10 Top Tips on How to Make The Most Of Your Visit to LaplandUK
We were fortunate enough to be gifted tickets to LaplandUK this year in exchange for a full and honest account of our experience. Having visited last year, the LaplandUK experience was completely new to us. The year before that, I promised myself that I would take the girls to LaplandUK after seeing my friend Mary at My Model Mummy‘s photos from her visit. I was totally wowed by the whole experience and couldn’t wait to take the girls.
LaplandUK started in Wadhurst, not far from where I used to live in Tunbridge Wells, and my one of my best friends used to live in Wadhurst – it’s quite nice to know something so successful was born out of a tiny village I once knew. It was founded by Alison and Mike – parents to four children including twins. Mike and Alison have done something no one else has done and they have gifted us all with the opportunity to experience Christmas in a way that I have never seen before in the UK.
Christmas is an important time of year for us as a family and even more so since the girls arrived into the world. Each year, we practice our Christmas Traditions and enjoy the festive season as much as we possibly can. Creating that magical experience for the girls is always on the top of my list over everything else. It has to be as magical as I can make it for them and this year, is probably going to be the most magical yet. We kicked off our Christmas journey with a visit to LaplandUK 25th November. Sure, it would have been ideal to go in December (it was an option) but we are fully booked right up until we head off for our skiing holiday. So, essentially, the timing was perfect for us and what a way to kick off the celebrations.
Having been before, I was keen to see if they made any changes and to my delight they did. The invites arrived in a newly designed box with newly designed invites inside and the letters differed slightly from last year. The thing I mention the most about LaplandUK is the incredible attention to detail. They leave no stone unturned.
I didn’t tell the girls until the day before because I had to explain that we needed to get to bed early. Running up to the night before, I did tell them they had a huge surprise in store. On the eve of our visit, I got them to close their eyes, open their hands and I placed their invites in their hands. They knew what it was straight away and their reactions were priceless. Lot’s of jumping up and down screeching with joy. Chanting… “LaplandUK, LaplandUK.”
I felt a lot more prepared this time, as last year I didn’t really know what to expect. I felt a lot calmer and knowing what I knew, made me feel more relaxed about the day. So if you haven’t been to LaplandUK, read my top tips before you go.
10 Top Tips on How to Make The Most Of Your Visit to LaplandUK
Everyone claims, book early to avoid disappointment don’t they? But honestly, book early for LaplandUK. Each year that passes, the more popular it gets. You can book as early as January and grab yourself the early bird tickets from as little as £65 per person – saving you up to £80 for a family of 4. Early bird tickets are limited to specific days or you can book standard tickets and chose your day. The closer to Christmas Eve, the more expensive and they do have a premium ticket options which start at £190 per person. Either way, if you plan to visit LaplandUK, book as soon as you can.
Pre Buy Jingles
Jingles are LaplandUK currency and for every GBP you get one Jingle. You can pre-buy on the website or buy jingles when you arrive – we pre book as they are all ready and prepared for you when you check in. Take into consideration there is a restaurant, bauble shop, sweetie shop, gift shops and extra photos with Father Christmas. We took £70 and had a little spare change left but it will depend on what you want to buy. The main gift shop “Elf Emporium” has a lot of wonderful gifts inside from cuddly toys to dress up outfits. Note: If you run out of jingles, you can purchase more at the gift shop right at the end or if you end up with leftover jingles, they will happily exchange them back to GBP for you.
Personalise Your Experience
Ensure you personalise your experience before you arrive. Via the website, you can add your children’s full names and personalise their visit with Father Christmas by providing details such as favourite activity, toys, person etc. This information is used when your child meets Father Christmas and makes it even more magical. The girls are always stunned he knows so much about them. It’s also a chance to make sure you flag if you have been before, as they will make sure your gift from Father Christmas is different from previous years.
Arrive with around 20 minutes to spare. This will give you time to get used to the surroundings, grab a cuppa, pastry and relax after the drive. It’s also a chance to spend a penny but don’t be alarmed as there are toilets in the Elf Village and another toilet available near the Toy Factory.
Arrival check in: You will need to check in at the entrance. It’s also a nice idea to get the kids involved as the elves check you in adding to the whole experience. They are allocated an Elf Passport where they have to collect stamps throughout their journey. This time, we were given an activity book per child and an elf badge (pin) per child as we were returning visitors. This is also where you collect your jingles.
To get the best images for your visit, I would say visit during the day. Last year our slot was 2 pm and it got dark quite quickly. Which made it super magical walking up to Father Christmases lodge. However, I did struggle to get decent images as there wasn’t any natural light. This time around, we had lots of wonderful natural light and it was dusky when we headed to Father Christmas. We were on the 11 am tour and each tour last 4 hours. It depends on what your expectations are. It was amazing to experience both. You can still get amazing pictures of the day it’s just tricker when you get to the Elf Village. As part of the experience, you have gifted a photo with Father Christmas which an elf professionally takes. You can order more as they take around 4 in total. We always buy extra – I get one of the girls and then one of us as a family. They are presented with a cover and this year the extra were presented in a scrapbook.
Elf Restaurant provides lots of tables and chairs to sit down and eat. There are drinks and food available. Prices aren’t too bad either. They had a menu this year which they didn’t last year but do have options to order off the menu if you didn’t like what was available. They even had a vegan dish which I didn’t notice until after – but it was great to see this option offering something for everyone. They also have children’s portions too. You need to pay in jingles, so worth bearing in mind if you decide to eat there. As well as the restaurant there was a hot dog stand and head Elven Tea Rooms – plenty of refreshments for everyone. Plus there is the Pixie Mixie sweet shop for any sweet tooths out there.
Sadly, we haven’t managed to get on the ice. The girls only recently went on their first ice skating experience and it gets very busy on the ice at LaplandUK. Having said that, they do monitor skating times to ensure everyone has the opportunity to skate and waiting times are around 3 minutes or less. Hopefully, next year when the girls are more confident, we will finally skate at LaplandUK. But if your smalls aren’t keen skaters, there is plenty to do in the Elf village. We opted for something to eat, shopping, buying sweeties, saying hello to Rudolf, cuddles with the Huskies and posting letters to Father Christmas.
Letters to Father Christmas
A superb opportunity to get your child to write their letter to Father Christmas. The Elf Post Office provides your child with the chance to write a letter to Father Christmas and get it sealed and stamped by an elf. You can also get your passport stamped here too as part of the experience. Once your letter has been sealed and stamped, your child then posts it in the letterbox ready to be delivered to Father Christmas.
There are plenty of opportunities to stock up on your LaplandUK Christmas loot either from the gift shop in the Elf Village, the bauble shop or the gift shop at the very end after visiting Father Christmas. The children are gifted with a gorgeous gift from Father Christmas but I usually buy them something else too.
Whilst the majority of the tour is inside, there is quite a lot to experience outside. Indoor areas are heated and it’s ideal to wear layers so that you are comfortable inside and but can easily add layers like a jacket or Gillet for when you are outside. We didn’t take gloves or hats but it’s worth taking a hat in case (just check the weather before you leave). A good pair of walking boots or wellies depending on the weather is essential as it may be muddy in places but mainly it’s snowy so you don’t want to get cold tootsies. I dress the girls in a long sleeve top, tee over the top and then a Gillet or jacket, walking boots and leggings.
The big question everyone asks is… “Is LaplandUK worth the money?” In my personal opinion, 110%. If you are fans of Christmas, then this is the best place to be in the UK for an experience like no other. Standard cost is between £65-£85, with premium tickets costing £190+ per person. What you get for that price is a longlasting, magical family adventure experience full of wonderful memories. The attention to detail is incredible, they really do think of absolutely everything. If I had to really think of something negative to say, it would be that the ice skating would be better if it was limited and timed. I’m not sure if it is as we haven’t explored it. It would have been too stressful for the girls but it didn’t dampen the experience whatsoever though. There is so much to do and each activity from start to finish was perfect.
Check out our photo galleries below – we took lots of pictures to capture the day from start to finish. We hope you enjoy them. Plus a Christmassy video of our experience.