Daring swimmers plunged into the ice-cold waters at Brighton beach today as forecasters warned freezing temperatures of around -5C could sweep across the UK by next week and bring with it a blanket of snow.
Revellers descended upon the famous pebbled beach this afternoon to catch a few rays of sunshine and enjoy the sea air before harsher and frostier conditions made their way across the southern coast.
Some visitors enjoyed the day by taking a dip into the freezing waters while others decided to enjoy a cool drink with friends at the seafront bar.
Elsewhere, visitors were spotted flocking to Boscombe beach in Bournemouth after the coastal resort saw spells of sunshine begin to emerge from the grey clouds.
The scenes come as the UK gears up for plunging temperatures of around -5C and freezing fog patches across north and western parts of England from midweek, with forecasters predicting the chance of snow showers ‘almost anywhere across the UK’ on Friday and next weekend.
The oncoming chill comes as most parts of England today saw mercury levels drop down to an average of just 3C or 4C this morning as heavy clouds and outbreaks of rain made their way across the nation.
A group of brave swimmers celebrate and pose for a photo after taking a dip in the freezing seafront on Brighton beach this afternoon
Groups of people wear their coats and wrap up warm as they stand outside a bar on the seafront in Brighton & Hove today
People wrap up warm as they enjoy drinks outside a bar on the seafront in Brighton & Hove today where temperatures reached between 8-9C
Heavy clouds and outbreaks of rain will make their way across the UK before temperatures drop to freezing and the UK braces itself for temperatures of -5C
It also comes after the Met Office today issued a severe weather warning for thick fog in the south-west Midlands and West Country to begin at around 5pm today until 8am on Monday and warned visibility could be reduced to between 50 to 100 metres.
A Met Office spokesperson said: ‘Sunday will be mostly dry, but with a lot of low cloud and some hill fog around.
‘Best of the sunshine will be across northeast mainland Scotland, west Wales and southwest England and highs near average at 7 to 10C, locally 12 in the South West.
‘On Monday after a murky, locally frosty start in the south some brighter weather will develop briefly, but wet and rather windy weather affecting Scotland and Norther Ireland will move south and east through the day. Sunshine and scattered showers will follow into the north later, with highs of 8 to 11C.
‘By Tuesday it will be a mostly fine day with some sunshine and gentle winds after a frosty start for some.
‘Cloudier though across the extreme west and northwest, with some rain and a strengthening wind developing across west/northwest Scotland.
‘It will turn colder from the north and west from midweek, with a chance of some snow, mainly on hills in the north.’
As temperatures continue to dip through the week, forecasters predict snow is likely ‘almost anywhere in the UK’.
The Met Office spokesperson added: ‘We could see some snow falling in showers almost anywhere across the UK on Friday and next weekend.
People take a lunchtime stroll across a sunny Boscombe beach in Bournemouth as the UK gears up for a chilling week ahead
People descended upon Boscombe beach this afternoon to enjoy the last rays of sunshine before temperatures begin to plummet
People take a stroll along a sunny Boscombe beach today as parts of the UK enjoys spells of sunshine and dry weather
‘However, accumulating snow is most likely on hills above about 300m in the north and west, with any accumulations at lower levels and elsewhere likely to be brief and more limited. Frost and ice likely to end the week too.’
With freezing temperatures forecast to sweep across the UK in early December, bookmaker Coral has already given even odds for this winter to be the coldest since records began.
The firm makes it 3-1 for snow to fall in Edinburgh on Christmas Day and 5-1 for a white Christmas for Londoners.
‘The outlook for this winter looks very cold and we make it just evens now that we go on to suffer the coldest since records began in the UK,’ said Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead.
‘The good news from that for those dreaming of a White Christmas is that the chances do look a lot more likely than the last few years.’
Earlier today, forecasters issued a yellow fog warning for Cardiff and the south of Wales and warned that the weather could even lead to flight cancellations and delays.
The warning also affects Cornwall and Devon, Caerphilly, Newport, Swansea, parts of Somerset, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.
The fog, which is expected to reduce visibility to between 50 to 100 metres in some areas, will lift by Monday.
The sun rises on the Jurassic coast as Britain braces itself for a blanket of snow this week as mercury levels drop across the country