Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday!
As promised here is a blog post all about our trip to Finnish Lapland including where we stayed, what we did and what we wore! About a month ago I started thinking it would be super fun to take the girls to see Father Christmas and I had heard about the hotel Arctic Treehouse so instantly looked it up online. They had a few treehouses available and luckily one big enough to fit our family although it looks like less of a treehouse from the outside than the smaller ones but I believe inside they are pretty much the same. I wouldn’t say its a super duper luxurious hotel but it is very idyllic and cosy and the rooms are beautifully nestled amongst the forest. All the rooms have their own sauna and one side is entirely made of glass so when you wake up you are looking out into the stunning snowy forest. I literally wish I woke up to that view every day. Every day we saw reindeer running around freely next to our room which was so beautiful to see. Moments of the trip were literally as if they were out of a fairytale (and moments of course with three little kids were the opposite lol but I think having three has made me so relaxed when travelling.) We had THE best time and I am already thinking we should go back again next year.
For those of you who are new to following me I am actually by heritage 100% Finnish. My parents are both from Finland but I grew up in England and have never actually lived there. But my mother has always spoken Finnish to my brother and I though so we both speak the language fluently and I try to go at least once a year as we have a super idyllic summerhouse in the south of the country. I have been to Lapland a few times previously but never with the girls and I thought it would be something magical to do with them (plus I love anything Christmas related.) Initially I worried that November would be too early in the season to go but actually it was a wonderful time to go because it was still relatively quiet. I am sure December is also fun but if we go again I have to say I would book in November again to avoid the super busy tourist season. Having said that you 100% want to go when they have snow – last year they didn’t have snow until December but that is very unusual.
Now that we have three children we travel with our nanny. When it was just Mila and Anoushka we did all of our trips alone with the girls but I remember someone telling me that three was a game changer in terms of travel and it really is. We are both super hands on parents but personally we don’t like to use babysitters we don’t know and if we get no time for “us” as a couple on holiday then it doesn’t feel like a proper holiday – as busy parents of three girls we cherish our date nights. Plus they are all so little and have different needs – Luna is 8 months and I didn’t feel like she needed to be outside for prolonged periods of time so it was great to have my nanny there. For example when we went to the Reindeer Farm she came along but after a while waited inside the main house of the farm with Luna. I am still exclusively breastfeeding Luna (she won’t even LOOK at a bottle and I have to say I don’t mind I am so enjoying the experience) and I don’t like to be away from my children ever so leaving Luna behind wasn’t an option. However I am sure the hotel can arrange babysitters if you need and also the whole place is catered towards children so lots of children were in restaurants with their parents.
If you are flying from London there is a direct flight to Rovaniemi with Norwegian Air that takes around 3 hours but they are only a few times a week and the flight departed at 6am which neither my husband or I were keen to do. So we took a flight via Helsinki on the way there (stopover was super easy and quick!) and then flew back on the direct flight (which leaves at midday so you do lose out on that day but at least you travel at a decent time.) The hotel is a 5-10 minute drive from the airport – Rovaniemi is VERY small.
We went 100% for the girls but having said that there are so many activities you can do both with the children but also as a couple or alone. You can of course see Father Christmas. But also go on husky rides. See reindeer. TRY to see the northern lights (we tried two nights in a row and unfortunately we weren’t successful but hopefully next time!) plus all the usual winter sports activities such as snowmobiling and sledding. You can cross country ski and go snow shoe walking. There is also an arctic zoo a few hours drive away where you can see Polar Bears etc but we felt it was a little too far with our little girls. You can do everything either completely privately or in small groups.
For Father Christmas, there is place built inside a cave next to the hotel called Santa Park where you can visit him (we hired a private elf to guide us through the cave for a few hours), and in the Santa Park you can also decorate gingerbread, see an elf show, eat, play etc. The cave is very touristy but the girls absolutely LOVED it. Seeing the magic of it all through their eyes was one of the best things I have ever done and they were amazed by everything we did. You can briefly meet Father Christmas one on one in the cave but you can also book a private experience with Father Christmas which I believe happens somewhere else just outside of Rovaniemi. We chose to not go with the private experience because the girls are so young and we thought they might be scared – and sure enough Anoushka who is usually the sassy feisty one in our family wouldn’t even look at him when we did meet him (although she was super excited walking into his room and she absolutely loved our elf guide!) So if you have really little children like us then I honestly don’t think its worth booking the private excursion to see Father Christmas as its a proper 4 hour long excursion. However what was amazing and I would recommend to do privately was going to a reindeer farm – they are stunning creatures and we had the entire farm to ourselves. Mila absolutely loved it.
The activities can be a bit hit or miss. They try to of course give you your money’s worth so they do tend to pad them out a bit. The first evening my husband and I went on a bonfire evening to a remote location to try to see the Northern Lights. It was snowing every evening so we knew it would be unlikely but you never know. It was a lovely evening but it did feel a bit long so the next evening when we booked the floating experience (the one I storied that many of you were asking me about!) we actually had a taxi pick us up after the actual floating and went for dinner the two of us in town rather than spending the rest of the evening with the group. We get such little time just us so we really wanted to make the most of it. The floating was definitely an experience – you get into a thermal suit and essentially float in a hole in the ice again trying to see the Northern Lights. It was so relaxing and almost like a meditation. We didn’t see them but it was so different to anything we have ever done before so we really enjoyed it. The hotel organised all the activities for us so if you stay there you can just ask them to do it – super easy and they just told us what time to be at the reception for each relevant activity.
We ate most meals at the hotel. They only have one restaurant but you can also of course eat in your room instead. And other than that we just spent as much time outdoors with the girls as possible- they loved sledding and playing in the snow and going on walks. There are so many more activities you can do (the hotel has a full brochure of everything) but as we only had two full days we didn’t have a chance to do everything. If anyone has any specific questions about anything I haven’t covered you can of course email me as per usual. I have the worst baby brain and always leave things out but I have included links to most things I wore below and the silver leggings are BACK IN STOCK!!
Oh and I got lots of questions about how cold it was and what did I wear underneath. Now it was mild – minus 7 at the most. I have been once when it was minus 38 celcius and that of course is slightly different. The girls were super warm in their snowsuits and gloves and I took thermals with me but didn’t use them much as my moonboots kept me so warm. I basically lived in leggings, moonboots, a thick knit and jacket. Oh and gloves.
It is 100% worth doing. The amount of messages I got from people sharing that they had gone as children and still remember it to this day was incredible. My girls are so young (Mila my eldest is 3!) so they most likely wont remember this years trip but my husband and I will always remember it and have about a million photos to look back on with the girls 🙂 xxxx
What I Wore
What My Girls Wore