Make winter magical this Christmas by joining a festive event or activity on the Canal & River Trust’s waterways. Immerse yourself in a yule-tide carol concert or relax and discover your inner calm on a Santa cruise along the canal. Feel festive at Foxton Illuminated Boat Festival, take a sneaky peak behind the scenes at one of the Trust’s winter open days or party like you’ve never partied before and dance to Hacienda Club classics at the bottom of a lock chamber under the stars.


The Canal & River Trust offer seasonal activities and events with a waterways twist to get you out and about this winter whilst being by the water can really help you to relax and unwind this Christmas. To discover more about Christmas events on your local waterways visit


Illuminated Boat Festival at Foxton Locks

Illuminated boats, festively lit historic locks, a fountain and music create a magical atmosphere reflected by the waters of the Grand Union Canal. The Canal & River Trust’s Foxton Illuminated Boat Festival at Foxton Locks, Leicestershire, takes place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 December, 2pm-7pm. This Christmas they’ll be a parade of boats, miles of twinkling fairy lights, carol singing, jazz & blues, rock and festive music from across the world. They’ll also be Christmas stalls and a selection of food and refreshments. Tickets are £5 per person and free for under 12’s. For further information, a full programme of entertainment and to book tickets visit

Dates: Sat 16 December & Sun 17 December 2017

Times: 2pm-7pm

Location: Foxton Locks, Gumley Road, Foxton, Leicestershire, LE16 7RA

Tickets: £5/person free/children (under 12)

Parking: A free park and ride will be operating from Gallows Field.

Further information and to book online:


Hacienda Club Classics Under the Stars

Lock 91 on the Rochdale Canal, in the heart of Manchester, will be opened for one night only to celebrate the city’s musical heritage, by playing a set of Hacienda club classics. Visitors can dance the evening away under the star lit sky and sway their glow sticks to music by local DJ ‘Just Jane’ all 14ft down inside a drained lock chamber.


This one-off music event on Friday 1 December, 6-9pm, is part of a free open weekend taking place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December on the Rochdale Canal, to highlight the essential restoration being carried out by the Canal & River Trust. Throughout the weekend visitors will be able to walk in the drained lock chambers and canal, look around a pop-up museum, visit the ‘virtual hubs’ and an exhibition of historic images. And to carry on the weekend’s music theme, visitors on Saturday will be entertained by a local choir singing Christmas carols in the lock.

Dates & Times:            Dancing to Club Classics – Fri 1 December, 6-9pm, Open Days Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd December 2017, 10am – 4pm

Location:  Lock 91 and 92, Whitworth Street West, off Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LA

Tickets: FREE 

Parking: City Centre car parking.

More information:


Christmas Concert

Join the Wirral Singers and Ringers as they take us through some classic carols and favourite Christmas songs. This annual event takes place at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port on Saturday 9th December 2017, 9-10pm. Tickets at £7 include a tea/coffee and a mince pie. To book or for further information visit

Dates: Sat 9 Dec 2017

Times: 7-10pm

Location: National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 4FW

Tickets: £7

Booking: Call 0151 355 5017

Further information:


Cruise with Santa along the Shropshire Union Canal – Ellesmere Port, Cheshire

Gather your family for a chance to take a boat trip with Santa along the Shropshire Union Canal. This popular trip includes a journey with stories from Santa and a trip to his Grotto where all children will receive an early Christmas present and refreshments.                       

The trips take place throughout December at the National Waterways Museum – Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, for further details and to secure your tickets £10/person call 0151 355 5017 or visit

Dates: 16th,17th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th December 2017

Times: 11am, 12.45pm, 2.30pm

Location: National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire

Tickets: £10/person

Booking: Call 0151 355 5017

Further information:


Santa Claus is coming to…’ the Anderton Boat Lift, Cheshire

Built 141 years ago to lift cargo boats 50 feet from the River Weaver to the Trent & Mersey Canal, and known as one of the ‘Wonders of the Waterways’, the Anderton Boat Lift is a remarkable piece of Victorian engineering. In December, the Canal & River Trust is organising special river cruises from the boat lift along the River Weaver Navigation, with guest appearances from Mr. Claus. Lasting around 50 minutes, with stories and activities hosted by Santa himself, each child will receive a gift. Tickets £7.75/child and £5.75/adult, booking is essential call 01606 789 777. Cruises take place between 10am and 3pm on various dates throughout December. For more information visit:

Dates: 16th,17th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th December 2017

Times: Between 10am and 3pm

Location: Anderton Boat Lift 

Tickets: £7.75/child £5.75/adult

Booking: Call 01606 789 777

Further information:


Santa Cruises along the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal

Father Christmas takes to the water this festive season and will be setting sail from the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester, on a 45 minute festive cruise. Festive refreshments will be served, there will be Christmas gifts for all the children and free entry to the museum where children can try their hand at seasonal arts and crafts. Tickets cost £10.50 per person and can be booked by calling the museum on 01452 318200

Dates: Sat 9, Sun 10, 16-23 December 2017

Times: 12pm, 1.30pm & 3pm

Location: National Waterways Museum - Gloucester

Tickets: £10.50

Booking: Call 01452 318200

Further information:


Floating Christmas Markets

Ditch the high street and find some unique Christmas presents at the Bradford on Avon Christmas Market or the Berkhamsted Floating Christmas Market. Both events are organised by the Roving Canal Traders Association and bring together boating businesses selling handmade goods and gifts.

Dates: Bradford on Avon Christmas Market – Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd Dec 2017

Times: 11am – 6pm

Location: Kennet & Avon Canal, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 2EA

Tickets: FREE

Further information:


Dates: Berkhamsted Floating Christmas Market – Sat 9th & Sun 10th Dec 2017

Times: 10am – 5pm

Location: Grand Union Canal, Berkhamsted, HP4 1HS

Tickets: FREE

Further information:


Christmas at Porters Row

This year Christmas is coming to Porters Row at the National Waterways Museum with the Victorian cottages being traditionally decorated so that you can take a seasonal journey back through the decades . You will be able to experience the sights, sounds and smells from our special Victorian cooking demonstrations and Mr Charles Dickens (in the guise of his most famous old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge) will tell his tale of Christmas Bah Humbug. 

Dates: 9 & 10 December 2017

Times: 11am – 3pm

Location: National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 4FW

Tickets: Museum entrance fee £8.75/adult (annual pass), £5.40/child (annual pass), under fives free

Further information:


Unlock the Hidden History of your Waterways

Follow in the footsteps of Georgian and Victorian engineers, craftsmen and navvies at the Canal & River Trust’s winter open days. This is a rare chance to see behind the scenes, venture to the bottom of a drained lock chamber, stroll along an empty canal and discover how modern-day engineers and conservationists care for 2,000 miles of historic waterways. Eight free open days will be held across the country, between December 2017 and March 2018, and are a great way for both adults and children to experience the hidden histories of Britain’s much-loved waterways.

Dates: Various dates between December 2017 and March 2018

Times: Various

Location: Various

Tickets: FREE

More information:


The Little Christmas Tree – Puppet Theatre Barge

This new Christmas production combines exquisitely carved wooden marionettes and beautiful shadow puppets to tell the poignant story of the unique friendship between a boy and a little Christmas tree.

Various dates and times from 2nd Dec to 7th January 2018. Tickets: £8.50/child £12/adult call 0207 249 6876. For more information visit

Dates: Various

Times: Various

Location: Puppet Theatre Barge, Little Venice, Blomfield Road, London W9 2PF

Tickets: £8.50/child, £12/adult

Booking 0207 2496876

Further information:



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