Winter Wonderland ice rink at Hyde Park MELTS

Winter Wonderland ice rink at Hyde Park MELTS as temperatures come close to the warmest in December for 177 years with temperatures hitting 61F

  • Surface of main ice rink at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland turns to water as London enjoys 61F/16C weather 
  • But Met Office warns of blizzards and snowdrifts as up to 8in (20cm) of snow hits the Pennines tomorrow 
  • Tomorrow morning could bring coldest night since last winter, beating 20F/-7C low set on November 22

Britain’s largest ice rink has started to melt after the UK enjoyed some of its warmest ever December weather.

Temperatures reached 61F (16C) in London yesterday as the surface of the main rink at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park turned to water – with a smaller rink’s inch-deep puddles soaking customers and workers clearing it.

One visitor described the £42-a-family site – which has remained open – as ‘more like a water park than an ice rink’, while an employee admitted: ‘Our ice chilling machines can’t cope with such warm temperatures.’

Yesterday saw Kew Gardens in the capital hit 60.6F (15.9C), with the warmest December 2 since records began in 1841 being 64.9F (18.3C). Saturday saw Exeter get to 59.3F (15.2C), near the December 1 record of 60.8F (16C). 

The surface of the main rink at Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park turned to water yesterday (pictured at about 6pm)

One visitor described the site – where families are paying up to £42 for a session – as ‘more like a water park than an ice rink’

Heavy rain on the M60 motorway in Manchester this morning caused difficult driving conditions for motorists

A couple walk in the shadows as Westminster Abbey is bathed in sunlight during a break in rain showers in London today

But the Met Office warned of blizzards and snowdrifts as up to 8in (20cm) of snow hits the Pennines tomorrow, with flakes also expected to fall in parts of the Peak District, Wales and southern Scotland.

Early tomorrow morning could bring the coldest night since last winter – beating the 19.9F (-6.7C) on November 22 in Oxfordshire – but still some way off the 2018 low of 7.3F (-13.7C) set in the Scottish Highlands on January 21.

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An ice warning has been issued for western Scotland from midnight until 10am tomorrow, with forecasters expecting ‘hazardous road conditions’ in the morning rush hour and injuries from people falling on icy surfaces.

Met Office forecaster Dean Hall said: ‘There’s a chance of down to -6.7C, with Scotland coldest but -3C or lower in sheltered parts of the South. Travel conditions could be nasty over the Pennines with possible blizzards and drifts.’

The cold snap for Scotland is just a taste of things to come this month, as it finds itself on the cold side of the jet stream. Northern coastal areas, including Orkney, will see wintry showers developing during the day today. 

An ice warning has been issued by the Met Office for western Scotland from midnight until 10am tomorrow

Tomorrow is expected to be chilly for most parts of Britain with snow possible in some areas, while Wednesday will be wet

Thursday will bring further mild weather but more rain too – while Friday will feature a mixture of rain and sunny spells

The likelihood of snow will be mostly over higher ground but some communities could see this falling even at lower levels. However, Wednesday should provide respite, with a fine, dry day accompanied by some sunny spells.

North/South divide this week in temperatures

  • Monday: 43F (6C) Aberdeen / 57F (14C) London
  • Tuesday: 39F (4C) Aberdeen / 46F (8C) London
  • Wednesday: 39F (4C) Aberdeen / 55F (13C) London
  • Thursday: 46F (8C) Aberdeen / 55F (13C) London
  • Friday: 46F (8C) Aberdeen / 57F (14C) London

However, things turn unsettled once more on Thursday, when wet weather coming in from the West could produce some hill snow in the morning. Then on Friday, strong winds of up to 70mph are possible in places.

Skiers in Scotland have had to make do with fake snow after the real thing failed to appear on time. Two of the country’s ski centres are making their own snow to ensure winter sports enthusiasts are not disappointed.

Glencoe Mountain and the Lecht are the first in Scotland to offer a guaranteed opening and closing date for the season after securing funding for new snow-making equipment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The Lecht in Aberdeenshire opened its Magic Carpet run on Saturday, while Glencoe had a supporters’ event on the slopes and also sledging, with tow-assisted skiing and snowboarding for enthusiasts today.

A Hyde Park Winter Wonderland spokesman told MailOnline today: ‘Despite the sporadic heavy rainfall, the ice rink has remained open. A small amount of surface-level water on the ice rink was removed quickly as the safety of our customers is our priority.’

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