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need advice on where to go Jan - Jun

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We are taking our family to Europe for 6 months (we're from Canada) and because of the Schengen have to be in the UK for 3 of those months. We totally realize that Jan - March is still winter and are fully prepared to deal with lower temps. Our problem is trying to figure out how to plan the trip. Should we start in the UK (knowing that ti would be bitter cold and rainy) but then end with 3 months on the continent of Europe? France, Italy, Holland, etc would all be so beautiful then. So do we deal with the bitter cold of the UK in order to have the best of the other? Or do we start in Italy, Greece Spain or wherever has the mildest (although realizing not beach weather) temps and end in the UK where we would have nicer temps. But wondering if we will regret having mediocre weather for the Western Europe portion. Any advice? Again, fully realizing that no weather will be amazing in Jan/Feb just wondering what route might be best?

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