I have just come back from a weeks holiday and it looks like have gained a lodger. Its quite a big one and I am concerned that it is a false widow because i have young children and with the cold weather around the corner I dont want them coming into the house and hiding in toy boxes etc.
Any advice on what spieces it is would be much appricated!
The false widow people seem mostly concerned about is Steatoda nobilis. I can't get my Photobucket album to open otherwise I'd link a photo here, but google S. nobilis and compare to your spider.
Females tend to be territorial and don't wander about, or leave their webs/nearby hiding places. They seem perfectly able to cope with British winters & don't seem to need to come inside, they just hole up & sit the winter out, outside.
Of course, some live indoors all year round, but you would have seen these by now. S. nobilis likes to be high up, away from the floor and associated traffic. It's one of the least likely spiders to get into a toy box on the floor.
EDIT: Here's one that has lived in the same vent, in the same window, inside my front room for at least a year...
I got your photos to open, they're not good enough to identify the spider in question, but it doesn't strike me as being a false widow, more likely an orb weaver of some kind. Any better photos would be apreciated for a firmer ID.