Also note that there is a considerable difference between a full winter tyre that will have quite a lot of it's compound and tread pattern targeting snow and cold weather grip and all season or rain tyres.
If you do not or normally avoid driving in snow an "all season" or rain tyre may be better for you.
I think that's the key thing, you need to match the choice of tyre for the conditions you're most likely to have. In many ways I suspect that most of the time in the UK a decent all weather tyre is all you're going to need.
The best all weather
tyre I've used (by far
) is the Vredestein Quatrac 3 and that's what's fitted to my wifes Skoda Fabia. They are excellent tyres in all conditions, I would have fitted a set to my Alfa (having had them on my previous Stilo), but it was much cheaper for me to go and buy a set of s/h 15" Alfa alloys and fit Gislaved Eurofrost winter tyres rather than equip the car with 4 17" Quatrac 3s
The Gislaveds have lasted well enough, they've done two winters and get fitted in late November (and stay on the car until what you might call late spring, in normal parts of the world) and are about 40% worn. Done quite a lot of miles with them though.
If buying winter tyres (rather than all weather) have a good look at the wet weather performance, the Gislaveds aren't all that great in the rain for example. Great in the snow, not so much fun in 'serious' wet conditions.
When it comes to the 'lesser known' brands I have heard good things about the Cooper WeatherMaster tyres from a work colleague who has a set on an Audi.