17/12/2011 12:51 GMT | Updated 17/12/2011 13:49 GMT

UK Weather: Christmas Shoppers Brave Wintry Conditions

Icy blasts have made Christmas shopping a bracing experience as temperatures struggled to rise above freezing in parts of Britain.

Forecasters said the cold snap would continue into Monday, but there will then be a period of respite with warmer weather expected in the run-up to the festive weekend.

It was a mixed picture across the UK, with temperatures hovering around 7C along the south coast of England but barely getting above zero in hillier areas of Scotland.

There were cold but dry conditions in a band stretching from East Anglia across the northern part of the East Midlands up into Cumbria and southern Scotland.

By contrast, people elsewhere in Scotland, Wales, parts of north-west England and the Midlands experienced plenty of showers, some of which fell as hail and sleet.

Police warned motorists to take extra care after a number of accidents on icy roads, including a five-car crash on the A41 dual-carriageway, near Kingswood, Buckinghamshire.

Seven of the Scottish Football League fixtures - two first division, three second division and two third division games - were postponed due to the cold weather.

Matt Dobson, a forecaster with MeteoGroup UK, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "There has been a cold north-westerly wind across the whole country bringing in air from Iceland and beyond, so it has been pretty cold."

He said the UK could expect "more of the same" tomorrow and warned it would be particularly chilly overnight, meaning that untreated roads could well be icy again.

Mr Dobson added: "Snow is most likely over higher parts of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland."