A short, sharp freeze which saw temperatures across the UK drop well below zero and brought widespread ice and snow has ended as quickly as it began - and the mercury is now set to soar.

Swathes of the UK will see temperatures in the double digits within days and we could see a high of 14C in places - 21C higher than the lows at the start of the week.

There will be highs of 11C in places today and London is likely to reach as high as 14C on Friday.

BBC meteorologist Ben Rich said: "Mild is certainly the theme for the end of the week."

Hotter but moist air moving up from the southwest will be met by warmer temperatures, reports The Mirror, but will mean plenty of cloud on Thursday, according to forecasters.

Norwich, Cardiff and Plymouth could reach as high as 12C and Birmingham 11C.

Aberdeen will jump to a high of nine and it's likely to only get warmer on Friday.

The Met Office's long range weather forecast does, however, predict a "wet and windy" day on Sunday and an "unsettled" start to next week, with "outbreaks of rain or showers".

"Thereafter, we should see the dominance of high pressure across the UK. This will allow a shift towards more settled conditions with a good deal of sunshine across most parts," the report adds.  

UK 5 day weather forecast

Today:

A bright start in the south and east but skies turning cloudier later. Wintry showers in the northwest will be replaced by persistent rain through the afternoon, heavy at times. East and south parts mostly dry. Milder than Tuesday. Windy.

Tonight:

Rain in northwest parts. A slight frost during evening in the northeast. Southern and eastern areas mostly dry with clear spells. Becoming cloudier in the southwest later. Windy for most.

Thursday:

Generally cloudy with rain in the north, occasional light rain and drizzle elsewhere. Some clear spells east of high ground. Milder again but windy, particularly around the Pennines later.

Outlook for Friday to Sunday:

Mixture of sunny spells and periods of cloud and rain, wettest in the north-west. Often breezy, and widely mild, although temperatures slowly trending to nearer the seasonal average.