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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Monday, 31 December 2007

Lapland by car club car

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home, but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is from Nicola

It feels mean spirirted to begrudge children a trip to see Father Christmas but that’s how I feel about the day trips by plane to the Arctic Circle. The answer has to be bringing Santa here and that’s exactly what Lapland UK has done in a secluded bit of Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent. Inevitably the pre-xmas, meet Santa tickets sold out within days of release so Lola, Nell and I decided to go after Christmas and just enjoy the snowy atmosphere reaching the site in a car club car so that we could also visit friends who live near the forest.

I’d expected to see reindeer and pat Husky dogs but did wonder how we’d pass two hours. However Lapland turns out to be a very captivating place which is staffed by cheerful elves who chat about their lives with Father Christmas to any child who wants to know. They eat elf salad (sweets) and gingerbread; are born when the Northern Lights flicker and believe that Lapland FC would beat West Ham 27-nil.

There’s two workshops – one for making toys and another for decorating gingerbread – but we were also able to explore the Post Office and write to Father Christmas. The highlight for me was sitting on a thick reindeer skin and listening to a traditional Swedish folk story in a kota (like a big wigwam or yurt). Nell was lucky enough to peep into Father Xmas’s log cabin and see the big man’s slippers warming by the fire (a woodburner). When we got home she told her dad that Father Xmas isn’t concerned enough about climate change…

Lapland UK was a really well-thought out adventure, run by enthusiastic people who stayed in character all the time. It also gave us real insight into life in the Arctic. Best of all we arrived at dusk and left in the dark so were able to enjoy the twinkly lights and crunch of foot on snow as we followed the trails around Santa’s forest home fortified by a glass of hot apple punch.

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