Lapland UK - is it worth the money?
A trip to Lapland UK is a magical experience – but it's also an expensive one. We went along and then pulled together the thoughts of Mumsnetters on whether it's worth it, and how to make the most of a visit.
What is Lapland UK?
Just as its name rather confusingly suggests, Lapland UK isn't in Lapland at all. It's in the rather magical Whitmoor forest near Ascot – although your children will go home believing they've been on an adventure a lot further from home. Experiencing Lapland UK starts well before you arrive. After you book your tickets your children will receive letters from Santa, inviting them to come and help the elves make the toys for children on the good list.
“I put the invite on the doormat with a load of fake snow and glitter! My daughter luckily never questioned it being in the UK.”
A visit lasts about four hours and involves you all being taken through a magical door to 'Lapland' – once there, the children are guided through activities and you're given some free time to explore and ice skate before meeting the big man himself.
“It's three to four hours of mostly interactive theatre with about an hour to spend in the Elven village where there is iceskating, shops and cafes. It's mostly undercover – there's gingerbread decorating with Mother Christmas and helping the elves make the toys in their workshop. The walk between these areas is magical – outdoors through a 'snowy' forest and the lights are beautiful.”
But it's near Ascot – so how do the kids think they're in Lapland?
This really is an immersive experience – the pathways and trees in the forest are covered with fake snow, and the elves do a brilliant job of convincing the children that they need some help in getting toys made in time for the big day. The sets have so much attention to detail that the toy workshop looks just like what you'd imagine it to be.
“We said it was a Lapland based in the UK where Santa makes some of his toys every year. The invitation is brilliant – it says Santa has got behind and so has selected a handful of kids especially to help. The elves talk about how elves were created and build up to the big door opening to Lapland. A postcard is also sent to the kids ( via you on Christmas Day) thanking them for them help and saying that thanks to them all presents got made. We bought and smuggled home one of the toys they made in the toy factory and put the toy and the letter next to their stocking. Priceless.”
Very clever – any other tips to make it magical?
For children on the cusp of not quite believing, a trip to Lapland UK might just give them another year of enchantment. But, be prepared to answer some searching questions (being ready with an answer to why the snow doesn't melt could be handy…)
“Switch off things like the weather app on your phone – my more clever than I realised six-year-old thought to check it to see where we really were.”
“Take a rucksack with a spare set of clothes. You can't go back to the car at any time once you're in the experience and the kids can get quite wet and cold ice skating. Take enough money to send a postcard at the Elf post office, for sweets and snacks and to buy a key or reindeer shoe (kids “make” them in the forge there)."
And what about the final encounter with Santa – does he live up to the hype?
Before your visit, you're able to personalise elements of your trip via the Lapland UK website. Do take advantage of this and fill in details about your DC. They'll meet Santa at the end of the day, and they'll be rightly flabbergasted by his inside knowledge.
“You also get a chance to tell the elves more recent information before seeing Santa so take advantage of that on the day – my DD was amazed that he knew about the swimming badge she had got the evening before.”
Sounds great – but is it really worth it?
Lapland UK is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a price tag to match. If you love Christmas, and if your children are still young enough to believe in the magic around it – this could be a brilliant day out.
“I've been to another similar one locally which was admittedly much better value but no where near as slick or polished. The organisation and quality of scenery is amazing, as are the staff. I would compare Lapland UK to going to a west end theatre show. It's a lot pricier but as a great one-off treat you won't feel disappointed.”
“One of my boys then aged 8 was on the verge of not believing and he left a 100% believing.”
Lapland UK – your need-to-know
- Lapland UK is in Whitmoor Forest, near Ascot. It's a popular walking spot managed by the Crown Estate during the rest of the year.
- The attraction opens on November 18 until Christmas Eve.
- Tickets start at £49 but do sell quickly. For a space on the priority booking list for next year, visit the Lapland UK website.