Travel agents came out fighting as wintry conditions saw up to 18in of snowfall in the UK.

Sheila Cooper, manager of  The Co-operative Travel in Heswall, the Wirral, closed the shop after lunch on Tuesday when snow threatened to make travel conditions difficult for staff going home.

Cooper redirected phone calls to her home and secured £33,000 worth of bookings that afternoon.

She said: “Clearly the bad weather got people thinking about their holidays, although one big booking was for Alaska, which you would have thought would have been the last thing on their minds.”

Andrew Brownrigg, who owns Haslemere Travel in Surrey where 18in of snow fell, sent his staff home early on Wednesday but remained unconcerned about the impact on his business.

He said: “It is much easier to keep our business going with the internet these days.”

Peter Holmes, owner of Classic Travel in Loughton, and Travel Weekly makeover winner, said sales have even been driven by the poor conditions, adding: “We have taken quite a few bookings as people haven’t been able to get to work.”

The freezing conditions closed airports across the UK and brought travel chaos.