The spring heatwave will be followed by sleet and even snow, according to a forcast by the Met Office.

Londoners will be forced to swap shorts and sandals for coats and scarves as the third warmest March since records began in 1910 is followed by arctic conditions.

Disgruntled residents can blame the drop in temperature on winds blowing in from the Norwegian sea. But they should be grateful the capital will be spared the worst of the weather. That is reserved for Scotland and the north of England, who are predicted up to eight inches of snow.

Met Office forecaster Alex Fox said: “Things should remain dry with sunshine today. However, tomorrow things take a turn for the worst, with showery rain from tomorrow morning, and things getting increasingly chilly overnight as temperatures tumble.

“There could be sleet and snow over higher ground tomorrow evening. Wednesday will be cold and windy with hail and sleet – and it’s still going to be chilly on thursday, although temperatures are expected to recover on Friday.”

The predictions of wintery conditions come after the sunniest March since 1929, which saw an average of 187 hours of sunshine across England and Wales. It was also the warmest since 1997.