At least 54,000 people are to be evacuated from their homes over the Christmas holidays after a World War Two bomb was discovered in a city in Germany.

The 1.8-tonne aerial bomb was found in the city of Augsburg, and is set to be defused on Christmas Day, prompting the evacuation of thousands of the city's residents, the Associated Press reported.

Anyone unable to stay with relatives or friends while the bomb disposal experts carry out their work is to be housed in a school, with a number of the buildings being opened up to provide support for those who need shelter, with pets permitted to be brought along.

Among the areas that will be sealed off in Augsburg are the medieval castle and the city hall, with police explaining it would be impossible to say how long it would take to carry out the operation to make the area safe.

No one will be permitted to enter the streets near where the bomb has been located from 8am local time until at the operation has been completed.

The discovery of live Second World War bombs in Germany is not unusual, but the bomb discovered in Augsburg is particularly big, prompting a large-scale evacuation.

There have also been discoveries of unexploded WW2 bombs in the UK.