Ho, ho ho! It might seem waay to early to be thinking about Christmas, but Lapland UK tickets are so popular that the first booking window of 2021 has been and gone. The sooner you can book your tickets for this experience the better: even if it does seem mad to be planning Christmas days out before you’ve had your summer holiday! If you’ve always wanted to visit then you may be wondering what to expect…and you may well be put off by the price.
There’s no way to sugar coat this: Lapland UK is eye-wateringly expensive. Ticket prices vary depending on the date you visit (with the tickets getting more expensive at weekends and the closer you get to Christmas). We booked for a weekday at the beginning of December and still paid £99 each (so around £400 in total). There are tickets available for almost double this. When you think that the experience only lasts for half a day, that’s a lot of cash! And then there are the extras: photos with Santa, souvenirs in the shop, food, drinks….. it’s enough to make me dizzy! But……
…..If I put the astronomical expense to one side, it was genuinely the most magical day out we have ever had!
Before You Arrive
Before you arrive, a boxed invitation is posted to your house: you are advised to pop this in the freezer before your big reveal so that it will feel cold (just like it’s come straight from the North Pole). We popped the icy cold invitation box on the doorstep, rang the doorbell and ran! The boys opened the door and the amazement and excitement began: they are two of the special children that have been invited to Lapland to help Santa build toys! We did this the week before our visit, and it was the right amount of time for the excitement to build to near-frenzy levels: the boys talked about it every day!
The Lapland UK Story
Lapland UK isn’t just a Santa’s grotto. It is a fully immersive Christmas experience, and my children genuinely believed that we had arrived at the Elves train station, and then past through a magical portal into Lapland: so did I! Every elf we met was warm and engaging, encouraging the children to dance, engaging them with stories, and telling them about their own journey into Lapland.
As we arrived, the children were given their special Lapland passports, official elf hats (that you can either pre-order when you book your tickets or buy as you arrive), and change your money for Elf Jingles, which is the official currency of Lapland UK. Conveniently, the exchange rate for Elf jingles is £1 to 1 jingle, so it’s easy to work out what you’re spending. We past through various ‘story points’, such as helping the Elves to make enough snowman stuffed toys for Christmas, and baking cookies with Mrs Claus, but it never felt forced.
The attention to detail was really impressive: the children wore Lapland branded aprons whilst their were ‘baking’ (they were actually just icing and decorating biscuits) and were then given Lapland branded bags to take these home in. The staff levels (or should I say, the number of elves!) were also much higher than I expected, so there was always someone to help the children with their activities and engage with them, delivering little sprinkles of magic.
When this organised element of our trip was over, we were given free time to enjoy the Elves village. Here we could ice skate on the frozen elf pond, post a letter from the Lapland post office, see the reindeer and meet the husky’s that were wandering around the village with their Elf-handlers and there were (of course) opportunities to spend some of our ‘Elf Jingles’ in the gift shop, the sweet shop, the Christmas decoration shop, and at various food outlets. Although we have been ice skating lots of times before, it felt different and magical to skate with the snow covered trees and Christmassy details of the village surrounding you.
You collected a stamp for helping Mrs Claus, a stamp for building toys, and there was also a stamp to be collected for visiting the post office: the idea was that you had to have all of the stamps in your passport before you could go and visit Santa, but this wasn’t checked, which was a shame really, as the boys were very proud of having all their stamps! Once we’d enjoyed our time in the village, we joined the queue to be allowed out of the village and to make our journey to find Santa. This was the only time we queued all day, and we were only waiting for around 15 minutes here.
Top Tip: Your time to go and meet Santa was allocated on your tickets. Join the queue a little before this time, because if you’re at the back it will take much longer to see Santa: some people in our time slot had a wait of up to 45 minutes with the elves, before they got to see the main man himself.
The hunt for Santa was on! We passed tiny elf houses, the reindeers waiting for their big flight on Christmas Eve, and Santa’s sleigh. It was magical, and my favourite part of the day. We booked our session for the afternoon so that we would enjoy this walk in the twillight and I’m so glad we did. The twinkly lights made the whole experience even more magical.
Finally? We met Santa! And suddenly, the look of pure wonderment on their faces when they realised it was the real Real Santa, and that their names were on his nice list, made every penny we’d begrudged spending absolutely worth it……
Santa gave the children a stuffed Husky dog, and as we left we collected our official photo (and purchased a couple of extras). At this point we were also given a ‘secret’ bag from the elves for the parents only: two stuffed snowman (the same ones that the children helped the elves to build) for us to leave under the tree from Santa on Christmas morning. Another example of the incredible attention to detail and little touches that made this Santa experience unlike any other we have enjoyed before or since. And one we will (less begrudgingly this time) pay to do again…..