Freezing start to Christmas Day

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Peter Watts of Watchbury Farm, Barford, leads his alpacas through the snow

Christmas Day got off to a freezing start across much of the country as overnight temperatures dropped to as low as minus 18C.

Some areas enjoyed a traditional white Christmas, with snow falling in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and north-east England.

Most parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland were sunny and dry but daytime temperatures are set to remain below freezing.

Overnight the mercury dropped to minus 18C at Altnaharra in northern Scotland and minus 17C in Worcester.

Met Office forecaster Michael Lawrence said many shoppers will be able to leave their umbrellas at home as they head to the Boxing Day sales.

“Most of Britain will be a bit like today: mostly dry, bright and fine,” he said.

“It’s becoming milder, and that is the theme for the next few days. We’re in a less colder blip, but it’s still below average for this time of year. Unless we get a protracted milder spell, it will keep getting relatively colder.”

But Northern Ireland is expected to get a wintry mixture of sleet, snow and rain, which could turn to ice as it falls on to cold ground.

Bookmakers were celebrating the limited snow as the biggest white Christmas gamble failed to come off.

Coral’s David Stevens said: “Fresh snowfall across the UK would have won punters a multimillion-pound Christmas present. However, with the exception of parts of Scotland and north east England, snow is in short supply and it looks like being a happy Christmas for the bookies.”

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