Destination Europe

Our Journey to Lapland with Santa's Lapland

Posted on
December 7, 2017

When I booked our holiday to Lapland, the plan was to keep it a secret from all the family.
The plan worked at first, but when it came to Hubby booking his holiday from work, I gave in and told him what I was up to. However, we both agreed it should be a surprise for the kids.
Thankfully, now all the kids are at school, researching and buying everything we needed to pack for Lapland was fairly simple and even when the cases came out of the loft the night before we were due to travel, they didn’t raise any suspicions.
The kids were not too impressed about being woken up at 5.30am in the morning, but got dressed and into the car without too much fuss, curious about where we were off to. From our travels they know where local landmarks are and were soon guessing we were off to Adventure Wonderland, which is set opposite Bournemouth Airport, so imagine their confusion when we headed to the airport instead.
Bournemouth Airport
Are we going on a plane?” was the next question.
We headed into the airport and excitement was starting to build but even the approach to the check-in desk didn’t raise any guesses as to where we were going as it simply read “Ivalo”, which is the northern most airport in the EU, set just inside the Arctic Circle.
It was once we were through security that the penny started to drop, with families all dressed in their best Christmas jumpers, including us. We finally got to say the words “We are going to Lapland
Sadly for us, there was a two-hour delay with the plane, so we had to wait a little longer than we had hoped until we boarded, but the atmosphere in the airport was happy and jovial as it was packed full of families with young children, all excited for the adventure ahead.
Bournemouth Airport
Our airline for the weekend was Small Planet, a Lithuanian leisure airline who I have to admit I have not heard of before. We were welcomed onboard by the cabin crew who were all wearing reindeer antlers and Christmas music playing over the tannoy system.
Small Planet Airlines
Once we were in the air, the fun began with a drawing competition for the kids, with the winner voted by the captain. Sadly, despite their best efforts, mine didn’t win, but they loved creating their masterpieces and it was a great way of keeping them occupied for half an hour.
Santa's Lapland
Once the kids had finished it was then time for a sing-song, with the cabin crew getting the passengers involved, singing over the tannoy system and posing for pictures. The flight takes around 3½ hours from Bournemouth and we were soon touching down on a snow-covered runway.
Small Planet Airlines
We donned our warmest winter coats and got off the plane to temperatures of -5°C, to take the short walk into the arrivals lounge in the dark, despite it only being 4pm.
Ivalo Airport
Once we were through passport control, we were greeted by our tour guides and given our coach name whilst the kids were entertained by some mischevious elves.
Ivalo Airport
Just outside the airport was a Finnish lady dressed in traditional clothes and a reindeer to greet us before we boarded our coach for the 25 minute transfer to Saariselkä.
As we arrived at our destination, our first stop was to pick up our arctic thermals, which was surprisingly swift and painless, as the staff can work out your size just by looking at you. We emerged with two bin bags full of gear for the family, under strict instructions to try them on once we had checked in, in case we needed to change any.
Santas Lapland
Next stop was the Saariselkä Inn, where we were staying and we hopped off the bus to get settled into our room before a meeting to discuss plans for the next day.
Saariselka Inn
Our meeting point was the traditional Finnish Pub, a short two-minute walk (or sled ride) from our room. The kids were entertained by the staff which meant that none of the surprises that were happening the next day were spoiled and then it was time for a buffet dinner at the nearby hotel, Tunturi.
Having started the day at 5am, the kids were all ready for their beds so we got our heads down early, ready for our Search for Santa Day the next day!
To be continued………
he Journey to Santa's Lapland

  1. Reply


    December 8, 2017

    Oh my goodness this has to be every child’s dream come true – it looks like you had an amazing time!

  2. Reply

    Fritha Strickland

    December 8, 2017

    ah this is making me so nostalgic for the time I went to Finish Lapland! I can’t wait to go again when Mabli is bigger x

  3. Reply


    December 8, 2017

    Eek! This is so exciting to read – I can’t imagine how exciting it must have been to experience it (shame about the delay though!) 🙂

  4. Reply

    Sonia Cave

    December 8, 2017

    What a lovely idea keeping it a secret and well done for managing….I think I might have popped with that secret!

  5. Reply


    December 8, 2017

    Wow, I was excited reading this! What an amazing surprise. I would love to do this with my children. It sounds like it was really well organised too which is a big plus. Can’t wait to read your next post

  6. Reply

    Laura - Dear Bear and Beany

    December 8, 2017

    Wow what an exciting experience. That is cold though!!

  7. Reply

    Rhian Westbury

    December 8, 2017

    I love how you kept this a secret right up until you got through towards the gate. I wish I could do this but I can’t contain my excitement haha x

  8. Reply

    Samantha Donnelly

    December 8, 2017

    How did you manage to keep it a secret I would have been bursting to tell them, I don’t think you needed to write a post as their faces said it all.x

  9. Reply


    December 8, 2017

    This was a great intro to the trip, can’t wait to hear about meeting Santa. I have a friend who works for Small Planet airlines and he gets to spread joy doing these flights every day.

  10. Reply

    Clare Nicholas

    December 8, 2017

    I love that you kept it a complete secret.
    I’d love to do this one day

  11. Reply

    Kristina Maggiora

    December 8, 2017

    aweeeeeee their outfits are SO CUTE and so nice that you’ve kept it a secret 🙂

  12. Reply

    five little doves

    December 8, 2017

    Wow what an amazing surprise! I think it’s my dream holiday although I would FREEZE!

  13. Reply

    Chrissy Faery

    December 8, 2017

    Oh my goodness, I love this so much!! What an exciting adventure, and how magical for your kids! I love that you kept it a surprise as well! I look forward to reading more! 🙂 xx

  14. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    December 9, 2017

    Oh my goodness how absolutely incredible would this have been, what a huge secret to have kept as well!

  15. Reply


    December 9, 2017

    Awwww I love their little outfits! It must’ve been truly magical for them to experience this, I’m kind of jealous! I would have loved this as a child.

  16. Reply


    December 9, 2017

    Oh my gosh how exciting. The kids look very happy. I’m an adult and I’d love to go x

  17. Reply


    December 9, 2017

    Oh wow, what a fabulous adventure for the kids! I’d love to take mine there some day. Can’t wait to read what happens next!

  18. Reply


    December 9, 2017

    What an amazing surprise! I love their Christmas outfits, very cute. Can’t wait to read the rest

  19. Reply


    December 9, 2017

    Sounds like a great start to the adventure and magic of Lapland!

  20. Reply


    December 9, 2017

    Oh wow, I had no idea that you could go to Lapland from our local airport. I have to look into this as I would love to go but I always thought you had to change several planes to get there. The crew on board is adorable! 🙂

  21. Reply


    December 9, 2017

    What a lovely experience it must have been. I would love to visit Lapland with the kids.

  22. Reply

    Ali || Veggies by Candlelight

    December 9, 2017

    What an amazing experience, it looks like it was so much fun just to travel! Can’t wait to hear the rest!

  23. Reply

    Nichola - Globalmouse

    December 9, 2017

    Aah what an exciting start. We went to Saariselka a few years ago and would love love to return. Can’t wait to hear how you got on.

  24. Reply


    December 10, 2017

    How exciting! So lovely that you were able to surprise the children last minute. A great start to your adventures in Lapland.

  25. Reply

    Helen Wills

    December 10, 2017

    What a fantastic surprise for them, I look forward to hearing more about it all!

  26. Reply

    Jazmin Williams

    December 11, 2017

    This sounds absolutely fantastic, with a nephew on the way I’d love to take him when he’s older!

  27. Reply


    December 11, 2017

    I am so excited to see what you guys got up to and now awesome that you and hubby where able to keep the secret for the kids

  28. Reply

    Super Busy Mum

    December 11, 2017

    This sounds like the most amazing experience and something I am hoping to do with my children next year!

  29. Reply

    Chloe Ciliberto

    December 13, 2017

    What a surprise for them! I really, really want to go to Lapland and can’t wait to read your next instalment. Even the plane sounds like such a fun, magical ride and it’s amazing how the magic started as soon as you sat in your seats. That’s great that they also give you thermals when you’re there. I’m excited to see what happened next. x

  30. Reply

    Out Of Depth Dad

    December 13, 2017

    Brilliant! It sounds like you had a great time. I’d love to take Sam to Lapland. It looks a magical experience.

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog