Feeling festive in the North East

GO TO A NORDIC MICRO-FESTIVAL, take a Santa Cruise or gaze upon narrowboats lit up with festive cheer this December

Words by Peter Watts

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Take a Santa Cruise
Christmas comes to the canals of the North East this month and there are many ways to get into the festive mood. If you are near Sheffield, you can book a Santa cruise along the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal from Victoria Quays. These one-hour cruises (£14.95) take place on the weekend leading up to Christmas and include a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine (tea or coffee if you prefer), while the children get to meet Father Christmas. There aren’t many tickets left so book soon to avoid disappointment.

You can also enjoy a Christmas cruise in York along the River Aire, which start in a grotto under Lendal Bridge and includes face painting as well as the chance to meet Santa. The same company, City Cruises York, also do party boats for adults over the festive period including food, wine and music. Booking is essential.

Head along to a Christmas festival
In Leeds, there’s a Christmas festival being held at Liberty Dock on the River Aire. Hinterland is aimed at adults and it has been described as a ‘Nordic micro-festival’ with huge tipis that house an ice bar, live music, food, brass bands, local gin and log fires all set around a pine tree forest.

In Sowerby Bridge, on the River Calder, the annual Winterlight Festival takes place on 15 December. This amazing illuminated street festival features sound and light, face painting, food stalls, mulled wine and fireworks. It’s only a short stroll from the river and there’s a fair chance that some of the houseboats moored along the bank will put out their own fairy lights in celebration.

Race like old Saint Nick
How about something more energetic? In Pocklington – from where the charming Pocklington Canal meanders – you can take part in the annual Santa Dash at Allerthorpe Lakeland Park. There will be stalls, games and a raffle – with money being raised for St Leonard’s Hospice – and the race begins at 11am.

Or simply make a splash…
Following a similar theme, don’t miss the Santa Splash at Castleford Lock on the Aire & Calder Navigation this 21 December at 10am. Run by Castleford Community Paddlesports Club, the event involves a free 30-minute canoeing session, hot chocolate and mince pies as well as a prize for the best dressed Santa.

Posted on 06/12/2019