Hello my lovelies,
For some years I’ve been hearing about this magical place in Whitmoor Forest, Berkshire where elves and Father Christmas invite children to help them prepare for Christmas. I’d heard it was the most wondrous place where Christmas dreams come true so I was thrilled to get an early invitation to buy tickets. Frequented by the likes of Sir Elton John, Idres Elba and other stars, there was no way I was letting this golden opportunity to see the inner workings of Father Christmas’ magical world slip through our fingers.
Missy (aged 7) received her personalized invitation in the post and it was left for her at our Harry Potter themed North Pole Breakfast in a pile of snow. I knew she’d never be able to contain herself if we gave her the invitation days before so it was given to her on the morning that we went.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (really only an hour’s drive) we arrived at Lapland UK and parked in the Owl parking lot. All the lots are named after animals with clearly marked and fairy light lit paths to help you remember where you parked.
We were greeted with this gorgeous little cottage which belonged to Eeko the elf. Already you get a sense of the kind of fantastic detail spread throughout Lapland. Every detail from the sledges, carved stags and gently lit lanterns added to the magic. Everywhere you looked there was some tiny bit of interest that made you feel as though you were really in Father Christmas’ home town.
Of course, Missy had to have a photo outside a real elf’s house. Little did she know we’d see lots of elf folk homes during our visit.
The elves at reception greeted us with a traditional elf greeting and checked us in.
Here I bought elf jingles the currency of Lapland which came in a red velour bag emblazoned with the word Lapland.
Missy was also given an Elf passport and a complimentary pin of Wish the elf. I loved that the massive books at reception hid a clever touch screen computer. Once again, the details made something as dull as check in seem magical.
After we checked in, we waited at a picnic table and took in the magic around us. On the opposite side to the reception desk was a cafe selling a selection of cafe type foods and coffees including gluten free and vegan offerings. Prices were what you’d expect from an upmarket cafe.
Our tour was due for 2 pm and two elves gave us a short introduction talk about what we could expect before leading us through the doorway into the the magic wood. If I ever have a massive house one day, remind me that I want a wall of cases like this!
In the magic wood, we were led to seating around a magical tree. The excitement was almost too much for some of the children who couldn’t quite wait to see what would happen next.
We were greeted by Sage
the woodland elves who told us all about Lapland and how Father Christmas, a simple wood cutter became the legend he is today – due to a little elf magic of course. We were introduced to our herders who split us into two teams. We were put into team husky and given a cute husky sticker to help us remember.
The first stop on our journey was to the toy making workshop where the children got to help the elves finish stuffing some toys for Father Christmas. Due to an increase in demand, the elves were behind and the children we special helpers who helped the elves get back on track.
Once again, the details were superb.
Missy with Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Missy and Wish the elf
We decided that the trees were covered with magical never-melt snow and were surprised that it was actually cold to the touch!
Next we were ushered to Mother Christmas’ bakery. There was so much to see. Each nook and cranny had some tiny detail or point of interest. Including a self-stirring pot on the stove!
Mother Christmas chatted to the children about Lapland and Father Christmas. They were also introduced to the baking elves.
The children were shown to the tables where they got to decorate gingerbread Christmas trees. I informed the office after I’d booked about Missy’s intolerances and they were every so helpful with providing a dairy free gingerbread Christmas tree and appropriate sweeties.
Missy was the first to finish decorating her gingerbread and got selected to ring the story time bell. She felt very special!
Mother Christmas read the children a story and then gave them a message for Father Christmas. The children had earned their golden elf bells for their help in the toy workshop. We were told these could be collected from the Elf Emporium in the Elven Village.
I can’t tell you how magical the village was. Missy was enthralled!
The first elf we met was Pixie Mixie who owns the sweet shop. Missy was taken with her and particularly liked her costume.
I adore a nutcracker and this one outside the Elf Emporium was taller than me!
Each shop had two entrances, one for Big Folk and one for Small Folk which Missy was determined to use at every opportunity.
She was so excited to have earned her golden elf bell and couldn’t stop jingling it…
much to my annoyance! Of course, we had to buy an elf hat to attach our elf bell to. I was quite impressed with the Elf Emporium in terms of content. There was a huge selection of good quality toys and games. Even a homewares section that had some gorgeous scandi style decorations.
I can’t describe the level of detail in the elf village. It was pure magic.
There was so much to do. We petted Amber and Star the Huskies…
We ice skated around a gorgeous snow covered Christmas tree to carols being sung merrily in the background.
I was so impressed with the ice skates and how everything was geared towards families. There were the usual ice skates for adults and children could choose from the same type as the adults or clip on double bladed ones that made skating easier. Stability penguins were provided to help the children feel more confident. I should also mention that there were 3 ice wardens dressed in red patrolling the ice to help those who needed it.
After we’d skated we visited Post office to write a letter to Father Christmas and post it in the magical post boxes.
On our way round the shops in the Elven Village we met Compass and Bauble and had a little chat.
While there was an elf restaurant, they also had a take away stall in the middle of the village where you could get traditional German bratwurst sausage on a roll that would set you back about £6. The tea room sold a wide selection of cakes and hot drinks.
My favourite shop was Bauble’s Christmas decoration shop where you could buy an official Lapland UK painted with each of the elves for £15 or buy a personalised bauble for £10.
At Pixie Mixie’s we filled a cup with dairy free sweeties which were kindly pointed out to us by Pixie Mixie herself and paid £4.50. Missy excited by the sweeties while I goggled at the gorgeous displays.
Once we’d enjoyed everything the Elven Village had to offer, we made our way through toward’s Ambolt’s forge where, just outside Father Christmas’ reindeer waited to greet us.
Then, we got to see Father Christmas’ actual sleigh!
There was also an opportunity to buy Santa key’s, reindeer food and reindeer (horse) shoes. I completely regret not buying one!
From here we checked in to see Father Christmas. While Missy and Mr R waited and scoped out Compass’ office I went to the check in desk and double checked the details Father Christmas had for Missy.
After only a three minute wait, an elf led us along a frosty path to Father Christmas’ cabin where we waited to be seen. Missy was so excited she could barley sit still.
Upon entering, Father Christmas greeted us by name and Missy could hardy speak she was so in awe of the magical man.
Father Christmas praised her on doing well in her Literacy work recently and commented on her upcoming karate grading. She couldn’t believe he remembered so much about her life. He pronounced that she was on the good list and presented her with a plush husky.
After our chat with Father Christmas, we headed back towards the Forest and collected our complimentary photo (above) and had the opportunity to buy a scrapbook of our experiences in Lapland for £20. It would include, all of the pictures taken with Father Christmas. We browsed the gift shop which had different items to the Elf Emporium. I particularly loved the ‘build-a-bear’ type costumes and accessories for the plush husky.
Lapland UK is honestly the Disney of Christmas. Every item and activity besides the food and souvenirs is included in the price which, in my opinion is worth every penny. There was nothing that I could find fault with or would consider changing. It was a well thought out, perfectly fabulous experience that has made the run up to Christmas very special for us.
We heartily recommend Lapland UK and hope to visit again next year.