On Saturday we were guests of Lapland UK to review this years experience. It is set in a Whitmore Forest in Bracknell, Berkshire. This was our third visit to Lapland UK and I was initially concerned that the boys wouldn't be excited.
However, children enjoy repetition and I was wrong. The excitement when they found their invites was at fever pitch. Thankfully they received them a day in advance as middle man must have asked at least 50 times whether it was time to see Father Christmas yet.
On arriving at Lapland UK you check in and are given a team that you follow for the tour. Returning guests also receive an extra surprise. Children are given elf passports which allow them to enter the magical world of Lapland UK. There were two elves in the waiting area keeping the children amused.
Elves greet each other with a special wave.
You then walk through a woodland scene where you meet two woodland elves who talk you through some magical explanations. This year they had new outfits and were more interactive.
The door to Lapland UK is opened and a reindeer herder takes you onto the next step of your journey.
The elf toy factory.
The elves this year were fantastic. The toy factory had more detail than ever before. The first toy to make was a reindeer which was also made in last years experience. This is quite tricky for little hands to stuff but does look cute.
Next was a wooden horse. This was much easier to make and the elves demonstrated how elf magic (applied to the children's toys later) would make them walk. I was impressed!
A big thank you from the elves and stamp in the elf passport and you are in your way to Mother Christmas' kitchen. Here gingerbread houses are iced and a story is read to the children. Again more detail and extra thought had gone into this years kitchen. The children are read a story here and another stamp is gained in their passport.
You are then lead to the elf village and told when to meet for your journey to Father Christmas.
The elf village did seem quieter this year. Probably because it was November, late and freezing cold. You could stroke Huskies, go ice skating, visit the post office, sweet shop, or elf emporium. On sale in the elf emporium are toys similar to those that your children have helped make.
You have around an hour and a half in the elf village. I really think it is necessary to eat when you are there as it is a long wait otherwise. The Mother Christmas' Pie is lovely, the kids meals aren't the best. Drinks are expensive at a minimum of £2 each. Our food came to £48. You can pay in elf jingles (if you have pre purchased these) or using card.
The ice skating rink has lots of penguins and "small folk" can use double blade skates that attach to their shoes. There are elves on hand to help you if you fall.
This year a new system was put into place to take you up to see Father Christmas. I think there were a few teething issues as it was opening weekend. In previous years we have never had to queue but this year we did. I am sure that the elves will be working on this to make it a smoother journey for future guests.
This elf did the most amazing job of keeping our boys entertained.
On the walk up the hill you see the reindeer and sleigh. When in the waiting area it is worth noting that just one adult needs to check in, without any small folk around.
An elf then calls your children by name and takes you on a trail to Father Christmas. The silly elf infront of us was taking a different family on the long route whilst we took a short cut!
The meeting with Father Christmas was very good. He knew lots about each child and even found their names on his good list which he showed them. At the end they were given a golden bell sticker for their passports meaning they are honorary elves. You aren't allowed to take photos in Father Christmas' house, but don't fear there is an elf doing that. There were a number of magical moment (unstaged) shots and then staged family ones as well. You can then decide how many you want in reality depending on how much you want to pay. We went for the cheapest option of £15 for one photograph of all the family. This year you also get the digital copy too for that price.
A printer issue meant the elves in the shop were having a difficult time and the queue was incredibly long to pay for this. They did their best to sort the issue out as soon as possible, but it would put be off purchasing tickets on the opening day again. I should note that when we visited in 2013, we went on the second day and everything was fine.
So what did we think of our third visit to Lapland UK? Despite a couple of teething issues, it was a fantastic experience. This year there was more detail than ever before. The interaction between the elves and children was superb and had stepped up a knotch from last year (which was already good!) If you are thinking of booking tickets to Lapland UK you can view remaining ticket dates here. Ticket prices are expensive, but it reflects the type of experience it is. I have compiled a short You Tube video which will give you a taster of what is in store.
I believe that the best age to take a child to this experience is between the age of 4 and 6. You should also be aware that the experience lasts around 3 1/2 to 4 hrs from the time you check in. You also can't visit Father Christmas early. The only time this would be an issue is if it is really bad weather. We had a lovely time at Lapland UK and would like to thank them for yet another amazing experience. If you have any questions about the experience, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer it.