A few months ago I searched for the exact same phrase you’ve just entered into Google – ‘Lapland UK, is it worth the money?’ I couldn’t decide whether it was worth the £300+ it was going to cost to book the experience for my husband, our two boys and I.
My eldest son, 7 years old, has started this year to have serious doubts about Santa. He’s been asking a zillion questions about his magical abilities so my hubby and I decided to spend the most we’ve ever spent on an afternoon of entertainment, (roughly four hours) to try and restore his believe. So was it worth it?
What to expect – Lapland UK
There is absolutely no denying that Lapland UK is utterly magical. Thousands of snow covered trees, cheeky elves, sparkling lights and festive fun. My boys were captivated (and my eyes welled up with tears watching their reaction) from the moment we were greeted by an elf at check in. Their little faces when the elf thanked them for accepting Father Christmas’s invitation to visit him at his home is something I will remember forever.
Waxed sealed personal invitations had arrived through the post a few weeks prior, asking for their assistance in making toys for all the good children on his list. They had excitedly told their friends all about it during show and tell at school.
The elf at check in was absolutely lovely. Explaining to us about Jingles (the elf currency used at Lapland UK) and presented both of my boys with a velvet pouch to keep their Jingles safe. She handed out special passports whilst pointing out where to get them stamped after each festive activity and gave us copies of the Lapland newspaper.
We were then asked to join our fellow team mates ‘Reindeers’ to listen to an elf comically explain a little more about our important role whilst at Lapland. He led us through to an indoor fairy lit woodland den where two other elves told us the story of Lapland and let us into a secret, that every pine cone grows to become one of Father Christmas’s elves! My youngest sons eyes lit up when he heard this, you can guess what he has been searching for ever since?!
Next we were shown how to do the official elf wave… thumb on nose whilst wriggling fingers. The children in the audience seemed to love it, including my two giddy boys.
The exit doors were then opened wide to reveal snow covered paths flanked on each side by thick snow covered trees. Even though it was fake snow my eldest grabbed for his coat and quickly put it on, convinced that it was sub zero temperatures outside.
The path led us to a very realistic toy making factory to help make stuffed penguins and be entertained by the cheeky elf, Conkers.
We then went along to meet Mrs Christmas who read a festive story and invited all the children in the room to decorate a gingerbread man.
My youngest ate his immediately, my eldest son said he wanted to give his to Father Christmas! This must have been overheard by Mrs Christmas who very kindly asked all the children to enjoy eating their treat as her husband was getting rather heavy and she was worried that his sleigh wouldn’t fly on Christmas Eve night!
After saying goodbye to Mrs Christmas and her helpers we stepped into the Elf Village. It was truly like stepping into a Winter Wonderland.
A beautifully decorated village with dinky elf houses, festive stalls and an ice skating rink. Wandering around the village were elves, some playful and getting up to mischief, others enjoying having their photos taken with guests and a couple looking after their husky dogs.
My boys wanted to head straight to the village shop. I must admit my heart sank a little when I saw the products on display at the front entrance. The penguins which they had just been making in the toy factory, on sale for 25 Jingles (£25).
My boys straight away wanted to count out their jingles to see if they had enough money. I knew they didn’t as we had only exchanged 10 Jingles each and I also didn’t feel they were worth £25. To divert their attention we pointed out the ice skating rink and within a few minutes we were on the ice, trying out ice skating together for the first time.
We had 90 minutes free time in the village. This was plenty of time to ice skate, call into the village post office (you can send postcards with a Lapland stamp for £2), pop in the sweet shop (cup of sweets £4.50) and enjoy a drink (cans £2, hot drinks £3-4).
It was then our time to go and meet Father Christmas. My boys were running down the snow covered, fairy lit paths, they were so excited. After checking out Father Christmas’s sleigh and saying hello to his reindeers we made our way inside a wooden cabin.
Whilst my boys and I took a seat my hubby checked us in (and an elf discreetly checked that Santa had all of the boys personal details to make their meeting with him extra special).
Within a couple of minutes (like every part of our day at Lapland UK the organisation of the activities was flawless), an elf called out my boys names and we were off walking excitedly down more magical paths.
We had a lovely long chat with Father Christmas who looked and sounded exactly as you picture him as a child . My boys were absolutely in awe that he knew they had been poorly and recently been in the school nativity play. He chatted about all of their hobbies, seemed genuinely thrilled with the letters and pictures they gave him and made us all laugh when he asked us to leave out a few treats on Christmas Eve night. (He requested a full roast dinner, mince pies, hot chocolate and carrots for the reindeer!)
My boys were absolutely delighted with the husky dogs that he presented them with. They quickly named them and literally skipped down the paths towards the exit excitedly talking about their chat with Father Christmas.
I’ll be honest I didn’t like the pushy sales techniques used next. There is only one way out of Lapland UK and that’s through the gift shop. No surprises here really, as every attraction does the same but I thought it was rather bad form that as soon as you enter the gift shop there’s a huge display of husky accessories… dog collars (£4), dog bowls (£5), dog blankets (£10), small huskies, bigger huskies, a whole range of outfits for the huskies… I could go on! It’s a shame because this did leave a rather stale taste in my mouth but of course my boys didn’t notice… they were too busy picking out their dogs collar and bowls!
Summary: Lapland UK – Is it worth the money?
Apart from the pushiness to sell penguins and husky accessories we loved our time at Lapland UK. It is truly magical and as close as you can possibly get to visiting the real Lapland. It is an undeniably expensive four-hour experience however, after having been there, I can see where the money is spent creating the temporary Elf village/toy factory/Mrs Christmas’s kitchen etc and employing the many actors who all add to the magical experience. For us, it’s an experience we are so pleased that we had whilst our boys are young however we couldn’t justify the cost of visiting again.
We paid just over £300, £75 per person (plus postage, souvenirs, drinks and travel). We visited on the first Thursday in December which was classed as an off peak session. Weekend sessions and those closer to Christmas I believe cost £100 per person.
Friends have asked the questions below about Lapland UK so I thought you may find the answers below useful too…
What is the best age to enjoy Lapland UK?
I feel my boys were the right ages to both enjoy it together (4 & 7). I couldn’t justify spending this sort of money when they were younger to be honest as they wouldn’t fully appreciate it, or be able to take part in all of the activities (ice skating, etc). There were people there with babies but I think it’s a waste of money with little ones who would enjoy a regular Santa’s Grotto just as much.
What is included in the cost of a ticket to Lapland UK
And just to quickly summarise as I know I looked for this info prior to us going and I couldn’t easily find it.
Included in the cost of your Lapland UK ticket from start to finish is – A Lapland passport to keep as a souvenir, stickers, Lapland newspaper, gingerbread man (which you get to decorate), ice skating and skate hire, chance to meet and have photos taken (with your own camera) all the roaming elves and characters in the village, personal session with Father Christmas (ours must have been 15 minutes long, we were not rushed at all). A lovely husky dog stuffed toy (I believe all children are given the same toy). One x high quality photograph with Father Christmas (you can pay an extra £20/£25 for more copies printed or a digital package. They allow you to take your own photos when you are in with Santa too). Complimentary car parking.
Things you pay extra for at Lapland UK
Drinks and food (which we felt were rather expensive). Refreshments are available in the reception area when you first check in and also in the village during free time. Souvenirs in the gift shops. Post cards and stamps in the post office.
I hope this helps you decide whether or not to visit Lapland UK. If I’ve missed anything and you have questions please pop them below and I’ll try to help:)
Where is Lapland UK?
Address – Swinley Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 8BD
Website – https://www.laplanduk.co.uk
For more Father Christmas reviews check out Visiting Santa at Clearwell Caves, Forest of Dean, Visiting Santa at Cotswold Farm Park, Gloucestershire, 30+ Christmas events in Gloucestershire inc. best places to see Santa.
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