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Christmas at Great Haywood

Christmas at Great Haywood

By Kevin Yarwood, Manager at Great Haywood

Here at Great Haywood, on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire, we offer canal boat hire all year round, including holidays over Christmas and New Year.

The canals are much quieter in the winter months and there are lots of historic canalside pubs with roaring log fires to stop off at along the way. 

The most popular winter cruise destination from Great Haywood is to travel south along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction.  This peaceful 12-mile cruise through the Staffordshire countryside takes around five hours, passing through five locks.

Pubs to visit along the way the Wolseley Arms at Wolseley Bridge and The Old Peculiar in the village of Handsacre.  Once at Fradley, boaters can find refreshments at the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn.

Alternatively boaters can travel north along the Trent & Mersey Canal to the market town of Stone, passing through Sandon, home to the Dog & Doublet pub, and Burston, home of The Greyhound.

We are lucky to have a number of great attractions close to us at Great Haywood.  For example the National Trust’s Shugborough Estate, where the gardens lead right down to the canal less than a mile from here, has some lovely Christmas events.  Visitors can see beautiful Christmas decorations in the Georgian Mansion, Servants’ Quarters and Park Farm House from 30 November to 19 December and book tickets for a spectacular Lantern Parade on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 December.






Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, once a royal hunting forest, and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Headquarters at The Wolseley Centre are also close to the canal just a few miles away from Great Haywood.  Both are wonderful havens for wildlife, with lots to see and do even in the winter months.

We also still see plenty of wildlife on the canal here over the winter, especially woodland and hedgerow birds such as Chaffinch, Robins, Blue and Coal Tits, Jays, Nuthatch, Woodpeckers and our resident pair of swans.  We feed the birds all year round, but of course it’s over the winter months that it’s most vital to do so.  We provide nutritious wild bird seed, peanuts, fat balls and sesame seeds.

We offer a range of canal boats for hire over the winter, from a cosy narrowboat for two to a family canal boat for 12.  They all have central heating, hot water showers, comfortable beds, fully equipped kitchens, WiFi, TV and DVD players, so it’s always nice and warm on board.  Our luxury Constellation Class narrowboat for up to six people, ‘Pegasus’ also has a multi-fuel stove. 

Over the Christmas week, we’ve got boats going out on the Friday and Saturday before Christmas and while some will return on Christmas Eve, it’s all quiet on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

This year my wife and I will be cooking Christmas lunch aboard our narrowboat for our two children and two Staffordshire Bull Terriers.  Cooking Christmas dinner on a canal boat isn’t that different to a normal kitchen except you don’t have a huge amount of worktop space and you need to be careful not to buy too big a turkey, as most ovens are slightly smaller on boats.

Happy Christmas from the Great Haywood team!