Take to the water for a canal boating trip
Whether it’s a romantic break for two or a larger family gathering, take to the waters this winter for a Christmas with a difference.
The famous Worcester and Birmingham Canal weaves through prime mistletoe territory to connect these historic cities. Worcestershire is the UK’s primary region for growing and trading this traditional romantic plant, and to view it in its natural surroundings from the canal is a festive treat. Follow the canal as it enters the cathedral city of Worcester to explore its medieval walls and Christmas markets.
To celebrate the holidays a little differently this winter, be sure to try Drifters boating holidays along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal for a seasonal break this Christmas. Or to discover over 120 different other destinations, visit the Canal & River Trust website for more ideas: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit.
Historical hangout with Jane Austen
If you’re spending more time in Hampshire, Basingstoke is the former stomping ground of Jane Austin. The town offers a guided walk that has been developed retracing the footsteps of the town’s famous daughter. Visitors can also delve further into Basingstoke’s past on a 90-minute ‘Town Trail’ a self-guided walk, which brings the town’s history, architecture and personalities alive with 45 interesting talking points. For more information visit: www.bas-herit-soc.org
Help the Haytor Rangers
Fancy blowing away the cobwebs for a day of conservation in a spectacular National Park? Resist the temptation to snuggle up one Sunday and get yourself over to Haytor, Dartmoor, for a fantastic day of conservation with the Rangers. You will learn more about Dartmoor’s exquisite wildlife and rare species, moorland management and the vital work of the Ranger Service – plus a chance to burn off last night’s mince pies in some hearty outdoor exercise!
Conservation work days occur every second Sunday at Haytor, free of charge. For a fabulous day of fresh air and good work, look no further. Please contact Simon Lee (Haytor Ranger) 07711 104541 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
See Welsh winter waterfalls
Bundle up and venture outdoors for a refreshing walk up to one of Wales’ highest waterfalls – Aber Falls, Abergwyngregyn. This falls looks spectacular when frozen, or even after heavy rain. Enjoy a three-mile ramble through ancient native woodland, perhaps enjoying a warming flask of soup or tea at the foot of the falls. Winter brings an added bonus of being able to see dipper and grey wagtails too.
Visit: http://naturalresources.wales for more information.
Enjoy Christmas in Guernsey
Make a day of Christmas shopping this season and cross over to Guernsey’s beautiful Herm Island. Shoppers can enjoy free crossings on the Travel Trident ferry to indulge in the unique gift shop, before lunching in the Mermaid Tavern. Before going home, stretch your legs on a wintery walk around Herm’s stunning coastline.
For more information on ticketing and ferry times, please head over to: www.herm.com
Every Saturday until Christmas, you can also shop for unique gifts at Market Square’s market in St Peter Port, as well as indulging in festive decorations and goodies. Local crafts including hand-painted paints and soaps, doorstops and Christmas hampers offer an unrivalled festive shopping experience.
Take part in a Christmas wreath making workshop
Don your creative hat this winter and join English Heritage for a festive wreath making workshop. Guided by experts, learn different techniques and materials used, in the setting of a beautifully decorated house and garden and enjoy feeling prepared by taking it home.
Wreath Making Workshops are being held at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire on 2 December and also at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire on 6 & 7 December. To enjoy a fun, wintery activity, please visit the websites for pricing and further details.
Explore an illuminated winter wonderland
Take a walk along the new Christmas Trail in the stunning Formal Gardens of Blenheim Palace, which has been transformed into an illuminated festive wonderland. The trail has been carefully designed to highlight the Palace’s rich history as it winds through the landscape. Gather the family to explore the trail, hear stories and festive yarns, all set in the backdrop of this magnificent location.
To immerse yourself in this enchanting experience, visit: www.blenheimpalace.com/christmas for booking details.
Enjoy a festival of winter walks
Running for over 25 years, this unique festival offers a fantastic opportunity to get more of us outside and exploring Britain’s stunning wintery landscapes. What better way to enjoy a refreshing day in the great outdoors than with like-minded people and lovely countryside?
This year’s festival runs from 17 December 2016 to 8 January 2017 and includes Ramblers group walks, health walks and a variety of routes. For more information, please visit: www.ramblers.org.uk.
Experience market town magic
Add a little culture to your festivities this December and visit one of the UK’s oldest market towns. Basingstoke has held a market since King John ordered it to be held on a Wednesday in 1214, making it one of the longest standing traditions in the country.
This year, the town is hosting a French-themed Christmas market on the 18th November, showcasing delicious cheese, chocolates, meats, sweets and decorations. The market will daily sell a whole range of festive delights, from crafts to mulled wine. For a wintery day of shopping and cheer that won’t disappoint, look no further than Basingstoke’s historic Christmas Market.
Longleat Festival of Light
The unmissable winter spectacle returns to our favourite safari park – transforming it into a glowing winter wonderland. Inspired by Europe’s Largest Chinese Lantern Festival, this year celebrates all creatures great and small. Joined by the beloved characters of Beatrix Potter, the festival coincides with Longeleat’s 50th anniversary to light up Longleat in a must-see winter extravaganza.
Look no further for an unforgettable visual display this Christmas. Visit: www.longleat.co.uk for tickets and details.
Enjoy a stargazing evening
Feel starry-eyed this season and join the Forestry Commission’s Dark Sky Rangers for an evening with the skies observing winter’s breathtaking constellations. Events are being held throughout Scotland on various dates, including a short presentation and hot refreshments – and plenty of stargazing!
For a truly magical evening, please visit scotland.forestry.gov.uk to find your local visitor centre and book tickets.
Ramble the Basing Trail
A perfect way to discover the history of Basingstoke and its outer lying villages and places of interest, is to take ‘The Basing Trail’. Seven miles long, the self-guided circular walk leads to the picturesque village of Old Basing. The trail features the famous Civil War site of Basing House, and the attractive parks of Eastrop Park, War Memorial Park and Basingstoke Common. Short cuts to the seven-mile trail, enable walkers to create strolls of either 2, 3 or 4.5 miles in length. For more information:http://www.hants.gov.uk/rh/walking/basing-trail.pdf
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