Bookmakers have slashed the odds for a white Christmas as forecasters say it could be the coldest winter in eight years.

After recent mild winters, this winter is poised to be slightly colder than average, The Weather Company said.

Britain faces -10C Arctic influxes bringing snow, ice and travel disruption in the run-up to Christmas, forecasters said.

It will be the coldest winter since 2012-13 if the UK average temperature is just 0.2C below normal, at 3.5C or lower, Met Office records show.

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The Met Office has warned of below-average temperatures in December and a higher chance of winter cold spells than recent years.

Oxford Mail:

Snow in Oxford in 2019: Pic Pam Denton

It comes as popular bookmakers have cut the odds on snow falling in the UK on Christmas Day.

The odds for a white Christmas - snow falling on Christmas Day - are 7/1 according to bookmakers Paddy Power.

Spokesman Lee Price said: "The traders have been leaning out of their windows with their tongues in the air, trying to detect the likelihood of snow in Oxford this Christmas Day.

"And they’ve calculated that it’s a 7/1 shot."

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Ladbrokes now make it just 5/4 for a white Christmas, having been 6/4 earlier this month, with Edinburgh and Newcastle the most likely cities to see snow at 3/1.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: "It's looking likely we'll be waking up to the white stuff on Christmas Day as temperatures continue to tumble to snowfall territory."

Ladbrokes say the latest bets show the odds of snow falling on December 25 in the UK are 5/4.

Oxford Mail:

Snow in Faringdon in 2019

Looking more specifically by area, the odds in Edinburgh are 3/1, Newcastle 3/1, Belfast 4/1, Cardiff 4/1, Dublin 4/1, Manchester 4/1, and London 5/1.

With snow forecast to fall sooner rather than later, Coral have also been taking bets on the odds of a White Christmas.

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The last widespread white Christmas in the UK was back in 2010. A whopping 83 per cent of stations recorded snow on the ground, the highest amount ever reported.

Technically, the last white Christmas was on Christmas Day in 2015, with 10 per cent of weather stations recording snowfall, though no station reported any of snow settling on the ground.

It is thought that Christmas first became associated with snow during the Victorian period, after Dickens featured it in his books. Britain also experienced colder winters between 1600 and 1814, with temperatures often dropping to -13 C.

This era is now known as the Little Ice Age. During this period, it was common for the River Thames to freeze and in 1536, King Henry VIII travelled from London to Greenwich on a sleigh across it.

Oxford Mail:

The severe weather later led to the idea of 'frost fairs', where shops, ice rinks and pubs would open on the ice.

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In more recent years, snow has become a recognisable symbol of Christmas, often seen as part of cards, wrapping paper, festive artwork and tree decorations.