When you think of Christmas, and the typical outings, activities and excursions it brings along with it, a Christmas boat trip is probably very rarely one of them!
Though, why not I say!
If you’re lucky enough to be residents of a town with the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal running through it, then surely it’s a great idea to make the most of it – in ALL seasons!
I hadn’t heard of the ‘Cruise with Santa’ Christmas trip aboard The “Rose of Hungerford”, a purpose built 55 feet long passenger trip boat owned by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, until it was suggested to me by a friend, who had also been on their Halloween adventure, but when she asked me if we fancied coming along too, I excitedly agreed.
Firstly, it was a lovely way to spend yet more quality time with your young family at Christmas, secondly it wasn’t at all expensive, and thirdly – it didn’t take very long, so you still had plenty of time left to finish off (or start!) all your Christmas shopping!
And I suppose, with it on our doorstep, we’d have been daft not to at least give it a try and see what it was all about.
So, with places going fast, we managed to book for the weekend just before Christmas.
It was £8 per person, which we didn’t think was bad at all, for the one hour long trip where the children even had the chance to meet Father Christmas and each receive a toy which had been especially chosen for them accruing to the details we had given when signing up for the trip.
Also included in the price, each adult received a really very lovely glass of mulled wine, and a warm mince pie. Now normally, with any activity I’ve ever experienced like this, you only ever get served your drink in a plastic cup or plastic wine glass, so it felt really rather civilised to be sat, chatting away and laughing along with your friends, holding a ‘proper’ glass of wine whilst sailing on the high seas! Ahem. Ok – not so much the high seas as the ripples of the canal, but hey!
We had all wrapped up warm, with our coats, hats and gloves, but the day was so glorious, we had to shed most of these off along the way.
As I mentioned above, the trip was only very short, literally down the canal, through a lock, and back again, only stopping to pick up Father Christmas who was waving to us from the towpath!
But it was lovely.
Those organising it, The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, and the canalboat itself, The Rose of Hungerford were fabulous. They were so very kind and attentive, full of smiles and festive cheer. They each played the part of Santa’s elves and were all dressed up in the typical red and green outfits, which the children thought was fabulous.
One of them even read stories to the children to keep them entertained and in high spirits, which was also rather good for the adults as it gave us the chance to catch up with one another as well!
With regard to facilities it was excellent – wheelchair access, adequate toilet facilities, safety gear etc plus we had lugged our big old buggy with us which was full of change bags and blankets, which was of no problem at all as it was just collapsed and strapped to the roof of the canalboat! Perfect huh!
When the little trip had come to an end, we all disembarked holding tightly onto the hands of little ones with big beaming smiles and happy faces.
They’d all had a brilliant time.
No doubt this will be yet another addition to our annual Christmas Traditions and festivities.
Then, before we left the canal side, good old mummy had been at her Girl Guide/Boy Scout antics again and had come armed and dangerous with full loaf of bread ready to dish out to the kids to feed the ducks.
This was amazing too – we were totally swarmed by ducks and swans from all angles!
Daddy and Ella even got photobombed by a swan!! Take a peek below.