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Come and see Santa by water

We don’t know how he does it, but Santa will be here, there and everywhere across our waterways this month.

Santa Cruise Christmas 2022 campaign image (Santa, Mrs Claus and elves in front of lift).

Here’s our guide to where you and your family can find him on your local waterway.

Beginning in the north, you’ll find him at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port every Saturday and Sunday in December.

Thanks to our friends at the Wirral Community Narrowboat Trust, you can also join an exciting, festive, fun-packed 45-minute boat trip along the Shropshire Union, full of carols, games, stories and a treasure trail to help track down Santa’s missing presents. Once back ashore, children can meet Santa in his magical grotto to share their own seasonal wishes and choose a special present to take home. The full experience costs £11.50. Or for £8, children can enjoy the Santa’s Grotto Experience only. Tickets also include access to the waterways museum, historic boats, cafe and playground for the day.

Events at Anderton Boat Lift

Meanwhile, over at Anderton Boat Lift & Visitor Centre, Santa will be leading three three boat trips a day each weekend in December, at 12.30, 1.30 and 2.30pm. Everyone can enjoy classic Christmas songs and stories as the boat glides along the River Weaver towards Northwich. You’ll have the chance to pose with Santa for photos and each child over 12 months will receive a special gift to take home.

If your little elves are feeling hungry, you can also join us for a delicious pre-Santa Cruise cooked breakfast in the café from 10am. Joint tickets are available for £20 each or £12 (adult)/£15 (child) for the cruise only.

Events at Standedge Tunnel

As if by magic, Santa will also be hopping across to the other side of the Pennines to appear at Standedge Tunnel this Friday and Saturday, and again on Christmas Eve. Take an exciting ride on Santa’s sleigh boat through the longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in the UK.

Events in Gloucester

Meanwhile further south at National Waterways Museum Gloucester, Santa will be telling stories every Saturday, with a 30 minute experience for little ones and their carers in a group session with other families.

Once you’ve heard the story, they can then come and collect a present from the man himself. New this year is a late afternoon session on Tuesday 19th December to experience Gloucester Docks as it starts to get dark and the lights become magical.

Each year, Gloucester Docks puts on a festive, show with lights, a seasonal market, and a spectacular ice rink, but after your stroll around, you can join us for a festive take on the traditional afternoon tea this season with a selection of delicious cakes, finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and unlimited tea and filter coffee. Please book your afternoon tea at least 48hrs in advance by calling 01452 915676.

Last Edited: 13 December 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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