Feeling festive in the South East

TAKE A WINTER CRUISE ALONG THE GRAND UNION, follow a Rudolph Trail and get stuck into some Christmas crafting

Illustration by Lauren Javier

Words by Peter Watts

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Take a winter cruise along the Grand Union Canal
The canals and rivers of the south east are getting into the Christmas spirit this year with a variety of events and entertainment on offer. On the Grand Union Canal at Hemel Hempstead, Waterways Experiences are offering private Christmas day trips along the canal from Nash Mills in Hemel. Boats are decorated for the season and here is complementary hot chocolate and mashmallows, mince pies, and mulled wine.

Listen to a Christmas concert
Fans of Christmas song might enjoy a Christmas concert by the Grand Union Community Choir, who are based in Leighton Buzzard and are performing at Hockliffe Street Baptist Church in Leighton Buzzard on 7 December.

Follow the Rudolph Trail
At the Natural History Museum near the canal in Tring, children can enjoy a Rudolph Christmas Trail around the museum looking for hidden reindeer. There’s a chocolate for everybody who completes the trail.

Take a Santa Cruise
At Stoke Bruerne, 90-minute Santa Cruises depart regularly from the Boat Inn; trips head through the Blisworth Tunnel and back. As well as Father Christmas, passengers will find on board mince pies, cakes, mulled wine, tea, coffee, Christmas crackers, a present for each child and a game of pass-the-parcel. There are up to three trips daily on 7, 8, 14, 15, 20. 21, 22, 23 and 24 December.

There are also festive boat trips in Leicester – Peter Le Marchant Trust will be running 45-minute trips aboard Santa’s Wonderful Sleighboat along the Grand Union.

Visit Santa’s grotto
Over in Welford, Father Christmas and his reindeer will be hanging out at Welford Christmas Tree Farm every day until Christmas Eve. There will be a Christmas grotto on selected days as well as free arts & crafts, reindeer, an elf hunt and a Christmas postbox.
At Whilton Locks canalside restaurant on the Northampton Arm at Buckby near Daventry, Father Christmas will be in his grotto over the season period.

Make baubles and wreaths
Finally, on the Oxford Canal, there are a few events in the cultural quarter by the canal in Banbury. At Banbury Museum, there’s a chance for kids to make wreaths and baubles on 14 & 21 December, while at The Mill Arts Centre there are a number of seasonal shows including a magical (literally) version of ‘A Christmas Carol’, festive crafts, a Snow White ballet and film screenings.

Posted on 06/12/2019