Hidden away in an underground cavern in the Finnish region of Lapland is a not-so-secret winter wonderland that Santa Claus himself calls home. The SantaPark in Lapland’s capital city of Rovaniemi is where the scent of gingerbread lingers in the air, elves tinker away at toys and the bearded head honcho listens patiently to each child’s Christmas wish.
Every year, families flood the SantaPark for unforgettable Christmas fun. And though it’s in the Arctic Circle, Lapland is much closer – and reachable – than you think. Thomson even offers day trips to Lapland that start with an airplane greeting from Santa’s elves and from there, the Christmas magic only dials up with Santa Claus meet-and-greets and sleigh rides. It’s a holiday whirlwind in which you’ll be happy to get caught up.
Visiting Santa’s homebase is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’ll keep you on the big man’s nice list for years to come. There’s no one way to spend a day with Santa, but here are some festive activities you won’t want to miss.
Meet Santa Claus
You can’t leave the SantaPark without having visited Santa Claus. Hidden away in his office sits the jolly old man, where he prepares for the upcoming Christmas season by candlelight. Children are invited to hop onto his lap and tell him their greatest Christmas wish. They’ll even get a little toy on the spot from the big guy himself.
Enrol in Elf School
It takes a lot of hard work to be one of Santa’s elves. There are toys to make and presents to wrap, not to mention keeping the whole of Santa’s workshop ticking. At Santa’s Elf School, kids and adults alike can pick up elf skills and secrets from Elfology experts, and even learn a little Elfish. Pass the course, and you’ll get an official Elf School Certificate.
Cool off in the Ice Gallery and Ice Bar
Step into this snow palace and you’ll find yourself in seriously chilly territory, thanks to the Ice Princess and the ice sculptures decorating this shiver-worthy gallery. You’ll want to bundle up as you wander through the icy halls, but don’t forget to pick up a cool drink from the Ice Bar, as they’re served in handmade ice glasses.
Send a letter from the Elves’ Post Office
Here’s where holiday postcards are taken to a whole new level. The Elves’ Post Office isn’t run by Royal Mail but by elves’ magic. When you send cards from this little post office, each letter will be marked by a special stamp and delivered wherever you want. You can even stock up and have them sent for next Christmas.
Decorate biscuits with Mrs Claus
Follow the scent of gingerbread and you’ll inevitably end up at Mrs Claus’s kitchen, where sugary dreams come to life. While Santa Claus packs up for Christmas, Mrs Claus bakes a mean set of Christmas gingerbread biscuits that elves in training are welcome to help decorate. And word to the wise – there’s mulled wine too, sure to bring rosiness to your chilly cheeks.
Get artsy in the Elf Workshop
The best Christmas decorations are handmade ones. Cue the Elf Workshop – a hub for Christmas arts and crafts, where you can unleash your creativity. And if you aren’t yet a Grade A decoration-maker, the elves are on standby to give you a hand.
Take a magic sleigh ride
Aboard a magic sleigh, you’ll be whisked through the winter wonderland that is Santa’s workshop. Passing animal characters and Santa’s helpers, you’ll eventually end up at the Toy Factory and see the elves’ hard at work for their upcoming haul.
Are you ready to have some serious winter fun and meet the big man himself? Book a trip to Lapland to experience SantaPark for yourself.