A major holiday airport has been shut as the first snow of the winter to hit southern England caused havoc with road, rail and air travel.

Stansted Airport in Essex, where the snow was particularly heavy, had to close at 6am on Wednesday, just as the first flights were due to operate.

Aberdeen and Luton were among other airports where the wintry conditions caused delays, while a number of main line rail services and Tube trains were delayed.

A Stansted spokesman said: "Northern Essex seems to have got the worst of the snow and we had to shut the airport at 6am. The roads round here are treacherous."

Aberdeen airport said there was snow overnight and there could be delays to flights, while Luton airport in Bedfordshire also warned of possible delays.

On the railways, where passengers have endured floods and a series of non weather-related problems of late, there were a number of routes that were snow-affected. No trains were able to run between Watford Junction in Hertfordshire and Harrow and Wealdstone in north-west London, while snow caused disruption between London and Reading in Berkshire.

Trains were unable to run between Barnes and Hounslow via Brentford in west London, while there were delays between London and Ashford International in Kent and also between Sevenoaks in Kent and Hither Green in south-east London.

Stansted was able to open again just before 8.30am, but a spokesman for the Essex airport warned passengers that some flights had been cancelled and others would be delayed.

Traffic information company Inrix warned drivers that many roads in the Home Counties were snow-affected, with the A505 blocked between Hitchin and Letchworth in Hertfordshire. Among other roads with poor conditions was the A2 in Kent.

There was disruption to many trains run by the Southeastern train company, with cancellations and delays of up to 45 minutes. South West Trains' Reading-London delays were as long as 90 minutes, while London Overground's Watford Junction to Harrow and Wealdstone services were not due to restart before 10am.