Dear mummy, is not often that you come across an experience that takes your breath away, never mind an event that you’ve been to before, but LaplandUK did just that. Having been last year we thought it would take the edge off the shine but in fact we had an even better time because my folks knew what to expect and we just went with the flow.
You see this was our second time visiting LaplandUK and we had an amazing time. We can’t rave about this place enough. From the attention to detail and the personalisation of the event, to the theatrical performances and the friendly staff, this place has it all….including the snow!
What is LaplandUK
LaplandUK is a magical immersive 3.5 hour Christmas experience for the whole family. The experience consists of ‘tours’ that depart every 30 minutes. The ticket price includes a personalised invitation to every child from Father Christmas by post, child elf passport, all activities including ice skating, a personalised meeting with Father Christmas, a luxury gift from Father Christmas for every child over 12 months of age (that’s been good!), a souvenir photograph with Father Christmas for each family and a Thank you card from Father Christmas for each child on Christmas morning. It also includes activities like making toys with the elves, meeting Mrs Christmas and decorating gingerbread men, seeing huskies and reindeers, writing a letter to Father Christmas and posting it at the post office! Phew! That’s a lot for your money!
This is my LaplandUK experience (contains spoilers so please don’t show to little folk!)
Right from the start our experience was personalised. The week before our invites and confirmation letter arrived with all the details on. It magically appeared down the chimney and I was really excited as my daddy read it out aloud to me. We didn’t have to travel far to the North Pole as LaplandUK is staged at Whitmoor Forest, Ascot, Berkshire. On the day we checked in we parked in one of the many carparks available. No queues, no fuss and a lovely walk down woodland pathways lit by fairy lights which guided us to the entrance before the tour started. We entered a beautiful wooden lodge with a miniature fairytale house outside.
Inside was a large old-fashioned terminal with a check in desk and two large oak doors cornered off with rope. Suitcases were piled up high, fairy lights and old-fashioned clocks adored the walls. We were greeted by elves dressed in the most amazing attire and they peered over old wooden desks with large books which contained our details, quills in hand to book us in. The woodland elves checked our details and spoke to me by name – forget the big folks it’s the little folk that matter the most at LaplandUK!
My folks settled down at one of the many tables dotted around to indulge in a chocolate brownie and a cup of tea before the tour started. We joined some friends who were booked on another tour due to start at the same time and the elves kindly accommodated us, so that we could join them on The Husky tour, which was kind!
Just before the doors opened the head passport elf told us how to greet other elves along our journey with the special ‘elf wave’ and got us really excited. Soon we were off on our adventure with our passports in hand and headed into a dark magical forest full of twinkly lights and rustic charm.
It was very dark and atmospheric when we met Eeko and her elf friend in the woods, we sat on benches for the small performance. They told us stories of elves and fairies and set the scene for the whole LaplandUK experience. We were very excited to enter LaplandUK now. After making a wish the large oak doors at the edge of the forest opened to reveal a flash of white light and a snowy LaplandUK the other side. It was like a portal into another world and all the little folk (and big folk) gasped in anticipation.
The snowy landscape
The whole place, as far as the eye could see, was covered in white snow. Even after Storm Angus the night before LaplandUK looked amazing, like something out of a fairytale and a postcard from the real Lapland. We bellowed out our husky cries as instructed by the tour guide and we walked down the path, taking photos in this winter wonderland.
We were guided down the snowy path, past loads of fir trees and little wooden cottages to the Toy Factory where elves called Wish and Whittle greeted us. A phone call from Father Christmas notified us that we needed to make toys straight away in order to fulfill Christmas wishes.
We made a soft toy Reindeer and a wooden toy bear. Afterwards we handed them back to an elf called Conker to process. It was really good fun and even the big folk got involved and helped. The set design is wonderful with moving toys rotating in a track above our heads, rocking horses and large toys adorning the shelves and blackboards full of Christmas orders.
It was very similar to last years experience but we found it refreshing that the toys we made were different and available to purchase from the gift shop. (My mummy secretly picked up one of the small reindeers to give to Father Christmas for my stocking but shhhhh I’m not supposed to know)
Baking with Mrs Christmas
Soon we were ushered out into the cold and down the windy path to see Mrs Christmas. This seemed a bit rushed and with a little bit of a backlog the big folk were left waiting on the path whilst us little ones took our places first. This was the only hitch we encountered throughout the whole experience but at least it wasn’t raining and the scenery was pretty for photos!
Inside Mrs Christmas’s kitchen was warm and inviting, gingerbread houses and books scattered the shelves, while little benches were set up with aprons, chef hats and cookies ready to decorate. Mrs Christmas read us a story with the help of her kitchen elves Cinnamon and Dough who were the most memorable of all the elves. Dough was called dough because she’d eaten the majority of it and was a right jolly character, she was yet to prove her worth to Mrs Christmas and earn herself a bell for her hat.
Once the activity started it got a bit busy with big folk desperate to record the moment and try to stop little folk from demolishing their biscuits as opposed to making them, but all the children were good and left with smiles.
Signs directed us to the Elf Village afterwards which was the main hub of LaplandUK. Here we had free time to explore the site. We only had 1.30 hours to ice skate, shop for gifts, meet huskies and try to ‘wolf’ something down from the extensive menu in the restaurant.
2hrs would have been better for families to give them a bit of a breathing space and really soak up the atmosphere. As we felt a bit rushed towards the end before we met Father Christmas. It’s such a beautiful location and a real photographers dream my mummy could have spent ages there!
We decided to go ice skating first, which was busy with a little queue. More skating penguin aids would have helped move the traffic along as they really helped toddlers and young children get on the ice. Thankfully another Daddy gave me his daughters penguin when they had finished. My mummy chose this time to browse the gift shop and pick up some books, bells and my little Reindeer which I made in the toy factory. Elf Jingles is the currency, so we changed our sterling into magic money, which we picked up at the post office. You can also pick up Elf Jingles at the front desk. The gift shop, bauble shop, sweet store and restaurant all have card facilities too!
Shopping at LaplandUK
My mummy loved the gift shop and it was the perfect place to pick up stocking fillers and gifts for friends and families. New this year was another shop next door which only sold baubles for the tree.
It was a beautiful store and we met one of the friendliest elves called Bauble who was super happy to help me personalise my Christmas Bauble for free! I sat on her comfy chair (with pillow) and used one of her magical pens! A lovely keepsake and memory to take home with us.
Treats and Eats
The Post Office was busy, but I managed to write my letter to Father Christmas and post it in one of the many ornate letter boxes. We changed-up some more Elf Jingles and received stamps for my passport.
My daddy headed to the old-fashioned sweet store and it was an amazing sight. Beautiful gingerbread houses, sugar mice and candy canes were displayed in lovely glass jars, while loose sweets balanced on old cashier scales. Proper penny chews and old-fashioned hardboiled sweets where everywhere!
Just before seeing Father Christmas we had a bite to eat at the fantastic restaurant (there were also two food stands on site selling hot food and drinks too). The food was reasonably priced for the size of the meals you got. My folks had amazing Swedish meatballs with bubble and squeak, I had a kids fish finger sandwich and we indulged in orange and chocolate mousse, Arctic Mess and mulled apple and orange jelly. To feed a family of four it was around £40 with drinks.
The Enchanted Forest
Before long we were called to the enchanted forest where we embarked on the last leg of our tour….to see Father Christmas. We followed the path through the forest and the snow was lit up in blues and purples. The whole of LaplandUK is buggy and wheelchair accessible and it wasn’t too muddy on site.
Unlike last year it wasn’t dark when we visited so we got to see the reindeers in the daylight and Father Christmas’s sleigh and to take some more wonderful Christmassy photos before we came to a secret hut where we handed in our passports to the elves high on their pedestals and waited 10 minutes for our names to be called.
A jolly elf called Glitter took us through the maze of the enchanted forest to our final stop to see Father Christmas. We nearly got lost in the forest, occasionally coming across other families and greeting them with an elf wave. Finally we found Father Christmas in his hidden wooden lodge and waited outside to be called.
I was very nervous and excited to meet him. We walked into the most amazing room where he knew everything about me, my achievements and history. I was shy to begin with and couldn’t believe my eyes. He even give me a beautiful gift! I’m a very lucky girl or perhaps it’s because I have tried to be good. Afterwards we mulled back through the forest to the exit and collected our free family photo. It was a cracker! We just wished we ordered more prints! I was exhausted, my cheeks ruby-red from the cold and as soon as I got into the car I was zonko!
A new family tradition
That evening, before I went to bed I thanked Father Christmas (by shouting up the chimney) for inviting me to meet him. Such a wonderful experience and one that my family won’t forget in a long time. Even the second visit was an eye-opener and my folks noticed so much more the second time around. We’d definitely recommend a repeat visit to LaplandUK, it’s the sort of place that never gets old….just as long as you believe!
Tickets are available now from LaplandUK up until Christmas Eve. They start from £65.50 per person and worth every penny in the eyes of a child! It would make a fab Christmas experience to do at least once and one you’d never forget! We’ll be back next year and wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Love Bella x
Disclaimer: We were invited down to LaplandUK in order to write our review. All purchases on site were our own and additional members of our party covered their ticket entry.
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