Dear Mummy, all year I’ve been shouting up my chimney to Father Christmas and his elves so imagine my delight when a response came back! As if by magic a waxed sealed invitation to LaplandUK landed on the fireplace with my name on it, inviting me to help save Christmas! You see the elves needed my help once again to make toys for all the children of the world. They couldn’t manage it alone and needed my help.
Of course, I replied immediately writing a letter back to accept their kind invitation, excitedly telling my folks that I was once again invited back to LaplandUK to share my experience with others. Thankfully we didn’t have far to travel to LaplandUK, as it’s just down the road from us. We packed our thermals for the trip into Whitmoor Forest just outside Ascot in Berkshire, just incase it snowed.
This experience is like no other, we’ve been for the past four years and it just keeps getting better and better. As I grow older I fully understand my role in the journey through the enchanted woods to the snowy Elf Village. It starts as soon as we park our car, with big folk guiding us and welcoming our party to LaplandUK.
The parking attendants were incredibly warm and friendly and welcomed us to the Enchanted Forest where Father Christmas was apparently eagerly awaiting our arrival. I tugged on my mummy’s hand eager to get started on this magical journey as 3 generations of my family embarked on this magical experience together.
I stopped to peek inside the little elfin house at the entrance and there was a note from one of the woodland elves we’d already discovered on LaplandUK’s website. Infact the LaplandUK website has improved dramatically and now features stories, introductions to all the characters and fun things to do throughout the year. I love hearing about what the elves are getting up to on social media!
We were welcomed inside the Enchanted Forest reception by jolly elves, with a special elf wave, who gave me my passport and told me which departure gate I would be leaving from. I was on Team Reindeer for the first time and entered LaplandUK through a secret door hidden in the wall of suitcases and stacked luggage (see our video tour).
The enchanted forest smelt, sounded and looked like a real forest under a canopy of stars. I ran down the tunnel to the big story tree where Eeko and Sage had us mesmerised as they told us how elves were born from pinecones and how Father Christmas needed our help with his Christmas preparations.
A large oak door revealed a snowy woodland outside and the portal to Lapland where Father Christmas’s work shops awaited and I grabbed my coat convinced sub-zero temperatures would bring more snow. I had a very important task to deliver Conkers suitcase to the toy factory which made me feel special.
We were greeted with the official elf wave, thumb on nose whilst wriggling fingers, as we walked down the tree-lined pathways, covered with beautiful twinkly lights which led us to the Toy Workshop.
The tasks are simple at LaplandUK, I needed to help Whittle and Conker reach their quota for toy delivery ahead of Christmas Eve. In the Toy Factory Whittle received a call from Father Christmas asking for our help and I made a gorgeous plush toy penguin named Flip.
Wishes joined the team and show us the magical sky full of children’s wishes, projected onto the ceiling. Afterwards we were escorted back down the snowy woodland track to the next cottage which was Mother Christmas’s Kitchen.
Enchanted objects moved on the worktops and stories were told by the very kind Mother Christmas and her elves. I helped to decorated gingerbread men and even took one away to eat on the rest of my journey to the Elf Village. I gained stamps from each activity station for my special passport, a great token and memento of our day.
Tiny elf cottages are dotted around the village with snowy windows and dinky doors. Tall conifers tower above us with icy branches and draped lights. The smell of hot dogs and mulled wine fills the air along with shrill bells and children’s laughter. The festive stalls surround the ice skating rink and sell hot and cold drinks and are styled like wooden huts and nordic teepees.
For the first time I got my mummy up ice-skating which was great fun and it wasn’t busy on the ice and we didn’t have to wait. Thankfully the little penguins helped me stay up-right as we spent 20 minutes giggling.
Wandering around the village were elves in elaborate costumes perfect for photo opportunities, some were playful and getting up to mischief like The Magician Zauber while others enjoying performing and entertaining families. Pixie-Mixie even remembered me from last year as we chatted outside her sweet shop.
The Elf’s Emporium (toy shop) is one of my favourite destinations in the elf village and I’m in awe at all the amazing gifts on display. There’s a newspaper stall stocked with supplies of The Lapland Times and my big folk enjoying reading it while sipping on their hot drinks.
We didn’t feel rushed in the Elf Village and my mummy for the first time enjoyed ice skating with me and watching the world go by in our 90 minute time in the village, we definitely felt like we had been transported to the magical environment of the real Lapland, and of course I totally believed the magic and despite it being milder this year, with the snow around us it felt like we were in a colder climate, especially when we met the huskies.
I wrote my thank you letter to Father Christmas in the Post Office and explored the marvellous Bauble Shop with amazing hand-blown decorations. Our time to meet Father Christmas was magically written on the back of our passport so we knew when to head to the outskirts of the village. We followed the snowy path past the reindeer shed which stored Father Christmas’s Sleigh.
I waited patiently as my name was called to see Father Christmas, then had butterflies in my stomach as we were guided down snowy paths by a very chatty elf who put my mind at ease. I was slightly worried that I hadn’t done enough to be on Father Christmas’s good list this year!
Thankfully as soon as we reached his wooden cabin and I was greeted by a cheery Father Christmas by a lit fireplace and I knew all was well. We chatted for well over 10 minutes and never felt rushed. I even received a golden bell to thank me for all my help in the Toy Workshop and an early Christmas present which was a gorgeous plush husky called Lumi. Another one to add to my collection, at this rate I’m going to have a whole husky team to pull my sleigh.
We looked at his good list and I found my name and it gave me the reassurance I needed. I trotted back through the snow-covered, fairy lit paths towards the exit. It was such a magical experience. This is not just a family tradition for us, it’s a way to keep the magic of Christmas alive in our hearts – not just for small folk but for big folk too!
A week later, I’m still chatting about it to anyone that will listen! Were you on the good list this year? If so, you might be called to help Father Christmas next year at LaplandUK.
Love Bella x
For more information on what’s included and big folk questions please head to the LaplandUK website where friendly elves will be able to help you.
Disclosure: We were invited down as guests of LaplandUK in order to share our experience. All images, video and Elf waves are our own.