Sunday, 29 November 2015

Lapland UK 2015 - This Surrey Mummy's Review

Charlie is finally at that age where he is getting Christmas and I mean really getting Christmas. I kid you not the child will watch Arthur Christmas at any given chance and he is fascinated daily by the arrival of our elf in residence Jack Tingle.

We were very lucky to be invited to visit Lapland UK and this morning with John Lennon, The Pogues and good old Chris Rea on the Spotify playlist, we headed twenty minutes down the M3 to Whitmoor Forest in Ascot. The boys were dressed head toe in festive attire kindly given to them by our friends at Next clothing and they really looked ready for Christmas!

Lapland UK is set in the heart of the Whitmoor Forest and all the action is set in the "enchanted forest". The entrance to this magical land is approached by a rather muddy winding path so be warned if you visit, bring your wellies!

The entrance tent really sets the scene, dimly lit with fairy lights and a beautiful earthy smell. The tent was warm from heaters which was a blessing as it was bitterly cold today. We checked in and were met by one of the enchanted forest's elves who issued us with our Elf passport. We then exchanged our human money for "Jingles" which are special elf currency. This is quite fun and really adds an air of authenticity. We exchanged £30 for 30J. What I was surprised at was that whatever Jingles you did not use you were able to exchange back into human money but naturally how many Jingles do you think we had left at the end? Exactly none. So Jingles in hand, we were then assigned groups. We were in the husky group and were each given stickers with a big husky footprint stamped on it.

We were met by a couple of elves who lead us through to the start of our adventure. The warm tent was turned into a woodland stage and the smell of fresh wood and pine that filled the air made you feel like you had been transported into a wood straight out of a Shakespeare's Midsummers Dream. 

Here we met the oldest elf in the wood. Now, as elves go he was brilliant, in fact all of the "elves" were brilliant, the event organisers have clearly taken time to cast expert actors as these guys and girls were very good and they genuinely made you believe they were elves. After being told the story of where elves come from, you know they come from pine cones that are wrapped in wool and the an elf grows from it, well of course you do, we are met by our husky leader who led us all the way to Father Christmas' toy factory. 

What is very apparent from the first ten minutes of observation is that it is not a cheap and nasty experience. Quality is very much at the centre here. The buildings are solid and tastefully decorated and the attention to detail is second to none. Here at the toy factory Charlie helped make reindeer stuffed toys and also a wooden walking horse. After he had helped his elf passport was stamped and we made our way to Mother Christmas' kitchen. 

We followed the windy snowy path all the way down to Mother Christmas' kitchen and we knew it could not be far as we could smell the sweet scent of gingerbread in the air. Mother Christmas welcomed us into her kitchen where all the tables were laid out with gingerbread decorations for the children to do and festive jumpers were kept squeaky clean with the help of aprons and chefs hats! 

Our husky heard leader then sent us in the direction of the "Elf Village" where we had just over an hour and twenty minutes to amuse ourselves. The elf village is great and there is certainly lots to do. 

One of the main attractions is the ice rink where small folk and big folk can try their hand at ice skating, something that Charlie has been desperate to do, and there is no additional cost for this activity. 

Here we also met Amber one of the resident husky dogs, sent postcards to our loved ones from Lapland UK (1Jingle each), wrote our letter to Father Christmas, we also visited the sweet shop to stock up on some sweet treats and browsed the gift shop.

By this time we were starting to get peckish and went in search of some food. There are two places to get food. One is a kiosk selling hot bratwurst, hot chocolates and coffees and the main restaurant where we chose to eat. Food is what you would expect from a busy attraction but refreshingly it was not a rip off. We had Swedish meatballs, mash and gravy, an adults fish finger sandwich, a children's fish finger sandwich and two drinks and it came to just over £20. 

After lunch the time had come that Charlie had been waiting for. We were off to meet the main man himself Father Christmas. We followed the windy path towards Father Christmas' wooden house passing his wooden sleigh and also his reindeer!

Here we were met by more elves who checked us in and also checked (without Charlie listening) that the information we had provided them was up to date. Prior to today, we had to update via the event website information on Charlie so as to make the experience more believable. 

Father Christmas' was a jolly old soul. Warm and welcoming with more than enough "ho ho ho" and also a remarkable beard, extra points for his rounded tummy too! Here he greeted Charlie and Hector and proceeded to have a good old chat with them. I will never forget the look on Charlie's face when he asked where Buddy was? It was a picture. Father Christmas knew that a Lego policeman station was top of the list and also that he is due to be a sheep in the nativity - Charlie was speechless and his face was beaming with excitement! Father Christmas thanked them for all their help and rewarded them with a husky dog cuddly toy for Charlie and an elf for Hector. After a good ten minutes of chatting and gift exchange it was photo time! Now whilst you are not allowed to take any photos inside you can video the meet and greet should you so wish, we were just enjoying watching him so decided against taping it. The photographs were £15 each with the added bonus of having the image to download at home. Obviously we shall be turning ours in to the Webb Christmas card 2015 coming to a letter box near you soon!

In summary, wow what a place. It's not cheap and it is by far the most expensive Christmas experience around in the UK at this time with prices starting from £49.50 up to £89.50 per person but compared to having to travel to the real Lapland it's a snip! You cannot deny it, it is magical and as a once in a lifetime experience it is definitely a must for the small folk in your life. Obviously, with Hector being so small we shall have to wait a couple of years to take Hector back but for Charlie I really hope that he remembers this for a long time to come. 

We would like to thank the event organisers for inviting us to Lapland UK, we enjoyed every minute of it, it's a very very special place and the Webb family are now most definitely feeling Christmassy and festive.

Big love,

This Surrey Mummy x

Lapland UK kindly gifted us a family ticket to the above experience but the views in the review are entirely my own. 

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