“The memories made by a child at Christmastime will stay long after the years of childhood have passed.”
Warning! This review is for big folk eyes only!
Nestled within the forest near Ascot is the magical realm of Lapland UK. Human folk are invited to journey into this enchanted world to create memories that will last a lifetime.
The journey begins a few weeks before your visit, when small folk receive a personalised invitation from Father Christmas, asking them to journey to Lapland to assist the Elves with their toymaking. A wax sealed letter arrives in beautiful gift box along with a booklet of information for big folk, outlining what to expect during the visit. One tip which I loved was the suggestion of putting the letter into the freezer before you deliver it to the small folk, suggesting that the letter has actually arrived from Lapland!
Once the invitation has been ‘delivered’, you can build up to your visit by downloading the ‘Wishing Glass’ App, which contains special augmented reality messages from the Lapland Elves. You can also read or listen to ‘The Untold Story Of Father Christmas’, which is written by Lapland’s founders and tells the tale of how a humble toymaker and his wife became known to children all over the world as Father and Mother Christmas.
When the big day arrives you will embark on an unforgettable 4 hour journey into the Enchanted Forest and the Elven World.
Once you’ve parked up and made your way towards check in (make sure you arrive 30 minutes before your allocated time) the magic begins. Everybody you encounter from this point on is a performer, one of the elf folk! When your departure time arrives you will enter The Magical Portal and the journey begins.
Next is the Woodland Check In, where small folk receive an Elven passport that allows them to travel along the secret Elven pathways. Small folk can get their passport stamped at various points on their journey. You will be assigned to one of two groups, the reindeer or the huskies, with each group having their own guide. Here you will also collect any Elf Jingles (the official currency of Lapland UK) that you may have ordered. You will also encounter The Travelmaster and Porter, the Woodland Elves whose task it is to guide travellers.
Once checked in you will pass through a magical doorway with the help of Eeko and Sage, who teach the Human Folk a pass rhyme, that must be chanted whilst harnessing magical thoughts.
Onwards to The Toy Factory to meet the workshop elves Whittle, Conker and Wish. Here the small folk assist with toymaking. This year the children helped put stuffing into ‘Lepi’ the Snow Leopard, whilst singing along with the elves. What the small folk don’t know is that big folk are discretely handed a ‘Lepi’ at the end of the visit, which is to be placed underneath the Christmas tree along with a postcard from Father Christmas thanking them for visiting Lapland. A lovely surprise for the small folk on Christmas Day!
Mother Christmas’ Kitchen is next up. Here the small folk meet the Kitchen Elves and decorate gingerbread (Father Christmas’ favourite treat!). Mother Christmas shares a story with them.
Then onto the Elven Village, where you have approximately 1.5 hours of free time to enjoy a variety of activities. You can ice-skate on the frozen pond and meet the huskies at the village bandstand. You can spend your Elf Jingles at Pixie Mixie’s sweetshop or the Elf Emporium or enjoy a snack at Pumpernickel’s restaurant. Don’t forget to write a letter to Father Christmas at Elva’s Post Office, before delivering it in the magical postbox.
On the back of the small folks Elven passport is a time slot within which you must leave the Elven Village and make your way through the Enchanted Forest pathways towards Father Christmas’ House. Along the way you will view the Elf houses and meet the Reindeer before arriving at Ambolt’s Forge, site of the famous sleigh!
Then it’s time to check in at Compass’ Lobby, ready for your meeting with Father Christmas. When it’s your turn you are taken to his wooden cabin. The culmination of your visit is truly magical. Father Christmas knows all about the small folk! He knew that this was actually Morgan’s second visit to Lapland, and the last time he had visited he had been with his big brother Will, and had been a tiny baby! He also knew that Morgan had recently performed in his class assembly! (There is an opportunity to send personalised information via an online portal prior to your visit). Small folk are presented with a special golden bell plus a beautiful husky soft toy from Father Christmas’ Husky Hero sled team (there is a different husky to collect each year).
“The meeting of a young child and Father Christmas is a moment of magic to be treasured forever.”
And that concludes your visit. A truly magical experience.
Yes, it is pricey BUT priceless. We visited on a peak Sunday at the end of November and it cost £145 per person (cheaper options are available). Included in that you get a 4 hour fully immersive experience with all of the activities outlined above. The performers and their costumes are all exceptional, the forest is transformed into a Hollywood standard filmset, complete with snow covered trees! The small folk get two high quality soft toys and a complimentary photo with Father Christmas. As an experience you can eke it out for at least a month, from the arrival of the invitation, to the interactive app, right up to Christmas morning, when the small folk receive Lepi the Snow Leopard. I can’t fault it. This was our second visit (we also went in 2016) and I just think it’s spectacular. The whole event is geared towards children experiencing the ultimate Christmas magic. Lapland founders, Mike and Alison, were inspired to create Lapland so that families could truly celebrate this precious moment in childhood. As they explain ‘We never forget that a child will only ever experience Christmas once at each given age. Blink and they’ve grown. We passionately believe these years of wonder must be cherished while they last and held in precious memories once passed.’ Mission accomplished.
My tips for visiting Lapland UK…
Tickets are as rare to come by as a flying reindeer! Ticket booking windows open early in the year. For 2022 visits tickets went on sale on March 21st. I sat in an online queue for a few hours to book mine! It’s worth signing up to the Lapland UK mailing list to be informed of ticket booking windows.
What to wear? A substantial part of the experience happens outside in the forest so dress for the cold! If it’s been raining the forest pathways can be muddy so I would suggest wellies or walking boots. Don’t forget the Christmas jumpers!
You can’t take food into Lapland UK so I would suggest a picnic in the car before you enter! You don’t want to waste time in the restaurant when you could be ice skating etc
Lapland UK is cashless, card or Elf Jingles are accepted everywhere. I highly recommend pre ordering Elf Jingles to collect at check in. They are presented in a red velvet pouch and really enhance the magic of the experience. Any unused Jingles can be exchanged at the end of the visit.
This review was written using information from the Lapland UK website.