Festivities on the UK canals this Christmas

Snow on the Basingstoke Canal
Snow on the Basingstoke Canal

Christmas is a magical time of year to explore the UK waterways. With beautiful crisp mornings and cosy evenings by the solid fuel stove, winter-time cruising certainly has its appeals. There are plenty of attractions available to visit around Christmas time all over the UK, here’s a round-up of the best ones this year:



• Visit Warwick this Christmas break from our bases at Stockton or Warwick on the Grand Union Canal. Stop off and explore Hatton World’s Enchanted Christmas Kingdom, browse the Hatton Shopping Village’s boutique stalls to pick up some unusual gifts. A trip to Warwick wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Warwick Castle- this year hosting a range of Christmas events for adults and children alike, including story time with Santa and the Winter Birds of Prey Show.


• Birmingham has so many festive options you’ll be spoilt for choice! Not only do they host the infamous Frankfurt market annually (see more below), there’s also a Santa show and a pantomime at Cadbury World. Drayton Manor has a Christmas Tree Light Show, an indoor ice rink and a ride on the Polar Express on offer! How about a trip to visit Santa with a difference? Take a boat ride to visit him in his underground grotto in the Dudley tunnel! Moor up at Gas Street Basin in the centre of Birmingham, a five hour cruise from our Tardebigge base.

Moor up in the centre of Birmingham


• Visit the ancient city of Chester, a 7 hour cruise through the countryside from our base at Bunbury. Chester Cathedral is hosting the Christmas Tree Festival this year, along with carol services sung by the choir. The increasingly popular Lanterns at Chester Zoo event is back once again this year, take a walk on the illuminated trail through the enchanted gardens past life-sized animal lanterns! From Bunbury you can also visit Market Drayton- the home of gingerbread.

Christmas Markets

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market- The largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria. Sample the bratwursts and glühwein (mulled wine) whilst browsing the stalls and searching for gifts. An easy cruise of just five hours down the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from our base at Tardebigge, just search ‘Birmingham’ in our city breaks drop-down.

Bath Christmas Market- An award winning market, with 170 wooden chalets selling festive goods lining the streets of Bath. As well as the market, Bath Abbey hosts a Christmas carol service. There’s also an outdoor ice-rink and Santa’s Grotto to visit too! Look for Bath city breaks departing from Bradford on Avon or Claverton for a gentle cruise on the Kennet & Avon into Bath city centre.

Bath Christmas Market
Bath Christmas Market

Coventry Christmas Village- One for the foodies with food stalls featuring dishes from all over the world. The market also offers a wide selection of unique gifts, including leather accessories, toys and sweet treats! Coventry can be reached from a number of bases, including Rugby and Clifton-On-Dunsmore on the North Oxford Canal and Stoke Golding, via the Ashby Canal.

Please note that some routes may be affected by winter maintenance on the canals. We will advise you on planned stoppages and route restrictions.

To find your perfect Christmas break, search under city breaks and select your chosen destination from the drop-down menu on: www.waterwaysholidays.com/city_breaks.htm. Alternatively, give us a call on 01252 796400 for friendly advice.