As a travel expert at Activities Abroad, i’m often asked for holiday inspiration... Here are some great ideas for family winter holidays.
For younger families there may only be one chance to meet the ‘real’ Father Christmas in Lapland.
Credit: Marko Junttila & Hotel Gulo Gulo
Our Father Christmas and Arctic Animal Encounters ensures a memorable and magical experience for both children and adults alike. The focus of the holiday is of course the Santa visit......Travelling as a family by snowmobile pulled sleigh through the snowy Lappish Forest, the trail leads to a cosy cabin where you will be welcomed by Father Christmas himself. If you like the idea of a private Santa Claus experience, this is perfect, with the children getting around 20 minutes to talk with him about his most important of jobs!
During my time with Activities Abroad I have visited Nellim twice.
My first experience at this wonderful place was in September, during the Finnish ‘Ruska’ – a time when the trees are a palette of orange and gold and the forest floors are carpeted with mushrooms and berries.
My second time was in the depths of winter, a time when the region comes alive and showcases the most incredible winter scenery. The drive here takes you down quiet winding roads, lined only with trees and the odd wooden cabin. Located on the banks of the frozen Lake Inari, Nellim Wilderness Hotel is warmly welcoming, a charming home-from-home set idyllically in the snow which endlessly covers everything. At this time of year, the sun rises just barely over the horizon, keeping daylight hours to a minimum and bathing the region in unique blue polar light.
Any light that there is however reflects off the snow so it is much lighter than you would think!
Hot climates have always been my first choice of holiday destination. The very thought of visiting a cold country would get my teeth chattering uncontrollably, which prompted an avalanche of strange looks.
Since joining the Activities Abroad team, I’ve found a good deal of snow-based fun to change my mind.
Here are five activities which I definitely want to try, all of which you can experience for yourselves on our family holidays to winter destinations!
While my list isn’t in any particular order, this has to be right at the top. Dogsledding has long been central to the culture of the Nordic countries, and it’s easy to see why: the energy of the pack driving you over sparkling white lands must be amazing (correction: ‘is amazing’, as resoundingly confirmed by the whole office!).
The Lake District is one of my absolute favourite places in the world (and not just because I’m a Cumbrian born and bred!).
With stunning lakes and mountains there is always something different to explore and it really is as picturesque as anywhere else I’ve travelled.
A walk around Derwentwater to take in the spectacular views of the fells and the lake is a must. Derwentwater is just a stone’s throw away from the town of Keswick, which has a wide selection of cafes and boutiques to enjoy; a visit to Luchinis ice cream parlour is certainly worthwhile I speak from Lakeland experience!!
There are many different activities to experience in the Lakes from kayaking to climbing but I’ve always found ghyll scrambling most enjoyable.
Here, our Managing Director tells you why he goes back to Finnish Lapland year after year.
In this job, I travel a great deal on business-related matters but always find some time to go out and play regardless of whether it’s hydrospeeding on Slovenia’s stunning Soca River or husky sledding across the frozen lakes and undulating hills of Fell Lapland.
You would think that somebody who visits snow covered Lapland up to five or six times every year would seek somewhere slightly warmer for a holiday. Not so, when it comes to the McLean Family holiday, we’ve headed straight back to Finnish Lapland for the last five years running.
Why go abroad when you can have your fill of adventure against a backdrop as dramatic as our very own Lake District.
More and more people are travelling from other countries in Europe and beyond to experience what the Lakes have to offer and yet it can often by overlooked by the English in their scramble to go overseas for a holiday.
I certainly did not hesitate when I had the opportunity to visit and sample the hospitality and activities on offer and I knew it was not a decision I would regret from the moment I was tucking into my first meal on arrival.
I am a very lucky girl and I get to visit a lot of wonderful places as part of my job.
Normally the reaction I get from friends and families is of general jealousy and gentle teasing about how hard it is to work in tourism but when I said I was going to Croatia it brought on a wave of blatant begging and pleading to see if they could accompany me and sneak into my suitcase!
We launched our holiday on Gozo in the summer of 2011 and it has received rave reviews ever since. With previous comments from families leaving comments like:
Before I started working for Activities Abroad I’d always preferred a holiday destination with a hot climate. But I was lucky enough to travel with some of my colleagues to Sweden in February and this amazing trip has completely changed my mind.
During our stay we had the chance to try out some activities that we have included in our trips. After touching down in wintery Sweden, we were transferred to the lodge and went straight into the wilds.
We strapped on some snowshoes and made our way with our guide into the snowy forest.
Day One: After arriving in Father Christmas’s airport (Rovaniemi) in April, oddly I instantly felt festive.
With reindeer Christmas decorations and a snow covered landscape; this could only be mistaken for Lapland.
The guide collected me from the airport and then drove me to Ranua Wildlife Park, which was situated around 1 hour away. On route the scenery was stunning with brightly painted Scandinavian wooden houses covered in snow, never-ending forests, frozen lakes and clear blue skies.
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