By TAMARA COHEN
Fog at the time: The capital's landmarks, including the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben rise out of the mist yesterday morning as the country woke to a chilly start to the day
Hundreds of passengers had their journeys disrupted last night as fog grounded flights at London airports.
At Heathrow, 132 flights, most of them short-haul, were cancelled and many others delayed.
Officials warned that the poor visibility could continue for the first half of today.
London City Airport said 44 flights were suspended and dozens delayed or diverted due to the poor weather, though all restrictions had been lifted by late last night.
There were also severe delays at Gatwick, however officials said there were only a handful of cancellations.
Yesterday saw winter finally start to bite, but temperatures will remain mild until Thursday when frosts and gale force winds of up to 60mph will set in, forecasters said.
No visibility: St Paul's Cathedral did a disappearing act as thick fog shrouded the capital. Many flights were grounded because of the bad weather
Heavy fog delayed or cancelled around 58 inbound and 74 outbound flights at Heathrow, the worst affected airport.
All stranded passengers had been re-booked and would be put up in hotel accommodation overnight if necessary, said a spokesman.
Some domestic passengers were being taken to their destination by coach.
The airport was still open, and most flights did manage to take off and land, but air traffic controllers were restricting numbers for safety reasons, she said.
Dog in the fog: A man stops to address his dog on a walk through Victoria Park in Leicester yesterday
On the roads, visibility was said to be less than 100 yards in some areas.
A man of 20 was killed after his car ploughed into a garden wall in thick fog in Strood, Kent.
Two passengers were treated for minor injuries. The M25 was reduced to a 30mph zone as drivers struggled to get home. The Met Office last night issued weather warnings for dense fog for Yorkshire and Humberside, the East and West Midlands, the East of England and the South-East.
The next two or three days will be mild, up at 12c or even 14c, though cloud and some blustery showers are expected.
There was sunshine for many on Saturday as temperatures hit 15.9c in Otterbourne, Hampshire – warmer than June’s average peak temperatures of 15.4c.
Five weeks from Christmas, pub beer gardens had a busy weekend, shoppers in sunglasses hit high streets wearing light jumpers, walkers enjoyed picnics amid glorious autumnal colours and families were even seen picking blackberries.
Making a splash: Youngster forget its almost December as they froliced in the waves at Southsea, near Portsmouth, yesterday
The weekend probably marks the end of an extraordinary six weeks of above-average temperatures.
From Thursday, they will dip to around 8c (46f) across the country, and close to zero at night, although there is no sign yet of the heavy snow experienced last winter.
Met Office forecaster Steven Keates said: ‘Towards the end of the week it will definitely feel colder, particularly in the North.
‘Temperatures will be back to normal for this time of year.’
However forecasters said another freezing winter – which would be the third in a row – was unlikely.
Misty-eyed: Big Ben is invisible from this view of central London looking beyond Lambeth Bridge
But it was certainly nice weather for ducks....
Meanwhile, a mallard at London Wetland Centre has hatched a clutch of 11 ducklings, about six months later than usual.
The ducklings, which should have made an appearance sometime between April and June, have been enjoying the winter sunshine. amid temperatures as high as 16C in some places.
The latest that mallard ducklings would normally hatch is August, but that tends to happen when a clutch has failed and the adults try for a second brood.
Nature's confused: This proud mallard has hatched 11 ducklings at London Wetland Centre six months later than normal thanks to the balmy conditions. The latest they would normally emerge is August
Fluffy newborns: All 11ducklings at the wetland centre keep close as they acclimatise to their new environment
Flying fun: Ducks and geese flourish at the National Trust's Dunham Massey estate in Altrincham, near Manchester
It wasn't bad for our other feathered friends either: Two parrots play together as they enjoyed some sunshine in Kensington, London