Lapland is magical, there is simply no other way to describe it.
But to start at the beginning, Mumsnet was invited to attend on a three-day trip to Lapland and I was lucky enough to be picked. We had to pull names out of the hat as so many of us wanted to go. I took my 7-year-old son Richard and we went the week before Xmas.
The flight is really really early so do be prepared for this, especially if you are travelling with really little ones.
The flight isn’t too long. I did panic when the Air hostess said we were now all going to sing carols as group participation isn’t me thang but in fact it was so sweet with all the children on board singing renditions of whatever their school nativity play had been. Bit like Nativity 2 but on a plane.
We arrived just before lunch but at this time of year Lapland only has five hours 'grey light' and darkness. You don’t need to bring your snow gear as all of this is provided for you by Thomson either at the airport or at the hotel.
You are met at the Airport by your 'elf'. Ours was called Snow Berry and I have to said probably the best elf I’ve ever met. Bit of a dude really, who then surfed in the Summer. The children in the group adored/worshipped him and just followed him like the pied piper.
The Mums just couldn’t remember his name and called him Beetle Juice/Berry Juice/Elf, all of which he took in his stride.
We were staying in the Snow Princess, which Thomson describe on their website as basic. It was basic, but actually very warm and cosy. Our room was larger than average with an upstairs mezzanine so a family of four would have been comfortable. It didn’t have a bath but it DID HAVE A SAUNA – how cool is that?
The only downside was the food. Extremely hit and miss, especially the children’s selection. Breakfast was fine with waffles you can make yourself and a good selection of various goodies but the rest of the meals, not so good.
Each day there are various activities dependent on what you have booked.
I have to say I would recommend them all.
The best was the Lapland experience. It was so interesting to learn more about the customs and legends of the indigenous Sami people. We also went on the Husky Trailblazer; I now have a new dinner table topic on driving Huskies, how cool is that?
I asked Richard what he liked best and he said it was the Ice hotel. This is an evening trip to the Ice hotel which, as the name implies, is a hotel completely built of ice. I liked its bar with the glasses made of ice for your vodka but I don’t think this is what he meant. It is a wonder and should definitely be on your life list.
Richard also loved the activities you could do there, such as snowmobiling for the kids and sledging and a ski taster for the little ones.
So on to the main event, that was the visit to Father Christmas. The children just lapped it up and were so sweet. Father Christmas was, well, just Father Christmas, simple as that. The children were enchanted. After your visit you can then go sledging, meet reindeer and go for a sledge ride. It's all very Christmassy and lovely.
When you are not out on trips there is the opportunity to play in the snow. Richard had never ever seen so much and really enjoyed just building snowmen, snow ball fights and sledging. The Snow Princess is near to town and there are a few good shops there. I noticed that whilst there were lots of Grandparents and big family parties, it worked as a holiday whatever your age.
We had the most amazing time, when we got back I looked up going back with my DD and DH and saw that already the hotel was getting full for 2013.
It was also the first time I’d travelled with Thomson, I’ve always shied away from the whole organized holiday thing but I was really impressed. The trip was very very well organized and the reps at the holiday were really nice. Not in your face in a red coat kind of a way, just fun to talk to and great at sorting things out which is really all you want. On the first night they organized sledging and marshmallow roasting at the hotel which was so so lovely.
Reading my review back I realize I have said lovely, enchanting and magical a lot but that is exactly our experience.