Lapland UK v Lapland – compare and contrast!!

Back in 2006, when we just had our 2 eldest kids, we took them to Lapland, along with one of my sisters and her family. Now we’ve added two more children to the Price family – we felt that they ought to have the same experience, so we looked at going to Lapland again this year. However, my sister had to visit Lapland UK for work last year (the first year of it operating in Ascot) and said it was brilliant – and like being in Lapland itself – so we thought we’d give it a go!

So here you have our thoughts on Lapland UK v Lapland!!!

1. The Price. This has to be a major consideration. Now Lapland UK is not cheap (we paid £79.50 per ticket – children and adults the same.) But this is a fraction of what we would have paid to take a family of 6 to Lapland with flights / hotels / food etc. We went to Lapland itself with First Choice (who have now moved all of their Lapland trips over to their sister brand Thomson) and everything was included – flights, transfers, accommodation, food, cold weather clothing and consequently it cost thousands. Also, it may have changed in 8 years, but we went for the most expensive hotel we could find in Lapland and it was still fairly basic!

2. Timings. When we went to Lapland we did the 3 day tour. This was great as we could fit loads in – but there did also seem to be a lot of hanging about too. Having said that, I think a 1 day trip to Lapland would be exhausting! Lapland UK was a 3.5 hour experience (although we did get there super early having whizzed down the M40 from Birmingham to Ascot – but there were colouring activities and coffee and cake to entertain us all before going through at our allocated time.) I think such a trip has to be done near to the Big Day itself – and spending a few hours is much easier at this busy time of year than a few days.

Waiting to go into Lapland
Waiting to go into Lapland UK

3. Activities. A lot of the activities are the same – making toys, decorating gingerbread, and meeting Father Christmas

Gingerbread decorating in 2006
Gingerbread decorating in 2006
Concentrating much more at 11 than 3!
Concentrating much more at 11 than 3!
Serious gingerbread decorating
Serious gingerbread decorating
Gingerbread decorating
More gingerbread decorating

– but there were things we did on the snowy plains in Lapland (husky sled riding, snowmobile riding, reindeer sleigh rides, skiing) that aren’t replicated in Lapland UK.

In a Lappish tent in 2006
In a Lappish tent in 2006

There was, however, ice skating – and at no extra cost (which I was impressed by!) – and we were able to meet a husky (real) and a reindeer (person dressed up!) as well as look at some real reindeer too.

I just love skating!!
I just love skating!!
Skating fun!!
Skating fun!!

4. Food. In Lapland we ate A LOT of reindeer! On pizza, as steak, in bolognaise. I don’t recall having it for breakfast – but we probably did!! This was particularly disturbing for the children who weren’t happy at eating Rudolph, thankfully they couldn’t read at that stage so we could lie about the menu!!

At Lapland UK there was a coffee shop in the waiting area before you go in (pretty pricey – but good quality) and then a snack bar once you were in the Village Square. After we’d eaten bratwurst and drunk gluhwein (hot chocolate for the kids!) we found there was also a restaurant (that could have been sign posted better!!)

Hot chocolate (not gluhwein - honest!)
Hot chocolate (not gluhwein – honest!)

5. Meeting Father Christmas. This was done brilliantly at Lapland UK. I suspect there was more than one FC (shhhhhhhh!) – but you weren’t aware of this, as the house we went to was hidden in the depths of the forest – and then you walked back out through the reindeer pen (and shop, obviously!)  Father Christmas really knew his stuff – about what the children had been up to recently, what presents they wanted etc (all completed via the website before you go – shhhhhhhhh again!) There was no queuing, it was all very slick. I remember waiting for ages to see FC in Lapland, and then he could barely communicate!

All seeing Father Christmas back in 2006
All seeing Father Christmas back in 2006
With the lovely huskie presents
With the lovely huskie presents

6. The staff. From the elves, through the reindeer and husky herders, to Mother and Father Christmas themselves – all of the staff at Lapland UK were excellent – and obviously spoke perfect English.

Checking the lists!
Checking the lists!

One of the problems we found with Lapland was that FC himself could barely converse with the children and some of the other staff were definitely holiday reps rather than performers. Everyone at Lapland UK was performing their role with great pride. Having said that, the husband still reminisces fondly about our Elf in Lapland – Candy Cane – who was a very pretty Scandinavian girl………

7. The weather. When we went to Lapland it was cold. The coldest I have ever been in my entire life – about minus 20.

All wrapped up from the cold
All wrapped up from the cold in 2006

Real ‘don’t breathe through your nose it will all freeze shut’ type of cold! You are provided with clothing – but it is still bitter (and you spend half your life stripping off or putting clothes on when you go in and out of places!) Obviously you don’t get that at Lapland UK – well, unless it’s particularly freaky UK weather! We were blessed with a gloriously sunny day – and I suspect that some of the outside areas, walking through the forests / the village square / ice skating – would be much less fun in British drizzle – but it was perfect for our visit.

Walking through the forest to meet Father Christmas
Walking through the forest to meet Father Christmas
In the forest!
In the forest!

The forests and areas you walk through are all dusted in ‘snow’ but obviously you don’t get the metres of snow to play in – but for snow-hating me, that’s a definite plus for staying in the UK!!

Conclusion
There have been lots of horror stories in the press about places in the UK trying to replicate Lapland and failing miserably – leaving lots of disappointed families in the run up to Christmas. Well, I can safely say that Lapland UK is not like this at all – and delivers on all levels. The quality of the buildings / displays / outfits / people / gifts / professional photos / even the toilets are all amazing. We don’t mind spending money on a day out if it is worth it – and this most definitely is.

Family Price!
Family Price!

We would thoroughly recommend Lapland UK to anyone wanting an impressive festive experience for a fraction of the price of a trip to Lapland. Although having looked back at our photos of Lapland – maybe we will need to go again next year………..

This is not a sponsored post – we paid full price to go to both of the Laplands!!

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