Temperatures plummeted as low as 13F (-10.5C) overnight while the UK could face snow by the weekend, forecasters said.
The Met Office issued an amber cold weather alert for large parts of the country as freezing temperatures brought widespread frosts.
It came as the coldest temperature of the year was recorded between 9pm last night and 9am in Aboyne in Aberdeenshire, where the mercury dropped to 13F (-10.5C).
A brief respite is forecast midweek with warmer air coming in off the Atlantic before temperatures were expected to fall again by Friday and Saturday, when snow on high ground was likely.
The amber alert – which is one level below the emergency alert used by the Met Office – was triggered by forecasts of dry and cold weather across the north-east, north-west, Yorkshire and the Humber, the East Midlands, West Midlands and the east of England.
Dan Williams, Met Office forecaster said: "Today [Monday] is certainly going to be one of the coldest of the year so far.
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