Stay at an impressive ice hotel, gaze at the dramatic spectacle of the Northern lights and have a jolly time with Santa
There’s a certain romance about the idea of building your own icy igloo and snuggling down for the night. However, if that sounds like a bit too much like hard work, why not book into the Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland? Chiselled out of ice, this giant igloo has sparkling ice chandeliers, intricately chiselled pillars and ice beds strewn with reindeer furs. Discover The World offers a three-night break at the Icehotel for a family of four (two children aged under 11) for around £3,000.
Of course, Lapland is also the home to a particular beneficent red-suited chap with the habit of handing out gifts. A range of tour operators offer special Santa trips, where, in addition to meeting Santa Claus, children can enjoy a host of activities, such as reindeer-drawn sleigh trips, husky rides, ice fishing, tobogganing and snow sculpting. Esprit Holidays travels to Saariselka in northern Finland with three- and four-day mini-breaks starting from £1,767 for a family of four with two children (one aged between two and five). Quo Vadis offers tailor-made Santa packages to Finnish Lapland. A three-night stay for a family of four, including reindeer and husky sleigh rides starts at £2,835. With Inghams, you can combine a meeting with Santa with a spot of skiing. The uncrowded slopes of the Levi resort in Finnish Lapland are ideal for families and first-time skiers. Stay at the Levitunturi Spa Hotel, which boasts 17 indoor and outdoor pools, a clutch
of saunas, a children’s playhouse, bowling alley and fitness room. Prices start from £751 per adult and £640 per child for seven nights in a suite sleeping four on a half-board basis.
Children will also love to discover the natural wonders of the Arctic Circle. Wrap up warm and stay up late for the chance to see the Northern Lights, a breathtaking display of coloured lights caused by a collision of particles in the earth’s magnetic fields. The Northern Lights can be seen from Sweden, Norway, Canada, Finland and Iceland. Dubbed the Land Of Ice And Fire, Iceland boasts some amazing natural features, such as the Stokkur geyser, which shoots water up to 30m in the air every four to eight minutes; Gullfoss (or Golden Falls), a beautiful waterfall plunging 32m; and the active volcano, Hekla. Several companies offer excursions from Reykjavik, including Activity Group. To spot white-beaked dolphins, minke wales and orca whales, take a boat ride. Touris (www.tour.is) offers whale watching departing from Reykjavik Harbour from £42.
Or, if you’re game for some Arctic fun but want to avoid the extreme cold, why not head to Lapland UK in Lamberhurst, Kent? Children can decorate gingerbread in Mother Christmas’s kitchen, go ice skating, meet husky dogs and reindeer, and have a personal audience with Father Christmas. The event runs December 4–24 and tickets start at £44.50. For an extra treat, combine your trip with an overnight stay at The Spa Hotel, Royal Tunbridge Wells. Double and twin rooms are from £150 per night.
Look at our Travel section for more wonderful holiday ideas.