Temperatures could dip as low as -5C in the central belt and are expected to remain below freezing.
The chilly winds and overnight frosts will cover all of Britain, while snow showers could be seen in Scotland and the east coast.
The prospect of snow will be music to the ears of ski resorts in Scotland which have already had a bumper season of snow.
Weather experts say temperatures are much colder than normal for this time of year, when we should expect averages of around six to eight degrees.
Strong gusts of up to 50mph will mean that temperatures hovering around freezing point could feel more like -10C in some areas of the UK.
So far this year, temperatures have been well above average.
Billy Payne, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It's going to feel much colder today and over the weekend.
"Temperatures are expected to stay just above freezing point throughout the day, but with the wind chill factor it could feel more like than -5C, or even -10C."
On Saturday there is an increasing risk of snow flurries coming in from the east and spreading across the west towards Wales.
It will remain cold on Sunday with more wintery showers.