be looking at a one or two-day forecast and questioning its accuracy. Now we take those for granted.
'The UK is a small country in the grand scheme of things. Given our geographical position we are very much at a crossroads of weather patterns and that makes it more challenging but that is part of the game.'
Pledging to fine-tune the process, he said: 'There is a feeling that people's expectations for the seasonal outlook have almost outstripped the limits of the science.
'We will continue to do the research and make sure they improve in the future.'
Those basking in the first sunshine of spring should be aware that winter hasn't quite lost its grip on the country.
Temperatures are set to dip from Wednesday, with easterly winds ushering in wintery showers at the weekend.
Mr Hammond said: 'Winter is going to be reluctant to let go.
'When the sun shines during the day, it will feel quite spring-like but the nights are still long enough and the air cold enough to give us frosty starts - and a reminder that winter is still with us in many ways.'
Mr Hammond stressed that the Met Office had accurately predicted any heavy falls of snow.
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It will come as little surprise to millions of frost-bitten Britons, apart from possibly those at the Met Office.