"Big Freeze" set to last until 2013

'Big Freeze' set to last until 2013Stirling, Scotland, December 3/Getty

The Met Office has said that the cold snap which has frozen swathes of Britain could last for the next few weeks, taking us right into Christmas and the New Year.

Temperatures are likely to remain colder than average for the forseeable future, say forecasters, prompting a record number of bets on the likelihood of a white Christmas in London, according to Ladbrokes.

Hail, sleet and snow is expected in most parts of the country as the high pressure over Scandinavia continues to push cold air our way.

"Temperatures by both day and night are most likely to be below average during the net few weeks," Met Office spokesman Dan Williams told the Daily Mail., adding that there would be a greater likelihood of overnight frost and freezing fog. Winds of up to 30mph have also been predicted.

Up to two inches (5cm) of snow fell across Cumbria yesterday morning, with one and a half (4cm) in Teesside and County Durham and an inch in Albemarle, Northumberland.

In Scotland, two people died as snow hit Scotland and the north. New father Richard Plaine, 32, died in an accident on the A97 near Huntly, Aberdeenshire, on Friday in a weather-related incident. He was travelling with his wife, Lindsay, and their baby son when his Fiat Stilo collided with a Land Rover Discovery.

On Saturday, an unnamed 28-year-old woman died when her Vauxhall Corsa collided with a Citroën Relay van on the A96 also near Huntly. She was airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but died of her injuries.

The Met Office and police are warning drivers of icy roads as the snow spreads south. Snow showers are expected to spread to eastern England, Northumberland, the North York Moors and Norfolk, reaching the Midlands by the end of the week.

However, the Met Office says there is some temporary respite, with warmer temperatures in time for the weekend before dropping again next week.

Britain's wonderful winter wonderlands
See Gallery
"Big Freeze" set to last until 2013

From the ruined castle to deer park and woodland, there is plenty to discover in this iconic part of the Welsh countryside. Visitors can enjoy walks, spot nature or simply take in the sights before warming up with fine local fare in the tea room.

Originally designed as a tourist destination, Stowe’s temples, lakes and monuments remain as fascinating as ever through the seasons. The newly restored coaching inn is the perfect place to enjoy a winter warmer, from hot drinks to soups and main courses.

Six miles from Exeter, this relaxed 18th-century estate makes an ideal place to stop off for a few hours. Rare trees, woodland walks and a the quirky “Bear’s Hut” are just some of the highlights to be found outside. Pop into the Killerton Kitchen restaurant for a hearty meal, or take tea in the Stable tea-room. Award-winning Killerton cider, chutney, flour or honey can be bought here too as a tasty reminder of your day.

This former Ducal park is open all year and home to nearly 4000 acres of parkland and gardens, peaceful woodlands and open spaces to explore on foot or by bike.

Mottisfont contains the National Trust’s newest winter garden, and specialises in exploring the potential of plants that are at their most beautiful and interesting when other plants are in hibernation. It combines a number of unusual plants, but also some familiar species for visitors to view in a new light.

Magnificent 12th-century ruins combine with beautiful landscaped Georgian water gardens at this lovely World Heritage Site, which also boasts its own medieval deer park. To make a weekend of it, stay in one of the 11 holiday cottages here, including apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall and five cottages converted from a group of eighteenth century farm buildings, there’s something for everyone.

This seven-acre winter garden is home to more than 700 different plant species and a further 1,600 shrubs to admire, providing plenty of colourful distractions from the cold.

Take in the fresh winter air surrounded by a world-famous landscape garden, where a magnificent lake reflects classic temples, mystical grottos and swathes of surrounding trees. Make a weekend of it at 89 Church Lawn: set at the entrance to the magical landscape garden, this pretty stone cottage is an idyllic country hideaway. Enjoy bracing walks around the ornamental lake before the crowds. Sleeps seven.

Well worth a visit for its plethora of scenic delights, with statues and columns scattered across the atmospheric grounds. And the winter garden will be a delight for gardening fanatics, as it contains over 150 species of plants....

This beautiful 18th-century landscape park and nature reserve offers a taste of the country on the edge of the city. Discover fine Derwent Valley views, winding paths and refreshing open spaces to stretch tired legs while exploring elegant buildings and ruins. Escape along the avenue for miles of tranquil walks or enjoy family adventures at the woodland playscape and challenge trail.

Read Full Story Click here to comment