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Take the Family › 10 Unmissable Winter Experiences with Kids

10 Unmissable Winter Experiences with Kids

Husky fun. Photography by Antti Pietikainen and Activities AbroadHusky fun. Photography by Antti Pietikainen and Activities Abroad

There’s nothing quite like snow to get the kids excited, and though the white stuff is generally in fairly short supply in the UK, head to Lapland and you can count on metres of deep fluffy powder and enjoy all the wonderful activities that come with a truly wintry landscape. These are our favourites.

• Seeing the Northern Lights
Thousands of travellers head to Lapland each year with one thing in mind – witnessing the Northern Lights flickering across the sky. But viewing them from a city or town is virtually impossible due to light pollution, even if you are within the Aurora Zone. More remote destinations, such as Saariselkä Northern Lights Village, offer you and your family the chance to witness the lights from your bed in a glass-roofed Aurora Cabin.
Tip: The Northern Lights tend to appear between 10 pm and 2 am, meaning a late night with the kids, so try to get some rest during the day.

• Husky-sledding
What could be better than meeting a friendly team of huskies and letting them drive you through miles of snow? In Harriniva in Finnish Lapland, husky safari adventures are available covering varying distances, including longer outings for families with teenagers.
Tip: Wait for cuddles and photo opportunities until after your safari. Beforehand, the furry little animals will be way too excited to get out on the trail to pause for selfies!

• Meeting reindeer
Santa’s most loyal and well-known friend features in most family winter getaways. You can visit them on farms and learn about the role they play in the lives of the herders, or head out on a sleigh-ride during the day or night and relax to the sound of them moving against the pristine snowy landscape.
Tip: Head to Menesjärvi in Finnish Lapland to travel out with a reindeer herder via snowmobile-pulled sled to feed his herd. He will call them and you watch as they gradually appear through the trees.

• Spotting Winter Wildlife
There’s plenty of other exciting Arctic wildlife to be seen while you’re out on your daytime adventures. Families who want to get up close to as much of the Arctic wildlife as they can should head to Ranua Wildlife Park in Finnish Lapland, with more than 50 species, including wolves, lynx, otters and the king of the Arctic: the mighty polar bear.
Tip: Where children are concerned, learning is easier when they are having fun. Picking up facts and information about wildlife is very easy when you are on a night-time adventure (lit by headlamp!) during a night safari at the park.

• Snowshoeing
Don’t fight the urge to explore your winter wonderland surroundings. The easiest way to do so is by snowshoe, available for hire in many destinations for the duration of your stay, so you can enjoy the plethora of trails at your own pace.
Tip: While out on your snowshoes, try walking across the deeper snow without them. The kids will find it hilarious to find themselves literally knee deep!

• Cross-country Skiing
This is an incredibly popular pastime in Lapland and a fun way to explore. Kids in Lapland learn to use cross-country skis from a very young age and you’ll see families with young children out on the trails together.
Tip: If you’re new to skiing, take some lessons first with a guide; then you can explore the natural surroundings at your own pace.

• Ice-fishing
Whether you enjoy fishing or not, experiencing it Arctic-style is a must. While little ones keep watch through the ice hole, waiting for the fish to bite, adults will appreciate the cultural significance of this age-old activity.
Tip: Though ice-fishing is available on most winter adventures, there is nothing quite as special as fishing for the delicious delicacy of king crab in Kirkenes, Northern Norway.

• Meeting Father Christmas
A visit to Santa is top of everyone’s list for a family winter adventure to Lapland, but the experience can vary dramatically from destination to destination, with some of the more touristy destinations only offering a quick visit, often in large groups.
Tip: For an authentic family experience, head to Kuusamo in Finnish Lapland, where you may even be able to become a helper and bake spiced gingerbread cookies by the twinkle of candlelight. No whirlwind visits here.

• Sleeping in a Log Cabin
Hotels are great, but what could be more idyllic than having a lovely little cabin to return home to after a day of winter family fun? Relax in front of the fire, discuss the best parts of your day and truly cherish your time together as a family.
Tip: Consider Jeris in the picture-perfect setting of Finnish Lapland, with cottages sleeping 2–7, all with private saunas and log-burners. We recommend taking supplies of your favourite hot drinks – the kitchenettes give you the flexibility to make your own drinks and snacks (which helps with the family budget!).

• Staying in Ice and Snow Hotels
There are plenty of places to experience the coolest hotels around - literally! – In Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian Lapland, all with their own unique flair.
Tip: Tuck your jumper into the bottom of your sleeping bag before you go to sleep and it will be nice and toasty in the morning!

All these experiences and more can be ticked off your bucket list on a family holiday with or speak to one of their Travel Experts on 01670 789 991.

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