Santa Claus is coming to town – by boat!

Santa on the Wey and Arun canal

Santa on the Wey and Arun canal

Well-known for his generosity, Santa Claus is actually quite the community boater and this year he will be using his magic to simultaneously volunteer with several community boating projects at once.

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year it’s not too late to support community boating and have a little festive fun at the same time. Here’s a selection of seasonal events on the canals around the country this Christmas.

The Wey and Arun Trust invite you to join in the fun of a festive Santa Cruise on their electric boat, Wiggonholt, travelling along a section of the Wey and Arun Canal and through a restored lock. Children will receive a gift from Santa who will board the boat at the lock whilst adults enjoy mulled wine and mince pies. The boat departs from behind the Onslow Arms on the B2133 in Loxwood (free car parking).

Hillingdon Narrowboats Association are also getting ready for their annual Santa trips. These have been very successful in the past and I’m sure they’ll be popular this year. Each trip lasts about one hour with a visit to Santa in his Christmas grotto and every good child will get a special present.

Santa is headed for HNA’s Boathouse, Summerhouse Lane UB9 6HX The boat trips to see Santa are running  on 7th & 8th, 14th & 15th, 21st & 22nd December from 12 o’clock – 5pm. £5 per adult £10 per child.

As Santa is very busy, he needs lots of helpers to assist with boat-handling, at lockside, outside the Coy Carp not to mention some helpful pixies. If you’re interested in volunteering please contact bookings@mail.hna.org.uk as soon as possible.

Santa will also be aboard the Rose of Hungerford near Newbury in the run up to the festive period spreading good cheer as he cruises along.

The motor barge will depart from Hungerford Wharf Canal Walk (off Hungerford high street RG17 0EQ) each day over the two weekends preceding Christmas and on Christmas Eve. Santa will greet the children and hand out presents, hot drinks and mince pies. Adults will be offered a drink from the bar to celebrate the festive season!

More details at VisitNewbury.org

Trips last 1 hour and cost £7. Please telephone for times. Rose of Hungerford Booking Office Tel: 01635 255367 All proceeds from these trips go to the The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust

Swinton Lock Activity Centre is a community based arts, education and activity centre in an idyllic location by the Sheffield and South Yorkshire navigation. They have a Christmas open day on the 1st December 10am to 3pm, with lots of activities including Santa Boat Trips, Santa’s Grotto, Christmas arts and crafts, hot and cold food etc.  They are also offering others an opportunity to ring and book a stall to sell their own gifts and products.

The Rickmansworth Waterways Trust have two events planned: One ticket and the other free.

The first one is this Saturday at the Mill End Sports and Social club – Where the Working boats Went. RWT is promoting a great and widely renowned show by the duo Life and Times, of “Where the Working Boats Went”, the story of Britain’s Industrial Waterways in drama and song. Performed to great reviews all over the country, they’re coming to Rickmansworth!

I’ve seen this show and I absolutely loved it, so if you can get to Ricky this weekend – get a ticket!

Where the Working Boats Went, Sat 23 November at 7.30pm, tickets £8 from fabian@rwt.org.uk or the Canal Centre on 01923 778382

Their second event is the Christmas Carol Service and entry is free. This is on Saturday 14th December 2013 from 4.30pm. Come along to Batchworth Lock on the Grand Union Canal for a festive concert of traditional carols and music in the beautiful setting of the Lock, Grand Union Canal and River Chess. Join the Rickmansworth Players Choir and the local Brass Band in singing your way to Christmas!

If none of these events are near to where you live why not find your local community boating project, or get involved and train in community boating? Supporting your local project could be a New Year’s Resolution that is fun to keep!

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