Spoiler alert….Don’t show this to other little people or Elves as I might get in trouble for spilling the beans before Christmas!!
Dear mummy, thank you. You’ve opened up my eyes to the wonder of Christmas. See at only 2 years-old I didn’t really know what Christmas was….until now.
My folks took me to LaplandUK, a theatrical experience that recreates Father Christmas’ arctic homeland. This magical adventure helps encourage and celebrate a child’s belief in Father Christmas. As a newcomer to this “Christmas thing” I was in wonderment the whole day. Right from the start when my mummy handed me a personalised invitation to come and meet Father Christmas in his winter home.
See, I thought I had to board a flight to Lapland to meet the man in the big red suit but apparently not. Father Christmas’s magic is so strong he brought his home and toy factory to us. I had visions of him shrinking his house and putting it on the back of his sleigh. I was intrigued when my mummy read out his invitation. I waited patiently for 2 weeks until the day had arrived and bundled into our car, along with Grandma and my Daddy on this expedition into the unknown.
Thankfully we didn’t have to travel far to the North Pole as LaplandUK is staged at Whitmoor Forest, Ascot, Berkshire. LaplandUK is like a film set, using the world leader in artificial snow production who provided the snow effects for blockbuster movies. We knew it would be impressive but nothing could prepare us for the beauty. The temperature had actually dropped, so we were expecting real snow as well!
A short journey down the M3 and LaplandUK was clearly signposted, there is oodles of free parking at Whitmoor Forest. The car parking attendant was very friendly (one even had a long white beard – we thought it was Father Christmas in disguise!) they asked me if I was going to see Father Christmas and I nodded in agreement and with a very suspicious look.
LaplandUK is open from Saturday 21st November and closes on Christmas Eve 2015. We visited on Sunday the 22nd November at 2pm and there were no queues on the roads or at the entrance. The only slight wait we had was before our tour started, as we arrived at the recommended 30 minutes before the ticket says to make sure we weren’t rushing and had time to collect some Elf Jingles and soak up the atmosphere.
The entrance tent was beautifully decorated. LaplandUK is a immersive theatrical experience so everyone was expected to turn their frowns upside down and enjoy the show. We exchanged our UK pounds into Elf currency called the Elf Jingle and £1.00 = 1 Elf Jingle. Elf Jingles, credit and debit cards were accepted inside LaplandUK to buy food and gifts.
Our visit was a timed experience with a tour departing every 30 minutes throughout the day so if you were late it would jeopardise your experience and you would have to catch up. My folks didn’t want to miss a thing so we hurried to the red curtain doorway when the Elf called our “huskies” tour name. Two tours left at the same time in opposite directions….mysterious.
Each child was issued with an Elf Passport on the day which acted like a little guide-book in which children could get stamps to collect on completion of each task, such as toy making and baking. It also included magic songs and enchanted stories, it made a great little keepsake as well.
As LaplandUK follows a fixed itinerary we were led by an elf tour guide who walked us through a dark, twinkly-lit passageway to the Elf Glade for the first part of this theatre experience.
A beautiful scene greeted us as we all sat on logs and benches by a small woodland stage, we met some key characters who told us a lot about this enchanted world and LaplandUK.
It was very snuggly and warm in the Elf Glade, until all of a sudden the doors opened and we were all cast into the white light of the snowy forest, my eyes had to adjust but it was truly breathtaking, even my folks gasped.
We were allowed to stop for some quick pictures before we were rushed back into the warmth of the Toy Factory (a little bit too warm for my mummy’s liking and we all had to strip off our heavy winter coats, scarfs, hats, gloves….)
A humorous and fun scene was played out in front of us as the elves needed help to make their toys for Father Christmas, they were behind schedule.
All the children participated in making a soft toy reindeer and a wooden horse and popped them in baskets. Afterwards we handed them back to the elves who stored them away until Christmas Eve. There was a little bit of confusion for us little ones as we all thought we got to keep them!
30 minutes had passed and before we knew it we were rushed back outside and guided along another pathway to find Mother Christmas. We weren’t so quick getting all our winter gear on and nearly lost the tour guide! Opps. It’s a shame really as I wanted to stop and look at all the little houses along the way.
Mother Christmas’ Kitchen
Back inside another little cabin we were transported into Mother Chrismas’s kitchen and it was a hive of activity. First we sat down on logs by her rocking chair and listened to a story and then we all had a go at decorating gingerbread houses. All the children were given aprons and chef hats and asked to help add the sweets with icing sugar to the biscuit, we were even allowed to take them home with us, good thing too as I was licking it and eating all the sweets – I don’t think it would have passed Elf kitchen quality control. This was the highlight of the experience for us all, and it seemed less rushed.
On completion I was given another stamp in my passport book! I felt very proud.
I even managed to get a sneaky photograph with the first lady too and a stamp on my hand!
Afterwards we had time to get our coats on and were ushered back outside down the long path which lead us to the Elf Village where we had 90 minutes of free time to enjoy the atmosphere of the village square before meeting Father Christmas at 5pm. This was a great time to visit as it was getting dark and the lights were starting to twinkle and add further magic to the place.
We explored the village and walked a giant loop around the Ice Skating rink, we went into the Old Fashioned Sweet Store and I used some of my Elf jingles to buy more Gingerbread and a bag of sweeties.
Getting our skates on…
After consuming my bodyweight in sugar it was time to get my skates on and burn off some of the hyperactivity before meeting Father Christmas – I didn’t want him thinking I was a space cadet!
We were free to skate on the real ice rink for as much of our 90 minute interval time as we wished. My mummy was surprised I even wanted to get on the ice but after watching too much Frozen, I just had to try it. My mummy was a nervous wreck but the penguin supports helped me find my feet and were available for young children. It was a great achievement and I was thrilled – my mummy was just relieved when I made it off the ice in one piece!
During our time walking around the Elf Village I also enjoyed meeting the huskies and my favourite was Suzy. I also got to stroke an owl and a hedgehog. We stopped and chatted to the Master Elf Keymaker and I played around the snowy trees. My mummy had run out of Elf Jingles so we headed to see the Elves at the post office to get some more changed up.
North Pole post office
We met some very friendly elves who helped me write and post my letter of thanks to Father Christmas. It was a great activity for children. I spent a good 10 minutes scribbling and then trying to post it through the multitude of quirky letter boxes.
LaplandUK gift shop and Emporium
Next we headed to the gift shop, which was massive and had a great selection of personalised LaplandUK gifts and tradition toys and books. My mummy could have spent a small fortune in here if it wasn’t for my Daddy dragging her out to get some hot food. We picked up some baubles for our Christmas Tree and some ‘special special’ which my folks couldn’t tell me.
Food glorious food!
We headed in to the heated Log Cabin Restaurant and it was quiet and very pretty. We enjoyed Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sourdough and awesome Swedish Meatballs (Ikea has nothing on these!). Prices were reasonable and the portions were generous.
Meeting Father Christmas
After our 90 minute interval in the Elf Village it was time for our personalised meeting with Father Christmas. At 5pm (the time that was written at the back of my passport) we all gathered at the exit to the Elf Village. This was the only time we encountered a queue, as everyone on the 2pm Tour had gathered at the same time. It was a bit cold, so Grandma stayed in line while we continued to walk around the village. The queue was face paced though and within 10 minutes we walked down a beautifully lit walkway with the bright moonlight shining down on us and frost in the air. It was stunning. It was like something out of Narnia.
We walked on our own and followed the path, I was so excited that I started to run shouting “Father Christmas where are you?!”. My folks had to run after me. At the end of the path was a little log pile house, where we waited to be called to meet Father Christmas. We don’t want to share too much about what happened next in case you decide to visit, but the little Elf called Conker was such fun and guided us on an adventure we will never forget.
Meeting Father Christmas at the end of our LaplandUK experience was magical, my folks were actually convinced it was him!! Again I eyed him up suspiciously. Luckily for me I was on his good list and he even pointed out my name in his large book to prove it. Smiles and giggles all round we left on a high, bypassing the professional photographer print-out queues and leaving with memories of meeting Father Christmas.
Ticket price from £45 per person for this 3.5 hour tour of LaplandUK (we were actually there for 4 hours) It may seem expensive but it is worth every penny. We’ve never seen anything like it in the UK and it saves us from flying out to Lapland! You get so much for your money and included in the ticket price is a personalised invitation to LaplandUK, a Christmas Morning Thank You card from Father Christmas to every child by post, entry into Father Christmas’ arctic homeland, an Elf Passport for every child, all activities, ice skating and a beautiful gift.
The memories that we’ll all be taking away with us are priceless.
Thank you LaplandUK for introducing me to Christmas…in spectacular style. Thanks to the many incredible Elves and Eskimo guides who looked after us and immersed us in the experience, it didn’t seem forced or half-hearted and they all genuinely seemed happy to see us!
Love Bella….oh and her folks! xx
P.s – Say I say hi to Conker, he’s got a little buddy for life!
Disclosure: We received press passes in order to write an honest review of Lapland UK and all purchases inside were our own.
59 thoughts on “LaplandUK Review 2015”
This looks amazing! Going to have to do this! Thanks for sharing. #pointshoot
Oh my gosh, I love love love it!! I’m checking into this straight away, gorgeous pics. xo
Wow this looks amazing!! It’s definitely going on our list of things to do for next year (we’re all booked up this year 😉) #twinklytuesday
Lovely! We are going this weekend – can’t wait #triedtested
Oh wow this is certainly a magical Christmas adventure full of wonderful memories. Everything looks and sounds fantastic! xx #pointshoot
What a wonderful magical Christmas experience you will never forget. It sounds amazing!
Thanks for sharing #LetKidsbeKids
This looks and sounds like an absolutely amazing experience….
Wonderful photos x
What a magical experience and so glad that you all had such a wonderful time. I love the penguin supports for helping with the ice-skating – I think my two would love these. Good to hear that you are on Father Christmas’s nice list Bella and hope that he brings you lots of lovely things on Christmas morning 🙂
Thanks Louise! The penguin supports were a great idea! Thanks for popping over to comment x
It looks utterly magical. A wonderful experience x
Bella this looks fantastic you lucky girl.p! I wish I lived nearer to “Lapland” I would be there like a shot even if my big girls didn’t want to come. Mother Christmas’ kitchen looks lovely and cosy too. I’m glad you had a magical day, not long until he visits you xxxx
I absolutely love your review, what a magical place!!! x #twinklytuesday
Ah thanks! 🙂 *beams*
Oh this looks so magical, it looks like you were there for days not just 4 hours looking at everything you did! It looks so magical from start to finish and the photos are really special, I look forward to seeing this one on Country Kids. #TriedTested
Looking through again, I still can’t believe how much you managed to fit into your one visit without feeling too rushed! Thanks for sharing on Country Kids.
Oh wow this place looks so magical, even i want visit!! My daughter would love this 🙂
Now that looks impressive. Alas it’s a bit too far away from us but I can see why you all had such a good time. #twinklytuesday
I have looked at this for the past couple of years and now seeing your post this is tip of my list for next year!! #pointshoot
OH WOW! It sounds and looks AMAZING! What a magical start to the festive season. I’ve been a bit wary of these type of things in the UK but this looks like the real deal and a lot of fun for all the family. Maybe next year!
wow this is amazing, I’ve never seen anything like this! What a way to be introduced to the world of Christmas #pointshoot
This looks magical. Tin Box Tot would be beside herself. She’s already been asking for Father Christmas. Luckily we’re off somewhere to se him next weekend #TwinklyTuesday
Hello Bella! Olivia said “hi” to you. That looks magical, she saw your photos earlier before she went to bed and I think, she is dreaming of going there too. Let’s see if she’s good enough. 🙂 Tell your mummy, we love all your photos too. xx
Hey there Bella, I’m just wondering if you received the same elf as me who literally made my children’s dreams a reality on the way to meet Father Christmas on Saturday. His name was flurry and he’s Conker brother. Not sure if you got them mixed up as we did find they were really alike and I believe Conker was in the toy factory. Just thought I’d check so he can hopefully get appraised on his talents and making it an everlasting experience. Rosie
Hey there Bella, I’m just wondering if you received the same elf as me who literally made my children’s dreams a reality on the way to meet Father Christmas on Saturday. His name was flurry and he’s Conker brother. Not sure if you got them mixed up as we did find they were really alike and I believe Conker was in the toy factory. Just thought I’d check so he can hopefully get appraised on his talents and making it an everlasting experience. Rosie S
We are going on Sunday and I think I am more excited than the kids!!
My folks were super excited too! Big kids!!
Wow it does look magical and full of fun. It is expensive but all days out are these days and like you say, cheaper than flying to lapland!! Xx
Oh wow! Looks like an amazing place to visit x
This looks like a great Christmas adventure. Its so close to us, but quite expensive. Does look magical! #whatevertheweather
It was an awesome experience! We’ll be saving up and going next year 🙂 x
Wow! It looks amazing! That must be a kids dream place to go and visit santa and take part in all the fun activities. A shame that the reindeer and wooden horse got taken back again, my two wouldn’t have been happy with that either and would want to keep them. The artificial snow really does look real, the best I’ve ever seen, a bit too far away for us to visit, but maybe something similar will open up here in Scotland one day!
Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x
What a beautiful post. You’ve captured the experience beautifully.
Sabrina & Iram
Ahhh thanks Sabrina x
Wow! It looks like an amazing and magical day! I know my two kiddies would love to go to this.. who am I kidding, I would love to go to this as well! Xxx #whatevertheweather
I left a comment but I don’t think it published! 😕
It basically said that it looks like an amazing place to visit and that I know my two kiddies would adore it too (and so would I! ) #whatevertheweather xxx
How amazing! Looks like you all had a magical time, beautiful photos too x
This looks totally amazing. I would love to take baby. I am glad you had a good time, thanks for linking up to #PointShoot x
Oh my! I think that this is my favourite post of all time! It’s incredible and so magical. I love everything about it. I had no idea that this was in the UK! I am so gutted Evie is slightly too young to go and understand what’s going on still this year. I really hope that they have this next year. I would have be in my element here as a child! All the details that they’ve put into it are incredible. Eeeek! I’m scrolling back up to look at the pictures again, it’s so so magical!!! Thank you so, so much for linking up to #whatevertheweather xx
Wow! This makes me want to go too! I love the photo where you captured her through the fence when she is riding on the penguin. So sweet. ❤ #PointShoot
Okay, I really want to go now. You have invited me to click twice! This time from #letkidsbekids I really need to check this place out – not for the kids but for myself! hahaha 😉 x
Great insight, and it really does look value for money for what you get inside they have put on the works – magical for small children #whatevertheweather
it looks great! Will be taking my daughter there when she is old enough
I would love to take Monkey think we will be seriously considering this next year. Thank you for the review the photos are fab 🙂 #whatevertheweather X
This really does look amazing, I’m going to have to try and find something similar over here for our younger two… Glad you had such a special time x #countrykids
This looks so magical and so much to do there as well as the big meeting. #countrykids
Gosh it really does look stunning, I am very envious of everyone who has been over the last week or so, really really magical! (Mini Travellers) #countrykids
Gosh it really does look stunning, I am very envious of everyone who has been over the last week or so, really really magical! #countrykids
This looks like it was so well done – how magical!x #countrykids
We visited on Tuesday for their superstar day, it was the second time for us but a totally different experience with a 16 month old who wants to walk everywhere lol. I’m glad you said you thought the Toy Factory was rushed, I had the same feelings this year. I think its because you had to make two toys, last year we just made one. Glad you had a great time x
Looks like a great place to visit although it does sound a bit hectic at points. I think next Christmas we’ll certainly discuss going, especially as I spoke to a colleague who is taking his lad to ‘official’ Lapland for several hundred pounds for less than 24 hours #CountryKids
It’s a great experience in the UK and much much cheaper than flying a family to Lapland! 🙂
Wow! Bella, you look like you had an amazing time!!
Would you (or mummy) like to link up with my daysoutwithatoddler linky? I’d love to see you there! 🙂
Wow! Bella, you look like you had a wonderful time!
Would you (or mummy) like to link up with my #daysoutwithatoddler linky?
I’d love to see you there! 🙂
Sounds good! 🙂