Lapland UK, which started life in Tunbridge Wells, now making £5million turnover

    A couple who created their own winter wonderland near Tunbridge Wells are expecting to make a £5million turnover from the site’s new home in Ascot this year.

    Former hedge fund manager Mike Battle launched Lapland UK ten years ago at Bewl Water alongside wife Alison after feeling uninspired by festive attractions they had visited.

    Following their own brief, the pair set about creating a home for Father Christmas – the hero of their four sons – with snow, a toy shed for the elves, reindeer and an ice rink to boot.

    Tickets, costing £49 to £120, have completely sold out for 2017 with 60,000 people expected to pass through the gates.

    Belief Lapland UK moved from the Lamberhurst reservoir to Ascot in 2013 to take advantage of ‘better transport links’ offered by the nearby M3 and M4 roads.

    Mrs Battle said: “We went looking for the real Father Christmas more than a decade ago.

    “Following an extensive and international search our children, like many others, were close to losing their belief [in Christmas].

    “Then we started this project and since then our belief has never wavered. Now, in our tenth year we will share the discovery and our story with more families than ever.”

    More than 200,000 children in total have visited the park after receiving invitations in the post which are styled as letters from Father Christmas.

    David Beckham is also a fan and is said to come most years with his family while Elton John, Paul McCartney and several Royals have also visited.