Snow and ice alert issued by Met Office as London to plunge below freezing

The Met Office has issued a snow and ice alert for northern Scotland and north-east England as a cold snap is due to bring sub-zero temperatures to London later this week.

The yellow weather warning was issued on Tuesday morning and runs from 5pm until 11am on Wednesday.

They warned icy patches on untreated roads and pavements were likely and said journeys by road and rail were likely to take longer.

It comes as the Met Office said on Tuesday that snow could fall as far south as Hampshire this week.

Photos and video shared on social media on Monday morning showed a blanket of snow covering the ground in County Durham and North Yorkshire, as temperatures dropped.

Temperatures are also set to plummet in London and the south as the week progresses, the Met Office said, following a brief return to slightly milder conditions at the start of the week.

The temperature is set to drop to freezing in the capital in the early hours of Wednesday, before falling as low as -1C on Thursday morning and -3C during the nights and early mornings later in the week.

The mercury is not set to rise above 5C from Wednesday onwards, which is set to be largely overcast, except for Saturday which is forecast to be bright and sunny.

The Met Office predicted the cold snap could bring sleet and snow as far south as Hampshire, with figures potentially falling as low as -8C in some parts of the UK.

Spokesman Oliver Claydon told MailOnline on Tuesday: “We’ve already had the coldest night of the season so far with -7.7C (18.1F) recorded at Shap, Cumbria, on Saturday.

“Temperatures over the coming nights could come close to this. This is the longest cold spell of the season so far.’

“We could see some snow moving into southeastern parts of the UK towards the end of the week, including Hampshire,” he said. “However, it may also remain dry.”

His Met Office colleague Greg Dewhurst said it will be "a cold week to come" across the country, following a "briefly milder" start.

An area of low pressure is due to arrive, interacting with a system of cold air moving southwards, said Mr Dewhurst, bringing "increasing risk of some rain, sleet and perhaps some snow in places too, particularly over higher ground".

"Details on this still need to be pinned down, so stayed tuned to the forecast over the coming days," he said.

Temperatures will peak in double figures in southern England and Wales on Monday but will begin to slide heading into Tuesday, which will be largely dry with some early fog and sunny spells.

A frosty evening is set for most of the country on Tuesday night, with temperatures generally around -2C to -5C and possibly as low as -8C in the far north of England and rural Scotland.

It comes after northern and eastern parts of the UK experienced sub-zero temperatures on both Friday and Saturday evening, with parts of the country including London seeing their first frost of the autumn.

The coldest recorded temperature so far this autumn was -7.7C in Shap, Cumbria, in the early hours of Saturday morning.