There is a chill in the air and the nights are drawing in which means the Winter Solstice is here.

The shortest day of the year in the UK ( December 21) marks the day when we have the fewest hours of daylight.

It's not all gloom though, our days will get continuously longer from now until June's Summer Solstice

Here's everything you need to know about the winter solstice. 

Hereford Times: Winter Solstice takes places on Wednesday, December 21 this year. ( Canva)Winter Solstice takes places on Wednesday, December 21 this year. ( Canva) (Image: Canva)

How long is the shortest day in the UK?

On the shortest day, there will be only seven hours, 49 minutes and 42 seconds of daylight in London. 

The sun will rise at 8.04 am and set at 3.53 pm in the British capital.

You can check your local sunrise and set time by visiting the Met Office website.

Why does the winter solstice happen? 

Royal Museums Greenwich states that the winter solstice will occur at 9.48pm on Wednesday, December 21.

The winter solstice occurs in the UK when the north pole reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun. 

The day only happens once a year in the UK but it does occur twice annually across the globe, once in the northern hemisphere and once in the southern hemisphere. 

The term winter solstice actually refers to the exact moment the earth is tilted furthest away from the sun, however it is also sometimes used to describe the day this occurs.

During the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the further north you travel the darker it will be. 

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On December 21 2022, the north pole will remain dark for the entire day. 

From this day onwards, the days will gradually grow longer until the summer solstice six months later, following which the days will again begin to shorten.

When is summer solstice? 

The next summer solstice will take place on Wednesday, June 23 2023 in the northern hemisphere, marking the longest day of the year. 

Summer solstice is when the earth is tilted closest to the sun and is the opposite of the winter solstice.