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Hotel review: Hilton Bracknell near to Lapland UK

Hotel review: Hilton Bracknell near to Lapland UK

We take our children to the Hilton Bracknell after visiting Lapland UK

Name

Hilton Bracknell, Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Where is it?

On the outskirts of Bracknell near the main A322 road, next to a Sainsbury’s supermarket and petrol station.

It’s just 10 minutes from Lapland UK (review here), around 15 minutes from Legoland Windsor (review here) and half an hour from Thorpe Park.

What is it?

A large hotel with a swimming pool and leisure centre. It has plenty of free parking on site.

Hilton Bracknell Hotel exterior

Is it family friendly?

Yes, this is a popular family option in the area offering easy access to Windsor, Lapland UK and Ascot.

Children receive a welcome pack on arrival, breakfast caters for them well and there is a swimming pool to enjoy.

There were lots of children at the hotel when we stayed there and they are made to feel welcome.

The rooms

We stayed in a two double bed deluxe and it was an excellent size for a family of four.

Our room at the Hilton Bracknell

Our room

There were two comfy double beds, a large TV, good-sized bathroom with bath and shower, free bottles of water, a kettle and a useful mini-fridge. The room was spotlessly clean.

The bathroom of our room at the Hilton Bracknell

The bathroom

Food and drink

Breakfast was nearly all self-service with a good selection of six cereals, including cornflakes and coco pops.

Breakfast cereal at the Hilton Bracknell

There were lovely warm pastries plus all the usual hot options if you want a cooked breakfast.

Breakfast is served in a lovely, bright and spacious restaurant area. Even though the hotel was busy it was a pleasant environment to eat in. The staff were friendly and helpful throughout.

The breakfast room at the Hilton Bracknell

If you want to eat an evening meal then under-fives eat free with a paying adult. Children aged between six and 12 can dine from the children’s menu for £11.50. We ate elsewhere for dinner so can’t comment on how good it is!

Our highlights

*The swimming pool – a real bonus here are the leisure facilities. These are free for hotel users and the decent-sized pool is split into two halves with a rope. One half is for adult swimmers and the other for children and their families. It wasn’t too busy when we visited on a Saturday morning and really made our stay.

There is also a jacuzzi which children are allowed in, plus a steam room and sauna for adults.

You can collect fresh towels from the leisure centre and the changing facilities are good.

We also spotted a good-sized gym.

*Welcome pack – the small bag given to children at reception kept them entertained in our room. There were crayons, stickers to colour in, puzzles and a crossword.

Children's welcome pack at the Hilton Bracknell

Children’s welcome pack

*The staff – everyone we met from reception, housekeeping and at breakfast were very friendly. They went out of their way to help and make sure we had a pleasant stay.

*Parking – the hotel’s large car park is free and stretches around the front and side of the building. Even on a busy Friday evening there was space to park.

Nearby

A busy dual carriageway is the main view from the hotel but it is handily placed next to a large Sainsbury’s supermarket and petrol station.

Coral Reef Waterworld, The Look Out Discovery Centre and Go Ape Bracknell are all less than a mile away.

There are lots of family favourites within a few miles including Lapland UK, Windsor Castle, Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park.

Address

Hilton Bracknell, Baghsot Road, Bracknell, RG12 0QJ

How to book

For the best rates book direct at the Hilton website.

Disclaimer: We received a reduced rate on our stay for the purposes of this review. All opinions are our honestly held views.

Lapland UK – our full guide, top tips and review of this popular Christmas day out for families

Lapland UK – our full guide, top tips and review of this popular Christmas day out for families

We take our children to ‘Lapland’ in the UK for a full family festive experience

It is one of the country’s most popular Christmas days out for families who want to experience Lapland without the cost of travelling to Finland.

So here is all you need to know about Lapland UK, plus our top tips for visiting and please watch our video below!

What is it?

A full Christmas experience for children which tells the story of Father Christmas, complete with elves, snow, a personalized Santa visit, toy making, gingerbread decorating, ice skating and more.

Where is it?

In ‘Lapland’ accessed by magic from Lapland UK, in Whitmoor Forest near Ascot in Berkshire.

How it works

1. Children get a special invitation each to visit ‘Lapland’ through the post telling them they have been chosen to help Santa make toys. There is a special app you can use so that two of the elves you will meet, appear on your invitation through your phone to talk and build the excitement.

2. When you get there and check in, each child is given an Elf Passport to have stamped at various points. You can also buy Jingles here – elf money that the children can spend there – £1 is one Elf Jingle.

A pouch of Jingles

A pouch of Jingles

3. The tour starts in a round room where elves tell the Father Christmas story, teach elf rhymes and the elf wave and build up the excitement for the children (Little Folk) and adults (Big Folk) until finally opening the doors to ‘Lapland’.

The doors to Lapland

The doors to Lapland

4. You walk past snow-topped cabins to the toy workshop. Here, as in other places around the site, children have the option of entering through much smaller doors than the adults, which is a nice touch.

5. Inside the workshop, they are entertained by more elves and then each child helps to make a toy (a soft snowman our year, which they stuffed and added buttons to and a nose and scarf etc), which they hand over to be wrapped for Santa to deliver to children on Christmas Eve.

Making toys at the Toy Factory at Lapland UK

Making toys

6. Then it’s through one of several magical tree tunnels to the next area, a kitchen where Mother Christmas is waiting, she talks to the children, they decorate gingerbread biscuits then listen to a story.

Mother Christmas tells a story at Lapland UK

Mother Christmas tells a story

7. After that it is on to the Elf Village where you have an hour-and-a-half free time to ice skate on the outdoor rink, visit husky dogs and spend your Jingles in the toy and sweet shops, food and drink outlets. There is even a special post office where children can write a letter to Santa, have it sealed and post it themselves.

The ice rink at Lapland UK

8. Then it’s on to the main event – visiting Father Christmas. You walk through a magical forest, past elf homes and past the reindeer to a waiting area.

Elves come and out and call each family group through using just the children’s names. Then you are taken down a winding path to visit Santa in a log cabin, who amazes the children by knowing special details about them. He gives them a present (soft husky toy dogs when we went) and they find their names in his good book. They have a photograph taken by an elf.

Children look to see if they are in Santa's good book at Lapland UK

Are they in his good book?

9. In the next area, you collect your free photograph and are slipped a toy like the one your child made earlier so that Santa can deliver it on Christmas Eve. Then it’s out through a gift shop where there are lots of accessories you can buy for your husky! And then it’s out the door and back into the car park in ‘England’.

What is included in the price at Lapland UK?

*Parking.

*An elf passport.

*Elf newspaper.

*Making a toy activity.

*A version of the toy they made in the toy factory to take away secretly to give them on Christmas day.

*The gingerbread that the children decorate.

*Ice skating and hire of skates.

*Meeting Father Christmas.

*A gift from Santa – soft toy husky dogs our year.

*A printed family picture from the Santa visit.

What costs extra at Lapland UK?

*Food and drink.

*Reindeer food.

*Shop purchases.

*Extra pictures from the Santa visit.

What did we think?

This is a magical Christmas day out for young children and very well organized. The staff are all fantastic, taking on the role of elves and reindeer and the children loved it. It is a fabulous four hours of festive entertainment.

Is Lapland UK worth the cost?

This is a staggeringly expensive Christmas experience. It is a shame this costs so much money as it just isn’t possible for many people, particularly bigger families.

For the four of us it was over £450 on a weekday – which works out at over £100 an hour. We were lucky enough to be treated to it for a special family birthday. I don’t think we would be able to justify doing it again another year.

If you can afford it and want to splash out, make sure your children are the right ages to appreciate it, I would say, no younger than three and of an age where they still believe in the magic of Christmas.

Top tips for Lapland UK

*Do take advantage of the app to make your child’s invitation come to life, it is a magical start to the experience.

*Get there half an hour before your time slot to park, walk to the start, check in etc. You can not start the experience until your time slot so there is no point getting there any earlier.

*Buy Jingles at the start – £1 is 1 Elf Jingle, they come in a red velvet pouch. Children can use them to pay for things in the Elf Village and you can cash in those you don’t use at the end. We bought ours £5 worth each and it was enough (a lead for the toy husky from Santa was just £3 in the gift shop at the end, but beware there are lots of toys which cost a lot more)!

*Personalise your visit online. Make sure Santa has all the details he needs to show your child that he knows all about them. But don’t worry if you don’t get chance to do this as you can tell them at the desk when you are waiting to see the Big Man (just make sure little ears can’t hear you)!

*Ice rink – children can have skates which go over their shoes and are easier to balance on instead of proper ones. There are also support penguins for young children to hold on to or stand on.

*Consider taking a change of clothes in case children fall over on the ice rink. It was raining when we went and there is no cover so the surface was wet even though staff were frantically trying to keep the water off it.

*You could spend a lot of money in the Elfen Village if you aren’t careful as a lot of it is shops and food and drink outlets so take your time doing the ice rink and the Santa letter writing!

Our five-year-old’s verdict

“We saw Father Christmas and he gave us some huskies. And we went in the Enchanted Forest. It was fantastic! I liked seeing Santa Claus best.”

Address

Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Rd, Winkfield Row, Ascot SL5 8BD

Where to stay

We stayed at the Hilton Bracknell Hotel 10 minutes away, which has a fantastic swimming pool, read our review here.

Website

https://www.laplanduk.co.uk

Have you been? What did you think? We would love to hear from you.