Snow and ice blankets Britain closing schools, roads and airports

David Harding

Heavy snow hit many parts of the UK causing chaos for commuters in London, southern England, parts of Wales and north and east Scotland.

More than 400 schools have been closed, train services are disrupted and more than 100 people spent the night at the famous Jamaica Inn pub high on Bodmin Moor after their cars became stuck on the A30 in Cornwall.

As well as the snow, temperatures plummeted to -15 Celsius in Aberdeen, making it one of the coldest nights in the UK for several years.

A cold Bristol commuter makes his way to work (PA)

The conditions replicated last year when Britain was hit by the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ at the same time of year.

More than a million people were said to have stayed at home because of the conditions and more than 2,000 schools were shut.

TFL had warned people to people to get home by 9pm so as not to get stuck in the snowfall.

The freezing weather has, predictably, crippled parts of the UK as it struggles to cope with the wintry weather.

Bristol Airport has suspended all flights this morning and British Airways have cancelled some flights from Heathrow Airport.

Bournemouth Airport has been closed completely.

Around 12 hours of snowfall knocked out power for around 1,000 homes in and around Southampton. 

Shaftesbury’s famous Gold HIll blanketed in snow (PA)

All air passengers have been advised to check with their airlines if they were scheduled to fly today.

An amber snow warning has been put in in place for southern England and a yellow ice and snow for northern Scotland.

And the Met Office has warned of ‘treacherous driving conditions’ in some areas.

Some though hit out at those who did not manage to make it into work.

One Londoner Joanna Bunt tweeted: ‘The good thing about travelling to work in the snow the little preciouses are off school because of a #snowday and people freak out so work from home.’ 

Bristol commuters brave the weather (PA)

The south west appeared to be worst affected overnight.

In Devon and Cornwall it was reported that hundreds of motorists blocked roads after abandoning their vehicles, which meant gritters and emergency vehicles failed to get through.

Sammy Wheeler, who runs the Jamaica Inn, said some people had walked ‘a good three, four or five miles’ through the snow to seek sanctuary in his pub.

The snow must go on: An ice cream seller in Merthyr Tydfil didn’t let the weather stop him (PA)

All 36 rooms at the pub were occupied overnight.

Snow depths of of up to five inches were recorded in Bodmin.

The chief executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance was one of those who got stranded on Bodmin.

A chilly Wanstead Park in London (PA)

Some 400 students were stranded in nearby Callywith College after school buses could not reach the school.

Teachers and other staff stayed the night and a supermarket donated £800 of blankets, duvets and pillows.  

Elsewhere, snowfall reached almost similar heights in Cumbria and Inverness-shire.

The forecast is for further snow across England, with up to four more inches falling in central and southern areas.

Snow showers will continue in Scotland also, say forecasters.