Santa didn’t want us to tell you this, but the information was recently leaked by an unscrupulous elf. In the run up to Christmas Santa Claus himself actually enjoys a bit of canal cruising on the UK’s community boats and will be appearing on at least five canals – maybe more.
According to insiders at NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa operates within his own space-time continuum, which explains why he is able to simultaneously volunteer on several community boating projects at once. Using advanced techniques that have mystified scientists, Santa will be simultaneously appearing in these five locations during December. So, whether you’ve been nautical or nice, head to one of these places if you’d like to see Santa.
1) Loxwood, West Sussex
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 on weekends from 7th to 23rd December. Booking is recommended.
2) Newbury Wharf, Berkshire
The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust are providing Santa boat trips on the iceboat Jubilee from Newbury Wharf on the weekends from 6th to 23rd December. Children can cruise to ‘Greenham Land’ to find Santa and enjoy a Christmas story, singing and plenty of time with Santa during the boat trip. The ticket price of £8 includes, for children a good quality present from Santa and for adults, the choice of mulled wine or hot drink and a mince pie. VisitNewbury.org.uk
3) Retford, Nottinghamshire
The Chesterfield Canal Trust are dedicated to the restoration and promotion of the Chesterfield canal. They are running Santa Special Cruises with a present for every child and a mince pie and a drink for every adult.
4) Thurmaston, Leicestershire
The Baldwin Trust operate specially adapted narrow boats giving canal and river day trips for family groups and in particular for the elderly, the disabled and those with special needs. They have just enjoyed another successful weekend of Santa Trips, the boat didn’t stop all weekend. If there is enough interest, they are thinking about extending the trips to the 20th & 21st of December.
5) Harefield, Middlesex
Hillingdon Narrowboats Association are running boat trips to meet Santa at the Royal Quay, on the weekends beginning on 6th December. The boat will collect you outside the Coy Carp, where you can board centrally-heated boats and enjoy an hour-long cruise, including meeting Santa and receiving a gift. There will be hot and cold drinks with mince pies on board. You can also have a digitally-printed and framed photo with your family and Santa in the grotto.
As with the other trips it’s advisable to book in advance.
Also, in Hertfordshire the Rickmansworth Waterways Trust are holding a carol service at Batchworth Lock on 13th December at 4.30pm.
The Rickmansworth Players Choir and the Chiltern Hills Brass Band will be attending and refreshments will be available from Cafe @ Lock 81. Batchworth Lock Canal Centre will also be providing festive cheer and goodwill! Parking is available at the local Tesco in Harefield Road or the Rickmansworth Aquadrome car park. This event is organised by the Boaters Christian Fellowship.
Is Santa volunteering in your community this December? Leave us a comment below with a link to your community event!