Christmas experts have forecast a rise in ‘Hyper Yuletide Syndrome’ this year! It’s as serious as it sounds. Parents are preparing for a rise in cabin fever and natural waking times peaking at a yawn-prompting 4:30am, plus numerous sugar-fuelled rampages in children as young as four.
If you or your family are exhibiting any symptoms, or if you suffered last Christmas (and in anticipation you’re scouting the local papers for activities to keep those little elves busy), you can breathe a sigh of relief. This year is going to be different, thanks to Saltrock’s Undiscovered Christmas Guide.
We’ve got emergency ‘alternative Christmas’ medicine, that doesn’t involve ushering the kids into the back garden and hoping for snow. Saltrock’s Undiscovered Christmas involves getting back to nature, exploring the outdoors and having a family day out you’ll never forget.
The St. Agnes Christmas Day Swim is notorious, but there are other wild swimming events all across the UK too! Jump in the deep end for Boxing Day dips at Corbyn Head beach in Torquay, Porthcawl’s 1,000 strong fancy dress Christmas Morning Swim that raises money for the RNLI or further north there’s one in Teesside too (brrr!). There’s also a hugely popular event in Norfolk.
Our brave trials biking ambassador Andrei Burton takes on the annual Exmouth Christmas Day Swim in nothing but a pair of Saltrock boardies! Whereas our big wave surfing ambassador, Andrew Cotton isn’t as easily convinced. “I'm not so sure about wild swimming in the winter because I'm not a fan of the cold! Instead, I'd probably choose north Devon Leisure Centre that has a 25m pool and a hot shower afterwards”. That sounds bit more up our street, too, however, Andrew surfs Mullagmore Head on the west coast of Ireland in the depths of winter so its possible he may be joking!
If you do take a dip this Christmas, remember your wetsuit, hot water bottles and big fluffy towels for after the event, because seawater temperature in the UK can be as low as 6°C in December!
If you’re looking for an active Christmas without the icy water, Andrei has just the solution and it involves two wheels and a whole lot of wilderness. “I go on a Christmas Eve ride each year with all of the riders in the South West, either in Plymouth or I get everyone to ride under shelter in my warehouse. Afterwards, I invite all my family over to my place, drink hot chocolate and catch up. But, if I could go anywhere in the UK at Christmas, it would probably be up in the north of Scotland in a little cabin. I think that would be really cool to be surrounded by wilderness and mountains”.
Here are some clips of Andrei riding in his warehouse where he'll be this Christmas if the weather's too crazy for getting out into the wintery wilderness!
Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire brings advent to life - quite literally - every year. It’s the only town in the UK to stage living advent calendar events, such as choirs, acoustic musicians and dance shows, every evening between the 1st and 24th December. Inspired by a similar event in Stockholm, the residents and business owners of the town take turns to stage a performance that lasts for half an hour. The audience are asked to arrive promptly at 6:15pm so as not to miss any of the show. This year’s partners are tantalising (and include Hotel du Vin) but the programme itself is still under wraps!
Our ambassadors Jenna Goddard and Andrei Burton recommended the Exeter Christmas Market too for a bit of present hunting. “I think when you start shopping for presents it gets you into the festive mood!” said Andrei.
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a spooky ghost story, and what better way to inspire the imagination of little ghost hunters than by exploring a haunted coastline. Reportedly, the Jamaica Inn is the most haunted coach house turned pub in Cornwall (it is after all right next door to the bleak and spooky Bodmin Moor!) and is now infamous thanks to Daphne du Maurier’s novel.
So gather round the 1750’s fireplace and swap a ghost story or two. If you’re roving across Bodmin Moor on Christmas Eve, pop in and soak in live entertainment on the night from the Ultimate Party Band who will be playing music from all decades and well known theatre shows! (Once the kids are tucked up in bed, put on the BBC’s adaptation of ‘Whistle and I’ll come to you’. It’s a Victorian Christmas eve classic, but definitely one for braver parents).
Our ambassador Claire Smail loves invigorating walks after a hefty Christmas lunch “There are some truly beautiful coastal and country walks in South Devon. Depending on the weather a couple of my favourite are Bantham Beach and Dartington Gardens”. And climbing extraordinaire Jenna Goddard can’t resist a wintry walk with her family; “My parents live in the middle of nowhere, and the countryside and woodland around their land is beautiful. It’s perfect to get out to without having to drive. Everyone always comes along for the walk, both dogs and the three cats trot along as well!”
And good news for inspired walkers, The Rambler hosts a Festival of Winter Walks in urban and countryside locations between 17th December to 8th January. All the walks are under 5 miles and perfect for adventurers with little legs. They’ve got an interactive map to help you find events near you. All walks are free to attend and managed by regional groups, so you’ll be in the company of someone who frequently rambles and knows all about the local area. And, it’s likely there’ll be a number of other walkers keen to shake off the Yuletide sluggishness, too!