HomeAdventure TravelCelebrate a Cool Yule on the UK’s Canals

Frosted holly, mystical mistletoe, meandering towpaths and time spent visiting a cosy waterside inn – being on or near the water can be magical in the wintertime. Gather your friends and family, pull on your hat, scarf and mittens and embrace the crisp cool temperatures by spending quality time together crewing a canal boat, discovering a new walk or attending a canal-side Christmas event.

Whilst the days may be shorter the nation’s beautiful waterways are always open for you to visit and being by the water can really help you to keep your cool this Christmas.

Escape to the water on a canal boat:

Whether it’s a romantic break for two or a big family affair for 10 book a short break or a week long holiday for a Christmas with a difference. To discover over 120 different destinations to choose from visit the Canal & River Trust’s handpicked honeypot sites at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit. Try the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. This canal weaves through prime mistletoe growing territory. Worcestershire is the UK’s main region for growing and trading mistletoe and a great place to view this mystical and romantic plant in its natural surroundings. Follow the canal into the cathedral city of Worcester as it joins the River Severn and investigate the city’s medieval heart and Christmas markets. A week’s break, setting off from Tarde Bigge, Worcestershire with Drifters boating holidays will cost from £900 for up to six people. Call 0844 984 0322 or visit www.drifters.co.uk for more information.

Christmas activities with a waterways twist:

Cruise with Santa along the Shropshire Union Canal – Ellesmere Port, Cheshire

Gather your family for a chance to take a boat trip with Santa along the Shropshire Union Canal. This popular trip includes a journey with stories from Santa and a trip to his Grotto where all children will receive an early Christmas present and refreshments.

The trips take place throughout December at the National Waterways Museum – Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, for further details and to secure your tickets £10/child £8/adult call 0151 355 5017 or visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

Santa Claus is coming to…’ the Anderton Boat Lift, Cheshire

Built 141 years ago to lift cargo boats 50 feet from the River Weaver to the Trent & Mersey Canal, and known as one of the ‘Wonders of the Waterways’, the Anderton Boat Lift is a remarkable piece of Victorian engineering. In December, the Canal & River Trust is organising special river cruises from the boat lift along the River Weaver Navigation, with guest appearances from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Lasting around 50 minutes, with stories and activities hosted by Santa himself, each child will get a gift. Tickets £7.75/child and £5.75/adult, booking is essential call 01606 789 777. Cruises take place between 10am and 3pm throughout December. For more information visit: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/anderton-boat-lift

Traditional carols by the canal at the National Waterways Museum – Ellesmere Port, Cheshire

Celebrate the magic of Christmas with the Canal & River Trust’s seasonal carol concert at the National Waterways Museum – Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 4FW. On 2nd December between 7.30pm and 9.45pm, the Museum will host a mix of canal-based songs, readings and traditional carols performed by the Wirral Singers and Ringers. The audience is invited to warm up their vocal chords and join in with the carol singing. Refreshments are included.

Tickets: £7/person will all proceeds go to the Boat Museum Society. For further information and to book call 0151 355 5017 or visit

Standedge Tunnel Christmas market – Marsden, West Yorkshire

For a unique Christmas shopping experience browse the festive stalls at the 200 year old transhipment warehouse at Standedge Tunnel, Britain’s longest tunnel, set in the beautiful Pennine hills. This Christmas market takes place on 10th December & 11th December 2016, 11am and 4pm, and will feature unique gifts created by local artisans, refreshments and seasonal music.

For further details call Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre 01484 844298 or visit

Santa Cruises at the National Waterways Museum – Gloucester, Gloucestershire

Santa will join you on the cruise as you depart from the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester’s historic docks. You’ll be able to travel with Santa visit his grotto and enjoy mince pies and hot drinks before taking part in seasonal craft workshops and the indoor ’12 trees of Christmas trail’ at the Museum.

Cruises take place throughout December and cost £10/person. For further information or to book tickets call 01452 318200 or visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/

Winter walks:

Cooked the perfect turkey, pulled your last Christmas cracker and eaten your own body weight in cheese? It’s time to get some fresh air and make the most of your canals with a walk this Christmas.

The Canal & River Trust has 2,000 miles of easy to access, traffic-free towpaths – so whether you need a short walk that all the family can enjoy or if you’re looking to shed the Christmas weight gain take a look at the charity’s recommended winter walks and places to visit. The Canal & River Trust has handpicked 120 of its finest destinations across the country to ensure your walk includes relaxing views of the water, cosy canal-side cafes, teashops or inns and historic features from start to finish.
Visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit for further information.

For further event, destination or walking information visit

The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales, caring for the nation’s third largest collection of listed structures, as well as museums, archives, and hundreds of important wildlife sites.

We believe that living waterways transform places and enrich lives and our role is to make sure there is always a place on your doorstep where you can escape the pressures of everyday life, stretch your legs and simply feel closer to nature.

www.canalrivertrust.org.uk @CanalRiverTrust @crtcomms


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