This past weekend, something wonderful happened. We met Father Christmas. Not one of his helpers, but the real Father Christmas. At least, that is what my seven-year old daughter thinks. Husband and I were a bit worried that Moozles was about to stop believing in Santa. But then we went to LaplandUK, and that all changed. There she is, in the top photo, seeing her name on Santa’s list of nice boys and girls. *heart melts*
Our visit began with an elf showing us how to door that would lead us to LaplandUK. Once inside the snowy wonderland, we queued to get into the elves’ workshop. The children ‘helped’ the elves by making stuffed animals and wooden horses. For each activity the kids engaged in, they received a stamp in their Elf Passport. We then moved on to Mother Christmas’ kitchen. The children decorated a gingerbread biscuit and then listened to a story. Dubz really enjoyed this as it meant he got to wear a chef’s hat (that boy loves a hat). The biscuits were then put away for the car ride home, minus some smarties that seem to disappear.
After lunch and a mooch about, we finally got to meet the main man. Your own personal elf takes you through a maze of trees into the cabin where Father Christmas resides. When we walked in, he welcomed my children by their names (pronounced correctly).
I think when children are young, it doesn’t make a huge difference if the Father Christmas seems authentic. But once they are about four, they start noticing things. At seven, Moozles doesn’t miss a thing. She notices the fake beards, false tummies and the lack of knowledge on the parts of the Santas. He told them tidbits about their lives and their friends. Moozles was wide-eyed and kept looking at me asking ‘how did he know that?’ – it was so sweet.
Location – LaplandUK is located in Berkshire, just barely out of Surrey. From our home in South West London (near the A3), it took us 40 minutes to drive there. As we went in the morning, there was no traffic. Please note, if you’re using Google Maps, it might try and take you to The Berkshire Golf Club when you’re almost there – just keep driving for a few minutes until you see the yellow signs for LaplandUK.
Timings – You’re advised to arrive up to 30 minutes early. Due to utter sleepiness, we arrived at 10.29am. This gave us just enough time to check in. It takes about 90 minutes for the initial show, making toys with the elves and then decorating biscuits and listening to a story with Mother Christmas. You will then have 90 minutes of free time. As we booked for 10.30am, our free time began at 12pm. We spent half an hour at lunch and then visited the gift shop, wrote and ‘posted’ our letters to Santa, explored the sweet shop and milled about. There is ice skating but we felt that our son was too young. We went into the trail to see Father Christmas at 1.30pm and we were finished and back at our car at 2.15pm.
Cost – This will not be a cheap day. Yes, you could go to your local garden centre and see Father Christmas for less than £20 per child (some are free and just ask for a donation). We’ve been to a couple of lovely garden centre grottos, but LaplandUK is on another level. Prices for Lapland UK range from £45.00-£89.50 per person (weekdays are cheaper). The price covers an invitation from Father Christmas before the big day, all activities on the day including ice skating, a visit with Father Christmas and a cuddly toy. We paid for lunch (£35 for the four of us and it was surprisingly tasty), coffee and cake, sweets and photos of our visit with Santa (£15 for one or £30 for three). We couldn’t afford to visit more than once, but this would make a special Christmas treat. And if you do have the money, it is more than a Santa’s grotto. It is a Christmas day out.
We were invited to visit LaplandUK for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.