It’s difficult to tell who was more excited by our visit to Lapland UK, me or the kids!
This place is such a magical experience that I can tell we will remember it for years to come.
Visiting Lapland UK involves going on a wonderful journey through a Christmas story starring your family!
The children met elves, were entranced by the theatre of the experience, made gingerbread men, helped Santa make toys in time for Christmas Day and got to meet the big man himself.
If you’re on the fence about whether Lapland UK is for, and particularly if the hefty price tag is worth it, then read on and let me help you make up your mind.
What happens during your visit to Lapland UK
Let’s start at the very beginning of the journey! Lapland UK is based in Whitmoor Forest in Ascot, Berkshire. It’s a gorgeous part of the Crown Estate.
The founders of Lapland UK must have thought they hit the jackpot when they secured it to base the attraction. This place is all about bringing the magic of Christmas to life and the forest is the perfect setting for this festive adventure.
As you walk from place to place, snowy Christmas trees and fairy lights line the walkway. You truly feel like you have been transported to another world.
We attended on a Sunday. The car park seemed rammed (there are plenty of spaces and it’s free), but we never felt it was over crowded. There were lots of places to sit and space to wander about.
After working our way through the woods from the car park to the entrance, we walked down a path, past a pretty little elf cottage, and into a large welcome area.
There are benches, a refreshment area with seating and it’s toasty warm inside. Checking in was easy as our details were all stored digitally. Each of the girls were given an Elf Passport which contained a map and pages to collect stamps from each place they visited on their magical journey through Lapland UK.
We were placed in a team out of Team Husky or Team Reindeer (we were Team Husky) and then waited for our tour to begin. Some friendly elves welcomed us and talked us through what we would be doing and showed us the elf wave we needed to use whenever we met new faces.
All of the characters were bursting with energy, smiling and friendly. The costumes are fantastic, as are the set pieces. I’ve read that Lapland UK uses a Hollywood movie set designer and it honestly shows, the detail is just incredible.
The journey begins with an introduction to the Christmas story at Lapland UK from two cheerful elves. The kids were encouraged to join in with singing and shouting which our two thought was brilliant.
We then moved on to the elves’ Toy Workshop. To get inside there is a “big folk” door and a “small folk” door. It’s lovely little touches like this that bring the experience to life and make it so real.
Inside was a gorgeous scene where the kids all sit down on benches while the adults line the room (I sat with my two as they are still quite little). Elves including the very funny Conker then told the kids they needed to help make some toys in time for Christmas.
Each child was given a penguin that needed to be stuffed and dressed in a woolly hat and scarf. Both girls absolutely loved doing this, they took it very seriously and then delivered their penguin to the elves so they could be sent to children on Christmas Day.
Next was a visit to Mother Christmas, whose magical kitchen includes a pot that stirs itself! Here the kids decorated gingerbread biscuits with icing and sweets before enjoying a story read by Mother Christmas.
Again, all of the characters were so engaging and completely believable – it’s this and the sets that make it such a perfect immersive experience. Even me, knowing it wasn’t real, felt excited by the spectacle of it all. Every child was totally spellbound by what was happening in front of them.
After our time with Mother Christmas we set off for the Elven Village where we had 90 minutes to explore before meeting Father Christmas and his reindeer.
I was nervous about Jessica trying ice skating as she is still only three but she was insistent she wanted to do it. Luckily they had these penguin helpers that she could hold on to while I pushed her around. She loved it so so much, it was one of the highlights of the entire day. The ice skating and skate hire is included in the price of the ticket.
Also in the village is a restaurant and tea shop, sweet shop, toy shop, bauble shop and a post office where kids can write their letter to the North Pole.
Elves are also wandering around ready to have pictures taken with kids or just have a chat about Lapland.
Trees dusted in snow are dotted about everywhere and stunning lightbulbs have been hung from there. Every building is designed in keeping with the entire theme of the day – no detail has been left to chance.
The village even has its own currency, Jingles, which can be purchased before your visit or when you arrive.
When it was finally time to see Santa, we headed through more magical pathways where fairy lights twinkled above us. We crossed the most beautiful bridge where tiny elf homes could be seen on either side. This is a great photo opportunity here!
Then we got to the reindeer, who were happily munching on food in their paddock. This was a really exciting bit for the kids who waved and called out to the reindeer.
Finally we got to the waiting room to meet Santa. Here I checked us in with an elf, who checked she had our details. Before arriving at Lapland UK I logged on to the website and gave a few personal details about the girls for Santa, including a memorable recent event, and pet’s name.
Both girls were deadly silent when we got to finally meet Santa, they were so intimidated! But Santa chatted away to them about their cat Woody and asked when they might leave for him and his reindeer when he comes to drop off their gifts.
As we left the girls were given a jingling bell each and a toy husky. Both of them were absolutely delighted and haven’t stopped talking about it since!
As you leave a picture is taken and you get a free print as part of your entry ticket. We will treasure ours forever.
What facilities are there
Car parking. This is free and there are loads of spaces.
Food and drink. On arrival there is a coffee stand where you can get drinks and refreshments. Once you have reached the Elven Village there is a restaurant, tea room and hot dog stand to get drinks or food from. There are soups, cakes and hot meals, plenty of choice to please everyone!
Toilets. There were loos at the start, at the Elven Village and by the room as you wait to meet Santa. All were clean and we didn’t have to wait to use the facilities at any point.
Souvenirs. There are dolls for each of the characters who you meet along your journey through Lapland UK. There are also smaller souvenirs such as pencils, little jars with fairy lights in and Christmas tree decorations. There are also books telling the story of Lapland UK.
Access. We took our Bugaboo buggy with buggy board on it and had no problems getting it around the site. There are no steps and we always found a spot to leave the buggy while we were busy doing something else.
Is it good value for money?
It isn’t a cheap day out, with tickets starting at £55 for off-peak days in the week and rocketing up to £120 on Christmas Eve. It’s the same price for adults and kids, so you’re looking at £200 minimum for a family of four.
However, let’s look at what you get for that. You get a 90-minute immersive theatrical experience during which your kids are entertained, are given Elf Passports to collect stamps, and a gingerbread man. You then spend 90 minutes in the Elven Village. Food costs extra here, but skating is included with your ticket. Then meeting Santa and the reindeer is also included, where each child receives a stuffed toy which is worth around £20 plus the little bell, and a picture from your visit.
Is it worth it? Yes, I would say it definitely is. Think about how much you would spend on a West End theatre ticket, or on visiting a theme park for the day. It’s on a par with these things, but it’s got that extra sprinkle of magic on top.
I wish words could do this beautiful place justice, but I feel they will just come up short!
Let me tell you that Lapland UK is an absolutely fantastic place to see Santa and kick off your family’s festive celebrations. I can’t think of anything that could possibly top it, unless you travel all the way to the actual Lapland!
The girls were utterly enchanted from start to finish and I just know they will be talking about this magical experience until Christmas and beyond.
This is NOT a collaborative post. We paid for our entry to Lapland UK. I’m just sharing our experience as I think your kids would love it!