EasyJet is to run winter flights from Gatwick to Rovaniemi in Finland – official hometown of Santa Claus.

The twice-weekly service to the gateway to Lapland starts on October 31 on Wednesdays and Saturdays to allow for short breaks.

The budget airline expects to carry more than 13,000 passengers in the first winter of operation.

Rovaniemi has seen the number of British travellers grow by nearly 40% in the past two winter seasons.

Visit Rovaniemi CEO Sanna Kärkkäinen said: “British travellers are our traditional market. We’re happy for the new connection that serves the visitors to meet Santa Claus and to experience the magic of Christmas any day at the Arctic Circle.

“The magical Northern Lights can be seen from August to April and there are many tours available. In winter season many travellers go on husky sleigh rides, reindeer farm visits, snowmobile safaris and skiing.”