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Make the most of canals this Christmas

Christmas is a time of good cheer, but many of us could benefit from having somewhere to escape to during the festive season.

Friends walking by the canal in winter

Some place where we only hear the sweet sound of chirping birds and the slow trickle of water. Where exercise means sauntering along a frosty towpath, not chasing the little ones around the tree.

The festive season means something different to everyone, but there's one shared experience that is almost universal. With short days, dark nights and so much going on, taking time for yourself can be difficult.

Here's our guide to how and why you should make the most of our canals this Christmas.

Don't forget, you can enjoy a dose of waterside tranquillity without leaving the house by visiting our virtual hub.

Seven reasons why life's better by water at Christmas

1. You've eaten too much food

Christmas brings mince pies, chocolates, sherry, gingerbread and whatever else you thought was a good idea at the time.

It's fine to let your hair down and treat yourself to something tasty, but after a day of indulgence, going for a walk can make you feel a whole lot better.

Our canals have miles and miles of tranquil towpaths just waiting for you.

2. It's the morning after the night before

Many of us enjoy a little tipple here and there over Christmas, but when the tipples turn into tumbles, you may need some help the following day.

Fresh air along our canals can help that foggy feeling to go away. Walking makes your body work harder to clear out the toxins in your system.

3. It's time to clear up

We get it. You've worked hard for weeks to get everything ready, endless tidying, shopping, wrapping and planning, and when the big day is over, there's no way you want to do any more clearing up.

Why not offer to take the dog out for an extra long walk? Take the kids for a jaunt, or (even better) escape alone?

4. There's nothing on TV

Don't be bored silly with TV shows and specials. Enough is enough. If there's a serious threat of someone finding the Monopoly you've hidden, get out of the house. This is a must for the whole Christmas period. A walk or run outside will reinvigorate you. You could feed the ducks or look out for some winter wildlife.

Couple down by the canal during winter

5. The kids are running wild

Excited for more-or-less, the whole of December, kids are now likely to be packed ful of sugar - just bursting with energy. Put that buzz to good use and instead of groaning while they run wild in the living room, let them run free outside. Burn off some of those calories. If it snows, all the better. A snowman or two later, the children will be tired and ready for a quiet evening.

6. Christmas itself

We've decided it's ok to just want an hour or two of peace, without the constant background of Christmas songs and family bickering.

Listen to your iPod and take a walk, cycle a few miles taking in the peace and quiet of your local canal. When you go back, you'll be recharged and ready for more festive fun.

7. You want to feel free

It's lovely to dress up over the Christmas period, but you don't have to look fancy for our canals. On the towpath, no one is going to judge your hair or what you're wearing.

Our canals and rivers are a haven for peace and wildlife, so when you need to get away after one mince pie too many, this is the place to be.

Merry Christmas everyone, we hope to see you over the holidays.

Man walks along snowy towpath next to an iced-over canal and snow-covered fields in the morning sun
Two women eat lunch next to the canal

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Last Edited: 04 December 2023

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