It was supposed to be a lazy day in the house until there was a special delivery. Something had landed on the doormat and it was addressed to our four year old, Olly. It had special markings on the envelope and the anticipation of what was inside was almost too much. It was a special invitation to visit a magical place, where snow covered trees lined the paths and elves waved by touching their noses and giggling, it could only be one place, we were invited to visit LaplandUK.
Our trip to LaplandUK this year was a complete surprise for Olly. We all know if you tell a small child about something exciting happening in the future, they will go on and on about it for weeks asking if it’s nearly time yet so we wanted to drop it on him and he absolutely loved the surprise! We have previously visited LaplandUK (you can read all about our visit last year here) and had the most incredible time so we knew that we would all love the experience again. We wrapped up warm and headed down to Whitmoor Forest in the depths of Ascot for our pre-Christmas day of fun.
On arrival, we walked through the entrance to the Enchanted Forest, excited to discover what lay ahead. We checked in and found out we were on Team Reindeer.
Before we knew it, our team was being assembled and the hidden doors through to the forest were opened. We walked through twinkly lit paths into the forest to be met by Eeko and Sage. They asked all the children (known as the small folk) if they had their passports and asked them to recite a poem to open the doors to the magical world of Lapland. The small folk all excitingly shouted the poem and the doors opened revealing a snow covered forest with more twinkly lights guiding the way.
The first port of call on the experience is to the Toy Factory with Whittle, Conker and Wish. Conker hasn’t behaved himself of late and needed the small folks help to catch up assembling all the toys for Father Christmas to deliver on Christmas Eve. This year, the small folk had to help assemble a collection of large white polar bears along with a smaller polar bear.
The polar bears are very cute and snuggly and it’s important to warn you that children have to hand the polar bears back to the elves at the end of the activity. Last year this upset Olly but he knew what to expect this year so was prepared to hand it back in (they are of course, available to purchase in the Elf Emporium in the Elven Village). Olly really enjoyed this activity and enjoyed the camaraderie with the elves. The Toy Factory is wonderfully decorated and we loved watching the toys being shipped along the conveyor belt above our heads as we sat below. The attention to detail everywhere is incredible.
It was then time to walk through the forest to Mother Christmas’ kitchen. In the kitchen, children were asked to decorate a Christmas tree decoration in the form of a gingerbread tree. Olly loved this activity and was rather proud of his hand decorated tree finished with icing, smarties and dolly mixtures. After a story from Mother Christmas, it was time to have Olly’s passport stamped, leave the kitchen and visit the village.
Lots to see and do in the Elven Village
We had an hour and a half to explore the Elven village before our allocated time to visit Father Christmas so we had lots of time to immerse ourselves in the magical world of LaplandUK. In the village, there’s some free activities to do as well as lots to see including a visit to Pixie Mixie’s sweet shop, visit the Elf Emporium where children can show their completed passports in exchange for a golden bell, go ice-skating, write and send a letter to Father Christmas at the Elven Post Office and buy a bauble from Bauble’s Shop.
Olly didn’t fancy his luck at ice skating on the frozen pond and playing the pregnancy card, I opted to take the family for some food in the Elf Restaurant instead. Hot food and drink is available at an additional cost but we had factored that into our visit and was prepared to buy our dinner here. My husband had Mother Christmas’ turkey pie and mash, I had a cup of bean broth whilst Olly had chicken schnitzel and fries. The food was fresh and rather tasty and enjoyed by us all.
We then spent some time exploring the village. We met Pixie Mixie who was just the loveliest lady, she spent time chatting to Olly and asking him all about his day. We popped into the sweet shop to pick up some sweet treats to take home and then we visited the Elf Emporium for Olly to pick up his golden bell as he had completed all the activities in his passport.
The Elf Emporium is a must see
Be prepared to spend a bit of money in the Elf Emporium, the Polar Bears the small folk made are available to buy here and Olly spent ages looking for his bears that he helped make! The decorations in the Emporium are beautiful, I’d happily live in there!
We made sure Olly had time to visit the Elven Post Office to write his letter to Father Christmas and was delighted to see he had asked for more cars, Lego, track and Playmobil (phew!) He posted his letter off to the main man and it was time to walk through the forest to visit him.
On our way through the forest, we saw the reindeer and saw Ambolts Forge where Father Christmas’ sleigh was being prepared for the big night.
Before we met with Father Christmas, an adult had to check in and ensure all the details of the visit were correct. Thankfully they were (you must logon online prior to your visit to fill in some details about your children to ensure Father Christmas knows all about their achievements and special requests!) and we only had to wait a few minutes before Olly was called for by an elf and led away through the forest to Father Christmas’ house.
Such a magical visit to LaplandUK
Our visit to meet Father Christmas was really magical. His home was cosy and festive looking and he invited Olly to sit next to him and had a good chat with him. He mentioned that he knew that Olly’s favourite teddy was Little Ted, which blew Olly away because how did he know? and he knew that Olly had asked for cars and track for Christmas. Olly’s little face was absolutely priceless and it was so lovely to see him engage with him and take in his every word. Olly was given a soft and cuddly husky toy to take home and it was great that LaplandUK had acknowledged that this was Olly’s second visit so gave him a different toy to the one he received last year.
We had an absolutely fantastic experience at LaplandUK this year. Olly had such a magical time which is testament to the level of detail throughout our visit. Everything was done to such a high standard and it’s such a theatrical performance that it’s no wonder you leave feeling magical and part of a world where make believe is so, so real.
Thank you to LaplandUK for inviting us to experience the magic once again, it’s been the highlight of our festive build up so far and Olly’s made lots of memories that I’m sure he’ll treasure as a family of three before his little brother arrives in the new year.
Disclosure: We were invited to LaplandUK in exchange for this review. All words and images are my own.