Santa takes a turn on The Falkirk Wheel

He’s making a list, checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice – Santa Claus is coming to The Falkirk Wheel!

Santa is taking time out of his busy schedule in the run-up to Christmas and offering families paying a visit to the world’s only rotating boat lift a magical journey to Santa’s Grotto – relocated all the way from the North Pole to Falkirk.

Kids who’ve managed to stay off the naughty list are in for a treat as Father Christmas hands out presents to all the good girls and boys. For those looking to make a day of it, The Helix and The Kelpies – the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures – are just a canalside canter away.

Santa himself has been spotted taking in the local sights, from The Kelpies to Falkirk F.C. football stadium, and even out shopping on the High Street, looking for that special something for Mrs Claus.

“We’ve stocked up on cookies and milk, enlisted the help of some hard-working elves, and we’re delighted to be welcoming Santa Claus back to The Falkirk Wheel this year.

“The trips really are something special, and places are going fast. Anyone interested in joining Santa on a one-of-a-kind boat trip should get in touch soon to avoid disappointment. After all, the man himself has a very important appointment to keep on the 24th.”

Cara Baillie, Senior Destinations Development Manager

There’s also lots of Christmas fun in The Wheel’s activity zone, with face painting, gingerbread decorating, Christmas games and more to keep the little ones entertained.

Mums and dads can enjoy a non-alcoholic mulled wine and shortbread, and festive food and drink will be served up in the Wheel’s winter café to take away any cold chills in the air. The gift shop is also on hand for any last minute Christmas presents.

Santa, taking a break from his pre-Christmas preparations, added: “Rudolph won’t appreciate me saying this, but a boat trip on The Falkirk Wheel really is one of the best ways of travelling to my grotto. I can’t wait to see everyone in December.”

Kids and parents can visit Santa at his magical grotto on:

  • Saturday 15th December
  • Sunday 16th December
  • Friday 21st December
  • Saturday 22nd December
  • Sunday 23rd December
  • Monday 24th December

Boat trips to Santa’s Grotto run hourly from 12:30pm, with the last boat at 6:30pm. On Christmas Eve the last boat will be at 4:30pm.

Trips can be booked online at or by calling The Falkirk Wheel’s booking line on 08700 500 208. To avoid disappointment, early booking is highly recommended.

Tickets are £13.95 per person, and include a gift for each child.

Please note there is a £2 standard booking fee if booking by phone. In the event of unforeseen weather, the boat trip on the Falkirk Wheel may not be possible and we will provide an alternative Santa’s grotto. No refunds will be issued.

One of Scotland’s top tourism attractions, The Falkirk Wheel has attracted more than 7 million visitors since opening in 2002. A working sculpture that links the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal 35m (115ft) above it, The Falkirk Wheel is Scotland’s busiest tourist attraction out-with a city centre location. Regular barge trips offer visitors the unique chance to take a turn on the world’s only rotating boat lift. For more information, or to book tickets, see

Notes to Editors

  • The Falkirk Wheel is a complex, elegant engineering solution, combining the principles set out by Archimedes in 300BC with 20th century electronic and electrical systems.
  • When one gondola is lowered, the opposite one rises. The vast, 1800 tonne boat lift moves boats 35 metres into the air in a matter of minutes.
  • The prime mechanism is a series of ten hydraulic motors which rotate the axle and a series of interconnected cogs.
  • The real secret of the boatlift’s smooth and economic operation is to ensure that both loaded gondolas are in perfect balance. The Wheel can only turn safely and successfully when there is an equal weight of boats and water in each gondola. The weight in the gondolas adheres to Archimedes Principle of Displacement.
  • A sophisticated network of water level sensors and water control systems monitor any variables which might affect this delicate balance, such as the water levels in the aqueduct or at the locks at the entry points to the Wheel.
  • Remarkably, because of the design and application of balance and weight, it takes just 22.5kW – the same power as it would to boil eight domestic kettles – for each rotation.
  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel.
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union and  Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness
  • Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visitations per year. See for more information

For further information, please contact:

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767383557 or email

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals on 07917217608 or email

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