Last year we were invited to Kingdom of the Elves at Bluestone and it was the best Christmas day out we have ever been on, so this year my challenge was to find somewhere equally as good, if not better.
I stumbled across LaplandUK on twitter and after visiting their website I knew this was just what we were looking for and booked tickets for 29th November, but the excitement started before then when Isaac, Eliza and Sebastian received some very special invitations in the post.
Before visiting I purchased Elf Jingles (elf currency) for the children to spend in the shop and updated the information for Father Christmas with recent achievements and their likes and dislikes.
LaplandUK is situated in Bracknell Forest, Ascot so about an hour and a half drive from home for us and our time slot was at 10.30 but you are advised to get there half an hour before your booking to get checked in and exchange your currency for Elf Jingles. Probably my one and only disappointment of the day is that they hadn’t made much of the entrance, so although the kids were excited, it could have made a bigger impact. We parked the car and followed the signs to the Enchanted Forest.
As we got closer we found more and more evidence of elves and even found some houses where you could ring the bell and see if anyone would answer.
As soon as you walked in the door, all the staff were in character. There were a couple of elves wandering around, playing with the children to keep them entertained whilst we queued to check-in and collect our Elf Jingles. The check-in Elf, Evergreen, took the time to explain everything to Isaac and Eliza and made them feel relaxed and welcome, before giving them their passports and stickers. We were in the Husky team!
By dividing participants into teams it meant we were in smaller groups of about 30 children (small folk) and their big folk and we lined up for our departure which left bang on 10.30am.
We were ushered into a large marquee which was decorated just like a woodland and met two Elves. Acorn, the Woodland Elf, was snoring when we arrived and seemed surprised to see us at first but was soon divulging lots of Elf secrets before introducing us to his friend Eco, who told us all how elves were made.
We were then taught the magic spell to open the magic doors to the Enchanted Forest and LaplandUK.
As the doors opened we were welcomed in to a winter wonderland of beautiful snowy woodland pathways and our next stop was the Toy Factory, where Isaac, Eliza and Sebby got to help the Elves make Rudolph toys and wooden horses ready to be delivered across the world on Christmas Eve.
What sets LaplandUK apart from other Christmas attractions is the attention to detail everywhere. There were snowshoes and sledges propped up by doorways, the workshop felt like a real one with targets, blueprints and to-do lists on the walls and the elves were entertaining and fun. They even had special doorways for the “small folk” to go through.
After the kids had done their work it was off to meet Mother Christmas in her kitchen to lend a hand at decorating delicious gingerbread.
Once all the gingerbread houses had been decorated we gathered for a traditional story of the Gingerbread with Mother Christmas and all the children sat and listened as quiet a mice, well until they had to shout “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”.
Next up is the Elves’ Village, where we got to meet the resident huskies and get our skates on to enjoy the festive Ice Rink.
There was also a post office where we could send letters home and exchange our money for Elf Jingles to spend in the shop and lots of food on offer. We chose to eat in the restaurant and I had a scrummy Christmas Pie, hubby had Swedish meatballs and the kids had chicken strips and fish fingers.
The final part of the experience was a personalised meeting with Father Christmas in his snowy woodland home. For me this was the highlight of the day as not only was Father Christmas authentic, but he talked to the children for about ten minutes. Taking the time to fill in the information forms before our visit really paid off and he congratulated Isaac on his 200m swimming badge, talked to Eliza about dancing and even mentioned starting pre-school to Sebby. There was a photographer taking pictures as the kids chatted meaning we didn’t have to and they each got to check they were on the good list and take away a luxury husky soft toy.
A visit to LaplandUK does come at a cost with tickets available from until 24th December, 2015 and prices starting from £45-£89.50 per person plus booking fee. This experience last 4 hours and I would liken it to a theatre show rather than a stand-alone Father Christmas visit.
The facilities were excellent, with heated toilets and baby change rooms. All the activities including the ice skating were included in the price but lunch and photographs cost extra.
It is an expensive day out but if a visit to Lapland itself is out of your price range then this is a much more reasonable alternative.