At the beginning of 2019 we booked our tickets for Lapland UK and having been last year, we were really quite excited. One thing that did sting however, was forking out £300 for the tickets a few days before payday in January. (Ouch!). However, this year we invited my sister and her husband and 4 months old baby to join us, so we told ourselves it was all in the name of making memories!
A few weeks before our planned visit, a beautiful boxed invitation was delivered, personalised to Ita. The suggestion was to pop it in the freezer and tell her that it had come straight from the North Pole, so that is exactly what we did.
Lapland UK is situated in Ascot, Windsor. We had booked a 10.30am slot which meant we had to be there for 10am to check in and obtain Ita’s elf passport. However traffic was an absolute nightmare and we literally made it by the skin of our teeth! In all honestly, leaving during rush hour on a Monday morning wasn’t the best idea.
This was our second visit to Lapland UK and typically, check in is quite manic. The queues are not obvious and so you will find people cutting in, especially if they are late. This is quite frustrating to be honest, but there is no way to contact Lapland UK so if you are running late, it is quite stressful. Basically, leave with plenty of time!
Once you have your passport you enter through to an enchanted forest where you meet two elves who tell the story of Lapland UK. They explain that every pine cone grows into a baby elf, who will eventually grow up to be one of Santa’s helpers. Ita was mesmerised… as were we!
Then we are asked to recite a magical spell to open the doors to Lapland!
When the doors open, there is no denying how beautiful and snowy the scene looks. The snow covered trees really so make you think you have stepped into a cold forest. You instantly feel like you are elsewhere.
Off we went down the snowy path with fairy lights twinkling to meet the elves at the Toy Factory. This workshop does look very realistic and the elves here are so energetic!
Here at the toy factory the children were asked to help Santa by making stuffed snowmen to deliver on Christmas Eve. This year Lapland gift you a stuffed snowman upon “check out” to give to your child as a surprise at Christmas. This is a really cute touch because I know Ita will truly believe that the snowman came from this toy factory.
Next we went to meet Mother Christmas who read the children a story and invited them to decorate gingerbread men. I think this is perhaps one of my favourite interactive parts of the day. The attention to detail, again, is brilliant and I love that the spotlight is specifically on the children. You also get to take your gingerbread man away as a snack for later!
After visiting the Toy Factory and Mother Christmas, there is free time in the Elf Village. This is truly a winter wonderland and aesthetics wise, it looks amazing.
The elves here are so friendly and Ita met quite a few of them who were happy to spend time talking to her and having photos taken. The elves stay in character the whole time.
In the Elf Village you will find one restaurant (which is always very busy), a sweet shop, a post office where you can write to Santa, a few small elf huts selling warm drinks, ice skating and a chance to meet huskies!
We very deliberately did not visit the village shop this time as last year we noticed that the penguin which Ita had stuffed when helping Santa, had been on sale here for around £25. I’m glad that this year Lapland actually gift you the stuffed toy.
The ice skating is included in your ticket price and there are ample penguin skating assists available. I would really recommend doing this since it diverts children’s attentions from the shops! We spent £4.50 on a tub of sweets, only for Ita to drop them almost immediately. Now isn’t that typical?
The restaurant is quite expensive but there is plenty to chose from. 2 meals and one drink set us back £20. I do think that given the expense of the tickets, a meal voucher should be included. With that said, Lapland UK do allow you to bring your own food and drinks which really is rather fair on their part.
I would say that you have roughly 90 minutes of free time in the Elf Village. That can actually feel like quite a lot of time when you are there as the village is quite small. Plus the excitement of meeting Santa Claus really kicks in for the children.
At 1.30pm we were able to walk the beautiful snowy trail, past the elves houses to Santa’s lodge.
This walk is possibly my favourite part of the entire visit. You really do feel like you are else where and the attention to detail is brilliant. The walk doesn’t feel rushed or short either. There are lots of photo opportunities on this walk and you also get to see Santa’s reindeers!
At the end of this trail you land in a hut where you discreetly check in your children and provide some personal details that the elves pass onto Santa.
We waited about 15 minutes and then an elf entered the room and announced that Santa was ready to see Ita! She was so excited, it made me so happy!
Another short walk away we found ourselves outside Santa’s lodge. When we entered he immediately greeted Ita using her name and I could see her little face light up.
Santa had quite a long conversation with Ita and congratulated her on passing her swimming lesson and on her ballet classes. He even noted what she had asked for Christmas.
You could see how in awe she was. The setting is remarkable and seems so authentic (you know what I mean adult folk!!).
He presented Ita with a husky stuffed toy, quite similar to the one from the year before but darker in colour.
Myself and my sister laughed when he asked us what he should buy Mother Christmas – little things like this add to the whole experience.
Elsie was even given a little huskie rattle.
The way out is through a gift shop. Let’s face it, every attraction does this. In the shop they sold lots of accessories for your husky and of course, Ita wanted some! My sister bought her a little collar for about £4.
When I posted about our trip last year on social media, I was asked “is it worth the money?”. I was asked this quite a lot actually.
Let me start by acknowledging that it is expensive for what is about a 4 hour experience. In fact it cost half of what our Disneyland Paris booking cost. However, it really is a magical experience and there is nowhere like it (apart from the actual Lapland!). In short, I truly believe it is worth it.
When you are there you can see why the tickets cost what they do. From the settings to the costumes, everything is so well showcased.
I would think that it is most suited to 3 – 10 year olds. Anything younger would not benefit so much but there is still a cost. My sister felt that although they really enjoyed the day, they wanted to see the same excitement that Ita demonstrated.
Tip!! Lapland UK do days from as little as £55 but they do sell out very fast. I would suggest signing up to their newsletter so you are informed when their ticket portal opens so you have a better chance of securing the cheaper tickets.
So what is included in the price?
From start to finish; a Lapland passport, Lapland newspaper, gingerbread man, ice skating (including skate hire), meeting elves and having photos with them, meeting Santa, a toy / stuffed husky, one high quality printed photo with Santa (you can buy more including digital), and free parking. This year children also got the stuffed snowman they made in the toy shop!
So if you are lucky to grab the cheaper dates, then this does work out quite fair. Many have said that adults should not cost as much and I do agree. The adult ticket should at least include a warm drink in the Elf Village.