With Katie Impey of
It’s almost Christmas! And what better way to get the little ones ready than with a magical trip to Lapland!? Katie Impey takes us on a tour of her favourite places to go, activities to get involved in and tasty treats to feast upon!
As bucket list moments go, visiting Lapland has always been up there, ever since I was a child myself. I knew it would be a once in a lifetime experience so the timing had to be just right. This year, when my eldest daughter Isabella turned 8 and my youngest, Lottie, turned 3, I knew this was the perfect opportunity.
As with all trips, I’d done quite a bit of research and discovered an incredible hotel called the Arctic Tree House in an area called Rovaniemi, Finland, with glass fronted pods overlooking a snow capped forest. It was stylish, most definitely insta-worthy and also conveniently located next to Santa Park and a 10 minute drive from Rovaniemi airport.
The hotel staff were also super helpful organising several excursions, including the main event – meeting Santa! Now, Lapland can get pretty cold, -15C at times!!! So having the right clothing is absolutely vital, and that couldn’t be more apparent as we touched down in Rovaniemi which was blanketed in meters and meters of fresh snow! Thankfully Alex and Alexa have an incredible range of stylish and practical winter wear from an amazing selection of brands, ensuring the girls were covered from head to toe, literally. Starting with base layers, I opted for a selection from Kuling, Poivre Blanc and Patagonia – especially loving the retro style print from the Patagonia range.
For outerwear we layered over salopettes from Poivre Blanc and I decided to invest in coats from Moncler, which in addition to being super stylish, are waterproof and incredibly warm; having got them earlier in the year, the girls have already had so much wear out of them, but they really came into their own in the sub zero temperatures. Then the obligatory moonboots in the coolest metallic colourway which the girls loved and I just had to order for myself in the adults version! I also read that mittens are much more effective at keeping little hands warm so we had white mittens from Poivre Blanc and fairisle knit hats from Barts to complete the look.
On arrival we were greeted by a roaring fire and warm spiced juice (a Finnish speciality) before being whisked off for our first adventure – meeting Santa’s reindeer! Sieriporro is a family run Reindeer farm and the oldest in Rovaniemi. After a short introduction we were led to our waiting carriage – a reindeer pulled sleigh! Riding through the snowy forest, snuggled under blankets, with the sounds of bells jingling, truly is what Christmas dreams are made of!
We returned just as dusk was setting and after a long day of travelling & excitement, we were absolutely exhausted; this was heightened by it turning completely pitch black by 3pm so we decided on an early night, in preparation for the adventures to come. The next day at breakfast we were greeted by the most unusual visitor, a curious little Elf called Fry who came to collect us and take us to Santa’s Enchanted Forest!
When we arrived at the Enchanted Forest, we were met by another Elf: Elf Twinkle, who led us through the forest to a cute little log cabin where we decorated gingerbread and drank hot chocolate before we were interrupted by a knock on the little wooden door… And in walked Santa Clause! All 6ft something of him, with a beard almost as long. The girls were totally awestruck, as was I! As goosebumps moments go, this is up there at the top, and I genuinely have a lump in my throat as I type this!
Later that evening, after dinner, we decided to try our luck at seeing the Northern Lights. So we ventured back into the forest, this time in the cover of darkness, led by the light of gas lights in the snow, where we were greeted by an open fire – perfect for toasting marshmallows that we then washed down with more hot chocolate! We didn’t see the Northern Lights but the sky was lit up with stars and the experience was magical, all the same.
The next day we visited Santa Land for some outdoor fun. The girls had a great time visiting Santa’s post office, but the highlight for them was the ice park. Sledding and snow tubing for hours without a single complaint about being cold was all the confirmation I needed that the girls’ clothes were doing everything they needed to and more.