When you think of Lapland, you might imagine snow covered tree tops, alpine buildings and reindeer? After our visit to LaplandUK this weekend, I can tell you, you wouldn’t be far wrong.
**Contains plenty of photographs and spoilers**
Before our visit, Olly had received a special letter from Father Christmas himself inviting him to visit LaplandUK. Father Christmas had invited Olly to meet the elves, help out in his toy factory and enjoy some time in the elf village. We were all pretty excited about going to LaplandUK but had no idea what to expect.
On arrival to the Enchanted Forest, our excitement levels were pretty high. We walked through the forest and found the entrance which was fantastic to look at. Little elf houses with small doors and they really helped to set the scene. We checked in and we were given Team Reindeer stickers (there are two teams per tour, the Huskies and the Reindeer) and Olly was given his Elf Passport. We exchanged some sterling into Jingles (the official currency of LaplandUK, £1 = J1) and couldn’t wait for our tour to begin. We had a short wait before our tour, so enjoyed a hot drink and a snack which is available to buy in the Check In area of LaplandUK.
A green-bearded elf appeared to introduce the tour and Olly’s face was a picture, he was so excited. After a short introduction, the door to our adventures began and we walked through a tree-lined passage way into the magical forest. The set design in here was incredible, it was like we had walked into another world with fairy lights lighting up the sky above us and a magical forest scape surrounded us. We took our seats and Sage, the elf as old as the oak tree, began telling us an enchanted tale. He was soon joined by Eeko who taught us all a magical rhyme which we had to recite.
Upon this recital, the doors to LaplandUK opened and everyone gasped as a vision of snow covered trees and buildings lay before us.
We met Anja and Helka who were our tour guides for the afternoon and we began to walk through snow covered walkways which was breathtaking. It was also very cold outside which really added to the atmosphere, it really did feel like we were in Lapland.
Visiting the Toy Factory
We were led to the Toy Factory where we met Whittle, Conker and Pixie Mixie who spoke to the children. The Small Folk (children) were asked to sit at a table with the Big Folk (adults) sitting around the edge of the room. The Toy Factory was magical. Above us were cogs and a conveyor belt with toys attached moving along the room. At the front of the factory were tools, boxes and signs and it was all very convincing.
The Small Folk were asked to help out Father Christmas as there were many toys to make for all the good children this year. Olly helped stuff a toy reindeer (which he loved and didn’t want to part with) and he helped to put together a wooden teddy bear. He really loved helping out but did get upset that he had to hand back the reindeer. This is very clever marketing here, as the stuffed, finished reindeer is available to buy in the elf village shop for J25.
Once the toys were made, we walked back outside down to Mother Christmas’ kitchen to ice gingerbread men biscuits. This was a fantastic activity for the little ones to get involved in.
Decorating Gingerbread with Mother Christmas
Olly really enjoyed this activity and was really impressed with his decorating skills. Mother Christmas’ kitchen was wonderful to look around. On the walls there were recipes for Christmas treats and the room was full of cooking equipment and cosy little Christmas touches.
After every activity, the children get their Elf Passports stamped which once completed entitles the children to say they have passed their Elf Training and they’re officially on the Good List. On the back of our Elf Passport, we were given a time to visit Father Christmas. After Olly had finished decorating his gingerbread biscuit, we were able to explore the Elf Village.
Exploring the Elf Village
All the activities in the Elf Village are included in the ticket price so families are able to go ice skating, meet the huskies and the reindeer, write and send a letter to Father Christmas at the Elf Post Office and stock up on gifts at the Bauble gift shop and the Elf Emporium.
There was also an elf restaurant selling hot meals and drinks for the whole family and whilst it’s important to mention that they’re expensive to buy, it’s not compulsory to purchase anything however they were hot, filling and rather delicious. My husband and I enjoyed Mother Christmas’ pie served with bubble and squeak and Olly ate a child’s portion of meatballs and chips. The meal with drinks cost us J33.
Olly wanted to try ice skating so we spent a very quick five minutes on the ice. He decided after a couple of metres on the ice rink that he didn’t like it but we gave him credit for trying.
The Elf Emporium is amazing. With decorated Christmas trees, dressers full of decorations, it’s such a wonderful place to look inside. The Emporium is full of Christmas loot with decorations, toys and books galore. The soft toys that the children stuffed in the Toy Factory are available to buy here. We bought Olly his reindeer (J25) but you may want to set yourself a budget, it’s easy to spend a lot of money in there.
As we walked around the Elf Village, it was magical to soak up the atmosphere. With elf characters all dressed up and completely acting in character, it was easy to forget where we were. It was absolutely fantastic.
Meeting Father Christmas
At five o’clock it was time to visit Father Christmas. We made our way through the lit, snowy paths and we stumbled upon Father Christmas’ workshop and sleigh. We also saw the real life Reindeer who were grazing nearby. I’d definitely give yourself five minutes to have a look around at this part of the attraction, as we missed some of it due to not wanting to be late for our appointment with Father Christmas.
We checked in (an adult needs to do this without a child being present) and waited for our turn to be collected. In this room, there’s Father Christmas’ maps and star gazing equipment. It was wonderful to look at. After a couple of minutes, an elf called Olly’s name and we set off into the forest to find Father Christmas’ cottage. The pathways were quite steep and got quite muddy so not really suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
Father Christmas invited Olly in to the cottage to sit next to him and the conversation flowed. Father Christmas knew all about Olly’s favourite toy (Little Ted) and that he had recently been Star of the Week in school (thanks to being able to login to the LaplandUK booking system earlier in the week to provide these gold nuggets of information) He also asked Olly what he wanted for Christmas and he showed Olly that he was on the Good List. Olly’s face was absolutely priceless, he was in amazement that Father Christmas knew so much about him and it was just so lovely to watch. I must admit, I did get a little tear in my eye as it’s the first Christmas where Olly has a good understanding of the festive season and he really did believe he was talking to Father Christmas.
Father Christmas gave Olly an early Christmas gift, which was a stuffed Husky toy that Olly adored. We had our photograph taken with Father Christmas (one printed photograph is included in the ticket price) and it was time to leave. I’m pretty certain he was the real deal. He was so lovely and exactly what I have always imaged Father Christmas to be like. Our time with him wasn’t rushed and it was a really few minutes.
After three and a half hours, our visit to LaplandUK was over and what an experience it was. It is such a magical place, everyone we met played an incredible part of our LaplandUK adventure and it really was like being on a film set where our very own movie was being played out before our eyes. Completely believable with such incredible attention to detail and so enchanting. It’s an experience we will never forget and one that has really set the standard high for any future visits to see Father Christmas.
If you look at the ticket prices for the event, you’ll notice that it is expensive. Tickets start from £65 per person but in my opinion, it is completely worth it. You pay for what you get in return. You’re immersed into a magical storyland for at least three and a half hours and you would pay about the same price to watch something at a West End Theatre for half the time. We had an amazing afternoon and feel completely blown away by the whole experience. We really do believe we met the real Father Christmas and our Son’s belief in Father Christmas is very much alive. You can’t really put a price on the smiles we saw that afternoon, it was just magical.
Disclosure: We were gifted our tickets to LaplandUK but paid for our own meals, drinks and purchases in the Elf Emporium.