Having explored a bit online for where kiddies could visit Santa this year, we stumbled across Lapland UK! It’s now in it’s tenth year and has already received much praise and acclaim.
You only have to go on their website and look at the gushing reviews left by the likes of Elton John, Emma Bunton and Cheryl Cole, amongst many others, to know that this must be something special.
The Lapland UK website in it’s self is very impressive. It’s full of charming pictures of little ones enjoying the magic of Christmas in an enchanted snowy forest, meeting the elves and of course festive pictures of the Big Man himself!
My first thoughts were ‘Wow this looks amazing’, ‘Can it really be as good as it looks?’ and blimey this must be expensive! Having now visited, I can say that yes it is amazing, yes it is as good as it looks and yes it is on the expensive side (well compared to our previous winter land visits in towns or hotels anyway).
Prices vary depending on when you go and there are different packages. The cheapest started at around the £60.00 per person mark and they peaked on Christmas Eve with a more premium offering of £130.00. The whole magical experience lasts for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
But is it worth it? Having now been, I would whole heartedly say I think it is. The expressions on my little ones faces from when they first received their ‘invitations’ to when they eventually left, were priceless. Their faces were full of pure wonderment the whole time!
I would say that if you have already booked your tickets, don’t read any further, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise of what is in store, but if you are thinking of booking a visit to Lapland UK or are just curious, then please read on.
The whole experience starts with a letter from Santa, saying that as the children have been very good this year, the good list is the longest it has ever been, and that he is worried that they have too many toys to finish in time for Christmas. The letter goes on to say that he has invited them to go to his secret toy factory and help his elves with their work.
My little ones were so excited when they read their letters and couldn’t get ready quick enough. So off we set, following the directions in the letter to follow 0 degrees North and 20 degrees West to find the enchanted forest.
On arrival we drove into the car park, and if I’m honest we were slightly worried as it just looked like a bit of a wood. However, as soon as we had walked through the main entrance we were immediately transported into another world.
My little ones explained that we were actually teleported by magic to Lapland, that’s why we didn’t need to fly! They also said that they could feel the magic in their tummies!
The main entrance is where you check in, and if you haven’t already done so online, you exchange your money for elf jingles, the only currency used in Lapland. You are also given your elf passports, where you collect your stamps along the way, at each activity, before visiting Santa himself.
We were welcomed by a very friendly elf, and were all told of how to say hello in Elf language. Which is putting your thumb to your nose and wiggling your fingers!
The doors then opened and we took our seats as we watched an Elf very busy at work. He spoke to us and asked of how us ‘human folk’ where there. He was then joined by a very enthusiastic Elf called Eeko, who told us of where Elves came from, Pine Cones did you know? As they entertained us you could feel the excitement in the room building.
Then, by thinking of happy Christmas thoughts, along with chanting a merry tune, as if by magic the doors opened into Lapland, our first sight of snow and the enchanted forest which beckoned, which was accompanied by enthusiastic gasps from children (and excited adults too).
We walked through the tree lined snowy lanes until we came to the Elves toy factory. Here little ones were greeted by yet more elves, who told them of how busy they’d been and how they were so grateful for their help.
The kiddies all busied themselves making first a teddy reindeer, which they had to stuff, remembering to kiss the heart before they put it in, and then made a wooded teddy bear, which would be painted later. Both the types of toys could be purchased later in the shop, and packaged for you discretely if you wanted.
Then on to Mrs Claus kitchen, where the children listened to stories, had songs from the elves and got to make their own ginger bread men.
The friendly Elves also came round offering a tasty biscuit to the ‘big folk’ too. The children got to eat theirs as they gathered round Mrs Claus for another story.
After the tour, we then had an hour and a half to wonder round the Elf Village, where there was an ice-skating rink (included in the price), some shops, cafes, a restaurant and the Elf Post Office.
After a spot of skating, the little ones had a hot dog, which was of a good quality and we had a tasty mulled wine to ward off the cold.
We then headed to the Post Office where they could write their letter to Santa and post it.
In the elf village, there were elves wandering about happy to stop and chat and the husky dogs were being taken for a walk.
The time absolutely flew by. Initially I had been worried that it may have been too long in the Elf Village, especially with an 18 month year old, but she loved it too, and if anything, we would have liked to have stayed there that bit longer.
We then reported into one of the helpers at our allotted time and were shown where to head for our Santa visit.
We wound through more snowy tree lined lanes until we came to where the reindeer were being looked after. Here, in the Elves workshed, you could exchange your jingles for some reindeer food to take home and leave out on Christmas Eve.
As darkness had set in, we were guided by fairy lights on our route. We came to a wooden hut where adults checked in for their Santa visit, and the Elves checked some information with you about the upcoming visit.
We were not waiting long, but while we waited the children were entertained by an Elf who could predict what you would be when you grew up. Mine are going to be an inventor and a ginger bread maker!
The finale of the tour was of course the visit to Santa, who was as you would expect, of a very jovial disposition. He knew all about their latest achievements and what they liked to get up to.
He didn’t rush them, but listened to them intently as they talked about what they wanted and what they had been doing. They were of course very relieved to see all their names in the good list and were thrilled with their gift from Santa.
After our visit, we followed the fairy lights back to the exit, where we could pick up our photos from our visit to Santa (and anything else we may have discretely purchased). We then headed home, very happy, and very tired but filled with the magic of the day.
Lapland UK, claims to let you experience the real magic of Christmas, and who am I to argue with that. After a visit, I certainly believe in the magic, so much so we’ll be booking again next year, there’s no doubt about that!
I went to Lapland UK as a paying customer, all views and photographs are my own.
Additional information: Lapland Uk is situated just outside of Ascot. It is buggy friendly and has changing stations in the attraction. The website is: www.laplanduk.co.uk