Snow-covered trees, twinkling lights, elves and serious fun – there’s no denying that Lapland UK is absolutely magical. We visited with the five-year-old and from the moment we stepped out of the car and followed signs for the Enchanted Forest, it was spell-binding.
A few weeks before our visit, our little one was sent a personal letter from Father Christmas, asking her to come to see him in Lapland UK, and to help his elves make some toys. It’s a special touch and the five-year-old was very excited to have a letter from the man himself.
When we arrived, the check-in process was slick, and the elf doing our check-in was really friendly, asking the five-year-old if she was excited about meeting Father Christmas. The elf handed over an Elf Passport, which would be stamped after each activity, and gave us a Husky sticker (there are two groups – Husky and Reindeer – which go through Lapland UK separately.)
The check-in area is a wooden building, decked in fairy lights, and has lots of picnic tables and a cafe selling coffee, bacon butties, cakes and pastries. There was an excited buzz in the air, and we had the feeling that this was going to be a special day.
After we’d munched on a pastry or two, it was time to follow an elf into an indoor area decked in trees, fairy lights and rows of benches. There, two elves explained a bit more about Lapland UK and told the children that they have an important job to do, there.
After we all repeated a magical elf poem, the door was opened and – I’m not going to lie to you – seeing the trees and paths outside all covered in snow is a pretty breathtaking moment.
We headed off down a snowy path through the forest and got to a little hut – Father Christmas’ toy factory. After the children entered via their own small door (cute touch!), they were met by three more elves inside, who talked them through how to help make a toy reindeer and wooden horse, for Father Christmas.
From there, it was off down more snowy paths to Mother Christmas’ kitchen. There, the little ones all decorated a gingerbread house biscuit with icing and sweets, before listening to Mrs Christmas telling a special story.
Then it was out into the Elf Village, where we had 90 minutes to explore. We headed straight for the ice rink because the five-year-old was desperate to skate. I lasted 60 seconds on the ice before getting off (“I have to take photos!” I told Mr P….) but they stayed on the ice for a good 45 minutes, and loved it.
The Elf Village also has a hot drink stand, a gift shop, a sweet shop and the Post Office where little ones can go and write their letter to Father Christmas, and post it through one of the special letter boxes. We could have spent far longer wandering around, exploring the Elf Village – it felt like such a magical little area.
There’s also a restaurant there, selling fish finger sandwiches or chicken nuggets for kids and Christmas dinner, pie or meatballs for grown ups (all really tasty). Again, twinkly fairy lights and lanterns covered the ceiling and there was a real buzz of excitement as everyone ate.
Finally, it was time for us to go and meet Father Christmas. An elf took us to another check-in area and when it was our turn, we were called outside and walked along some more snowy paths to Father Christmas’ house. We sat with him and he chatted to the five-year-old about what she’d been doing today, and checked to see if her name was on the good list (it was – phew!). He even knew about her going to street jazz dance classes (well, his elves keep an eye on all the children around the world, don’t they?) He was warm and friendly, and talked to her with his gentle Finnish accent. He gave the five-year-old an early present and then we posed for a few photos, before it was time to say goodbye.
All in all, Lapland UK was such a magical experience – amazing attention to detail, everyone was really friendly and going out of their way to make it special for the little ones, and it’s something we’ll all remember for a long time.
So is Lapland UK worth the money? We were incredibly lucky to be invited along to check it out, for the purpose of this review. If we’d bought tickets for the day that we went, at the end of November, it would have cost us £222 for our three tickets (£74 each, including a £4.50 booking fee per ticket). Parking is free and all activities are included – the toy making, biscuit decorating, ice skating and writing a letter to Father Christmas, and the gift from him too. While we were there, we spent £40 on food and £15 on one photo, taken with Father Christmas. So that would have been a total spend of £277.
To you, that might sound like a perfectly reasonable amount to spend on a special festive day out. To me, it felt too much. We were there for four hours – if it had been a full day experience, with perhaps a fairground and unlimited time to explore the Elf Village, then it might have felt worth the cost. But as it is, I am struggling with whether it’s value for money.
I’ve seen a couple of parents mention that it’s roughly the same price as top-price theatre tickets, which is a really fair point. So if you’re the kind of person who is happy to splash out, from time to time, on an activity which is utterly special and fantastic, then do it. Go. You will LOVE Lapland UK.
But I think it’s a shame that it’s as expensive as it is – if tickets was just a little bit lower in price (or if they charged top whack for the kids’ tickets and let grown ups come for £10 each) it would be more affordable to so many more families.
Have you been to Lapland UK? What did you think?
Thanks to Lapland UK for inviting us along to review the experience.
It looks like a truly magical place and I’m just disappointed I don’t still live in Berkshire so couldn’t review it myself! I must admit though, £277 is very steep. But then thinking about where it’s situated (Ascot?) I know from having lived in that area that there are many people there would would easily afford that kind of cost, which must be a consideration when organising an event like that. For us, we try to do one big festive event every year before Christmas. Last year it was The Polar Express in Devon (a trip on a real steam train with all sorts of extras included to make it super special) and this year it’s a special nativity play that’s in a barn at a local family farm, complete with real animals, dressing up so the kids can join in, mulled wine for the grownups and a Santa’s grotto. I think both of those experiences came to around £100 for four adults and one kid (the baby goes free), and then we pay extra for snacks etc. So it’s not cheap, but it’s not quite £277. Mind you, your point about the theatre tickets is a good one. I guess it’s about what we prioritise and what our festive habits are!
We have been a few times & will be going again this year . & travelling 2/30 hours to get there . Comphared to what we have local laplanduk wins every time. For less money Yes it is very magical &. The smile on the children’s faces is enough that’s enough to say this is definitely worth the money .. For us personality it’s all about making memories & Christmas is one of the magical times of the year Absolutely recommend laplanduk
Have you ever been on Christmas eve.
£85 up to £120 for a 1 1/2 year old is robbery
everything in uk always has to cost so much money,, theme parks and so on.. like the comment higher up says charge kids more but adults should be like 10.00quid or something!! make it a more affordable for familys to visit 😉
This is a really honest review and Lapland UK looks absolutely amazing. I am someone who loves the whole festive period and I think this would be something really magical to do as a family. Saying that £277 is really steep and I don’t know whether we would be able to justify it just before Christmas. If we could I can see that it would be incredible- well done for giving such a balanced review. x
This actually looks lots lovelier than I thought – really magical and Narnia-esque. Love the attention to detail too and great photos (PS I HATE ice skating, will be sure to have a camera with me for an excuse next time). But it does seem so expensive – why so much for parents, especially, when they’re not making anything? I’m sure children would love it and have a brilliant time (but at that age would they really be able to tell / care about the difference between this and say, a garden centre Santa trip?) x
There is no doubt this place is truly amazing and magical and I am kind of kicking myself I didn’t know about it earlier in the year and saved some money for it. I think it makes for a nice family trip if planned in advance as there is no way personally we could drop that amount of money just before Christmas. Saying that I hope to go next year as my son with be 6 and I think it may be the last year that the true magic still hits him before he starts to realise on is own it’s not what we think it is and in comparison to actually going to Lapland this is much more reasonable
It’s great that you have been so honest in your review. We get to experience so many amazing things as bloggers, but it is always important to weigh up whether you would actually pay for that “in real life” – to know if something is great value for money is the most important thing for readers, I think.
From your photos it does look very very picturesque and I’m sure it’s pure magic for young children.
It looks so amazing! I hadn’t heard of it but it looks magical. One of the things that really stands out in the photos is how it doesn’t look too busy, something which is rare these days as most places you go have been crammed with so many people that you struggle to even buy a cup of tea without queuing for ages, I guess paying that’s the benefit to paying more money. Saying that though I don’t think we could afford to pay out that much, we went to the Longleat Festival of Lights last weekend and with tickets and food whilst there we probably spent about £120 which was a lot but didn’t feel too bad. I think like you said the option of paying full price for kids then £10 for parents is a good one. I think if we were earning a bit more and had that disposable income then I would without a doubt pay it though as it looks like you get such a great experience and sometimes paying half that to go somewhere crammed with people and too busy to see things properly means that you haven’t really had great value for money x
Honestly? If my daughter was five or six, instead of two, I’d be all over that place like an Elf-Suit rash. I’d save up for it. However, I have one child. If I had two or three, I’d have to save pretty hard. It looks absolutely magical. But I’d like to see it in two weeks time when it’s muddier, the snow is less freshly pressed, and the Elf World has been hammered a bit. If it’s still as pristine as the first day, then it’s definitely worth the money.
Lucky old Berkshire!
It looks and sounds amazing, especially Elf Village. Although it is expensive I would love to take my niece and nephew. And I’d like to see the reindeer!
It’s a toughie isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about this again this morning – Elfie will be 6 next year so potentially getting to the end of her ‘believing’ and I’d love to take her again. But then it hit me – what if it rained when we were there? We had a touch of drizzle on Sunday but rain would really make the whole experience quite different.
Bloody hell, this does look amazing, but nearly £300?! That is really expensive! There must be a market for it though I guess. I remember going to the opera once – I had paid £170 for my ticket – and seeing a family of four and thinking ‘Christ, I could go on a week long holiday for what you’ve just spent.’
We live in Berkshire and I’ve been hearing great things about it for ages. Your photos are beautiful and the whole thing sounds completely magical. I’m sure (assuming it stays in Ascot) we’ll visit it at some point, but the expense does mean that I’m not prepared to go until my little boy is old enough to really get the most out of it, and we’ll certainly have to save up to be able to go. He’s not even two yet though, so I think it’s a few years off for us.
It really does look wonderful and amazing for the children! However I just checked ticket prices and it would cost me £477 for my family this weekend. That’s what it cost me to take them to Disneyland Paris for 5 days including park tickets and travel! I agree with you, it sounds like it would be better value for money if you were allowed to wander around afterwards. I’m also surprised at the high price of the food given the cost of entry. I think pricing everything in “jingles” instead of £ might lead to children thinking they can have everything as its not real money. I do worry that a lot of these experiences are not thinking of it from the parents’ point of view!
I definitely couldn’t afford that! But I see what you mean about what you get for your money. I love the idea of the snowy landscape, that would definitely suck me in!
What a really honest post Alison. I read through your post marvelling at the photos (which are beautiful by the way) and thinking it sounded wonderful but then I got to the price! That is very expensive and I cannot justify spending that amount – especially when my daughter thinks that the PNP and seeing Father Christmas at Wookey Hole (which includes a circus performance and the caves) at £12 for kids and £18 for adults is just as magical.
18 years growing up in the Ascot environs, and all we had to entertain us was Coral Reef or the John Nike Ice Rink. Pfffft. Bitter, much?
This looks amazing, and I suspect it is priced for the local clientele (who are not short of a bob or two).
I think it looks amazing and I think for a one off thing it would be a truly magical experience for your kids. It actually looks really similar to what we got up to in actual Lapland (apart from the temp and the real snow) the Elves look great too x
OMG ALISON IT IS ADORABLE. I would absolutely LOVE to take the twins and their hypothetical siblings there next year when the twins at least might actually know what is going on… but I don’t think that I would be able to afford to, which is such a shame. I’d love to be able to treat my children to this sort of thing and I think that if I had just one it would be do-able… but I scuppered being the ‘minimalist’ sort of family in terms of small dependents when I had two in one go the first time round!
Beautiful, beautiful images.
Firstly, I didn’t know there was a UK Lapland. Secondly although when you look at the price it does seem expensive, I would say that what you are paying for is an experience that your child will remember for years to come. Isn’t that worth a little budgeting? We often spend so much on the plastic toys and stuff kids forget about within months of Christmas. But with UK Lapland they wont forget. My daughter is 11 now and I’m thinking I’ll take her there this Christmas 2016 because we’ll probably giggle our heads off and enjoy the memories when I’m old and gray and she’s a mommy.
Love this review!
Have been trying to find a balanced review of this place as the website makes it sound magical and enchanting but it is expensive! My little ones birthday is in December so it’s been on my mind to take him as he’s still young to think meeting Santa on your birthday would be cool. Some saving up to do I think!
Great post thanks!
This Looks and sounds amazing!! The price is very steep but as a one off experience I love to take my daughter who is nearly 3 years old do you think that’s to young? As I won’t be doing it every year at that price that’s for sure ha
Interestingly and more importantly!!!! The price has gone up 41% this year to £109 per person!!!- apparently they justify this by saying that they have scrapped booking fees although I see they are included on the site! And no longer charge for a photo with the big man himself but seriously – a price hike of £32 per person is crazy!
For our family if 5 it would be £545
It’s a shame that parents on a low income could never afford to take their children somewhere like this, even trying to budget I could never afford it, we looked at it would cost our family of four £400. I do think that they should have a cheaper option for us hardworking families never mind one day I will be rich and can treat my lovely children to this magical experiance.
We have just returned from Lapland UK. Yes it is expensive just before Christmas but we saved throughout the year to afford it. I can honestly say it was worth every penny. It is so well thought out and precision timed. To see their faces throughout the day was magical. Food is quite expensive but we took pasties and sausage rolls.
Just got back from there. It really is very beautiful, but charging the same price for adults as kids is surely extortionate – but they get away with it. I had a biscuit and a go on an ice rink for £85. My advice would be to visit Marsh Farm in Essex. Very similar experience at half the price or less
Thanks for this review & for your honesty. Lapland UK does look magical and I’m sure all who enter come away with the warmest of Christmas glows.
But I also think that the tickets are too high a price to pay. As a family of four our ticket prices + food is nudging £300. Hopefully the organisers will read and listen to enough reviews to rethink it’s pricing strategy moving forward.
Went there last year. Yes, it is expensive but the experience was magical and when we left, I did not feel short changed at all. Infact, I wondered how they could afford to run the place even on these prices! One point, I think it is important to ensure you are there when it gets dark because it really becomes pure Christmas what with all the fairy lights etc.
This looks amazing! And thank you for your review. This might seem like an obvious question, but is there real snow on the ground? We’re expats from the US living in London, and it’s never snowy here around Christmas! A lot of the excitement I feel, is from the snow!
Thanks for this, has made my decision £100 + an hour for some fake snow and santa is way too much and this is not value for money when you have 3 kids, in fact I am amazed anyone goes tbh.
That’s because you haven’t been
To all those complaints about the cost there are factors to keep in mind.
This place has only 6 weeks to turn a profit. They start building in September and have only a very short time to make good on the site after.
They have a huge staff, and cope with tens of thousands of people a day. It’s like hosting a premier league match every day.
The site is closed for upkeep at least one day a week for maintenance. This includes special effects teams respraying the entire site with “snow”. These are people used on film sets (James Bond etc) they are expensive, but very, very good. In the event of rain or high winds they may need to be brought in over night at additional cost.
Finally several days are allotted for “Superstar” days. On these days children with special needs/terminal/untreatable conditions and their carers are admired free of charge. This is done through charities/hospitals/hospices. On these days H.R. Has problems because everyone wants to work and get upset if they can’t.
Finally Lapland U.K. Does not make a profit from admissions, they cover costs alone.
How do I know this? I’m Father Christmas. The best Christmas I ever had was when I asked a little girl what she wanted for Christmas and she replied:
“I know I won’t be here next year, so I want all the animals to be safe and warm”
A Terrible place which has sadly missed the very sentiment of Christmas. I went last year and ended up spending well over £300 for two adults and a child.
No part of this’experience’ qualifies for the price tag – DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY. I have decided to instead save my money I would spend on this over the next four years and take my son to a deluxe and real Lapland instead! Whilst that will likely be overpriced I can swallow the costs in the knowledge its real.
2017 Review – What a difference a year makes. I decided last year, (where I had gone early in the morning) that it would be more magical experience to visit at dusk, so had booked a 3.30pm time slot. It was chaos. Admittedly it had snowed in UK overnight but this had been pre-warned and Ascot was mainly unaffected. It took over half an hour just to check in on arrival. Staff could not make up their minds which queues people should be in. No one seemed to have a clue what was going on, no desks were named (how difficult is it to print out directions for which line to queue in?) and management was invisible. There were only four staff on check in – they looked stressed and were arguing amongst themselves, gone were the bouncy, smiley elves from last year. I had to stop myself from trying to take control of the situation, which had a couple of obvious solutions, it was deeply frustrating. By the time we finally managed to check in, we were exhausted and the children grumpy. Thankfully then the magic began. The experience in itself is excellent. It is beautifully dressed and the acting cast members inject a lot of energy and effort. However, it had not changed much from last year, which is a shame as we almost knew the script and what was coming next. The children enjoyed their time making gingerbread cookies and stuffing the toys but it felt like they should be doing more tasks/ have at least one more elf experience before being left to own devices in elf village.
Our time slot for Father Christmas was 18:30 – this left us two whole hours in elf village. Far too much on a freezing cold night. We tried to get it changed to earlier but we were told that people were ‘stacking up’ from earlier time slots, so that it was not possible. Instead we had the joy of two hours in the shopping arena that is elf village full of overpriced food, sweets and toys. £4.50 or 4.5 Elf Jingles for a small cup of sweets, £6.50 or 6.5 Elf Jingles (see it sounds less in Jingles – I wonder how the Jingle will fare post Brexit!) – suddenly the experience felt very commercial. Having been last year I did not fall for the purchasing of Elf Jingles, instead I used credit card to pay – the great British Pound is not accepted! Finally, after a short stint on the ice rink (we spent longer queueing for the skates and getting our feet wet!) and at least an hour and a half of my daughter sounding like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory shouting “I want it Now” at every overpriced piece of tut it was 18:30. We made our way to the Husky herder to be shown to Father Christmas to be greeted by a queue of thirty other people all doing the same. ” Are we all going to see Father Christmas?” asked my daughter. It appeared so. After a slushy, muddy walk (don’t forget your wellies) through the beautifully lit forest, we arrived at another queue to check in to see Father Christmas. Fifteen minutes later we were finally called in, as were at least four other children who were taken in a different direction to see Father Christmas. At this point I wondered how long before my five year old children would stop believing in the big man, given that there appeared to be so many of them here?
Thankfully our jolly, engaging elf managed to deter the children from asking too many questions by bombarding them with questions of her own. She had to keep them talking for quite a while as we waited for the previous family to finish their chat with FC. She did a good job. Finally we had our time with the big man. He was super and almost made the whole stress of the day worthwhile. The children received the same gift as last year in a slightly different colour. I would love to say the overall experience was money well spent but at around £500 all in for the four of us, I think next year we will find better things to do with our money.
2016 Review – 5 star : A magical morning out, that would possibly been nicer at dusk but was wonderful all the same. It is a lot of money but you can see where every penny has been spent. My only word of advice to the organisers would be to allow more time for each activity or have more elves on hand to help parents who have come on their own with multiple young children.
Total rip off £120 for adults plus my poor daughter went on the ice rink and she fell the staff laughed at her shouting face plant didn’t help her up and now we are awaiting an operation to a broken nose. I emailed Lapland who didn’t even have the courtesy to reply AVOID this place like the plague. There are better and more value for money places around.