Every so often something pops up on my Facebook feed that makes me stop and investigate further. I’m always looking for something new to enjoy with my vehicle loving son and earlier in the month we spent a few hours Exploring Milton Keynes Illuminated Boat Festival.
Organised by the Canal and River Trust the event was free to attend but tickets were required to ensure everyone’s safety by the water’s edge. Originally, when I booked it was only running on the Saturday, but because it was so popular, it was extended to the Sunday as well.
I’ve often been shopping in Milton Keynes over the years and have been to Willen Lake, but have never really ventured any further. The procession was due to start at 5pm so we left home in plenty of time to find somewhere to park. Not knowing the area particularly well we ended up a 10 minute walk away from the outskirts of Campbell Park, when in fact there was free car parking closer to hand. But never mind, we were wrapped up warm and it was dry.
We headed through Campbell Park, making use of my son’s torch as we got closer to the Grand Union Canal to spend some time exploring Milton Keynes Illuminated Boat Festival. There were stalls selling food and drinks and a small stage with live music.
We weren’t really sure what to expect but were promised a procession of over twenty narrow boats all illuminated on the water. We were given a map showing up a circular route we could follow, which also included a trail for the children. On the far side from the entrance there was also a fun fair, kiosk selling doughnuts and drinks and an arts installation to enjoy.
There was a lovely friendly atmosphere as we walked along the canal side and as the boats starts to come alongside. The parade seemed to come in fits and starts rather than one steady procession but there was plenty of colour to enjoy, both from the narrow boats themselves and from their reflections in the water.
There was plenty of space for everyone to get a good view and you could see exactly why numbers had been limited.
It was nice to do something totally different and we enjoyed exploring Milton Keynes Illuminated Boat Festival. We spent time looking at the boats as they moored up and enjoyed the lanterns in the art installation.
At points either ends of the festival it was possible to look along the canal from the bridges which was really lovely when there were a few boats coming in close together. All in all, we enjoyed exploring Milton Keynes Illuminated Boat Festival and for a free event we couldn’t have asked for much more really.
It’s certainly something we’d visit in the future and we all said we’d like to explore Campbell Park in the daylight too!
Have you been to anything like this before?