We are lucky to have visited Lapland UK twice over the past few years and it really is a truly magical experience. When I was invited to visit their very first Wishing Store at The Lexicon shopping centre in Bracknell, I had high expectations and was really excited to see what they’d set up. The Lexicon is one of my favourite places to shop, with great stores and easy parking, and Lapland UK is just down the road from The Lexicon, in the beautiful Swinley Forest, so it’s an ideal partnership.
An extra touch which the LaplandUK Wishing Store offers is a storytelling session, which costs £5 per child. Of course, you are welcome to visit the store, and to write a letter to Father Christmas and post it without having to pay anything, but I was really excited to experience the storytelling session with Ben, my littlest.
The pop-up store is located in the heart of The Lexicon on Braccan Walk, just next to Smiggle, and it looks beautifully inviting from the outside. In fact, Ben was so keen to head inside that he was in there before I had even mentioned that was where we were going!
Once we headed inside I was so struck by how beautiful it all was – and how wonderful it smelled too, the scent of Christmas trees filled the air. The thing that’s always impressed me about Lapland UK has been the attention to detail, and that was so clear here too. The displays were beautifully put together, and as soon as we entered we were greeted warmly and welcomed for our storytelling session.
There were huge displays of soft toys, and lots of books and decorations to choose from too. Ben was very taken with all of the soft toys, but especially the huskies. He has a husky which he was given on our visit to Lapland UK last year, but he loved seeing all the different varieties and the accessories you could buy for them, like leads and water bowls.
Towards the back of the store is The Wishing Tree – where all the Christmas wishes made by children hang and glow. I thought it was lovely that the two elves who ran the session were in the store beforehand, getting to know all of the children. They absolutely looked the part, with Wish dressed in pastel coloured tutus and hair in big bunches. Even their shoes were perfect, with little points at the toes and their toes poking through!
Both of the elves were absolutely brilliant with the children, remembering all of their names without hesitation, and really winning them round. Ben is only 2.5, so I wasn’t sure how well he would take to the storytelling, but he ended up taking the two elves by the hand as they led him to the storytelling corner and sat him down on one of the little stools. He was absolutely entranced by them both.
Once all of the children were settled, Wish (the wishing elf) sat down and began to tell us the story of Conker, the cheekiest elf. The story length was pitched just right for little ones, and it kept their attention throughout, really bringing to life the magic of Christmas.
It’s worth mentioning that the sign does read that it’s children only in the story area, so the expectation is that your child will sit by themselves while you observe from just behind. This is similar to the sessions at LaplandUK itself, and although I’ve often worried whether my child would sit without me, they always have. But as it happened, our session wasn’t too busy, so the adults joined the children on the stools.
After the story was over, we were led over to the writing desks where the children were invited to write a letter to Father Christmas (or just draw a picture, apparently he loves pictures too). The elves helped the children to write their letters, stick stamps on, and then they made sure they helped each child to post it into the Elven Post Box, for it to make its way to Father Christmas.
Ben was so chuffed to post his letter in the postbox, and gave both the elves a high five and a big cuddle afterwards! Considering Ben’s age and the fact that he’s not always keen on strangers, I was so impressed with how taken he was with the whole experience and that’s really down to how brilliant both the elves were, and I noticed that they gave the same attention to every child there.
You can do the letter writing and post your letter without joining the storytelling experience, so if you’re pushed for time, this would be lovely. But for £5, I thought it was a wonderful way to experience some of the magic of Lapland UK. If you’re wondering whether to take the plunge and book, a visit to the Wishing Store would be the perfect way to make up your mind.
I thought the experience was brilliant value. The £5 fee gives you the storytelling experience, a goody bag with stickers and an activity book, and a little bag of chocolate sprinkles, as well as the interaction with the elves. It’s recommended to book if you would like to do the storytelling, as it’s bound to be popular, but it’s running until 24th December, so there’s plenty of time to visit.
There’s so much going on at The Lexicon over Christmas, so you can really make a day of it – you can find full details of it all here. There is a little Christmas market with little log cabins selling festive goodies, and of course, a huge Christmas tree.
And if you fancy winning a trip to LaplandUK on Christmas Eve, you can take part in the Elven Treasure Hunt. Just pick up a form from inside the LaplandUK Wishing Store or The Lexicon Information Hub, and find the 5 elves hidden in store windows around The Lexicon.
There are also lots of musical performances from local choirs and groups throughout the season, and you can see the full calendar here.
And if you’re stuck for what to get the person who has everything, you can’t go wrong with The Lexicon Gift Card, which can be spent in lots of the shops and restaurants at The Lexicon, so covers all tastes.
Disclosure: This is a paid post in collaboration with The Lexicon