The Trust has been successfully operating Santa Boat Trips for many years now and you may be surprised to learn that work to deliver this experience begins annually in late October, for there is much to do! Santa’s Grotto needs to be constructed from scratch with electrics, lights, partitions, Christmas trees not to mention trainsets and tinsel all needing to be carefully and safely put in place. The Trust’s volunteers (or elves as they are commonly known during this period) work so hard to make sure everything is ready for the first boats to set off, fully loaded with excited parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles and of course the children who revel in shouting “we want Santa” as they return to the mooring and their first sight of Santa. In 2016 the volunteers worked continuously to run Santa Trips over two weekends and on the Thursday before Christmas plus school trips – that’s a lot of boats to load, presents to wrap, mince pies to serve and hopefully delighted customers to engage on the wharf, in the grotto and for a drink and the seasonal mince pie (or Stollen) in the café.
Of course after Christmas it all has to be taken down and systematically stored away for next year, there’s no rest for those elves! But everyone who helps out gets a great sense of well-being from making Christmas special for the customers who come along, often year after year, to see Santa via canal boat. We aim to continually improve the Santa experience year on year and hope that the public will continue to support our efforts – we’d love to hear what you thought about it via Facebook or TripAdvisor, and by the way new elves are most welcome to join in!