Weekend Break Appeal
Back in March of this year we took our shoes off and kicked back in Denmark’s embracing capital city, Copenhagen. There is a word that the Danish bat about, hygge, that sounds a little like the English word ‘hug’, which I find quite appropriate since the meaning of hygge is said to be that of creating a nice warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with your favourite people around you. A bit like the Batchelors soup advert, a hug in a cup, Copenhagen (brimming with hygge) draws you in, kindly takes you by the hand and softly introduces you to a good time. We spent a chilly weekend in March nurturing cups of organic coffees, eating the finest meals by open fires and being enamoured by this Scandinavian town, but we just had to return in the Summertime and see a bit more of the outdoor culture Copenhagen extends.
Copenhagen With Kids
Obviously £19.99 return flights cannot be ignored for August in the school holidays so a quick RyanAir booking and a reservation with Airbnb led to a little trip across the water, kids in tow and grandparents too. We stayed in North Sealand (the holiday spot the Danes want to keep to themselves) but made a couple of day trips into the city with rucksacks full of snacks and provisions, and I’d like to share our itinerary with you and some tips for making the most out of a kiddie-break to Copenhagen.
Tivoli was closed when we were here in the Winter (open April – September) so we walked the perimiter trying to steal peeks into this vintage wonderland. Sadly the 173 year old theme park was as elusive as a well wrapped gift and I’d left my submarine telescope at home that day so with only my imagination to rely on I figured that the age of the place must surely justify a bit of a run-down, out of date attraction, no? How wrong was I! Tivoli may be antique and quaint but it is pristine and groomed to the hilt – it gives Disney a run for its money even.
Once you’ve paid the (approx) £11 entrance fee you are free to roam the park and take in the shows, the gardens, the restaurants etc. But if you want to ride the rides you have the choice of paying another £22 for unlimited thrills or for individual rides (you can purchase ride coupons either at pay-machines dotted around the park or at the main entrance. Alternatively, you can purchase the unlimited pass and get given a wristband at the main entrance too). We bought unlimited rides for the kids and Mr LLH and the other adults just payed for the rides they wanted to go on – what can I say, when you get older you start to think about seatbelts not working and heads falling off and loosing false teeth! Never the less, the one ride I did choose to go on, Vertigo, was possibly the best ride I have ever experienced – the 5G and 360 degree spinning left me laughing in delirium for several moments, much to the amusement of the kids.
It really is such a great place; well rehearsed shows, gardens from a Mary Poppins pavement picture and enough choice of rides to satisfy any age group. And the options for meal-times are bounteous. We chose the German Beer Keller and couldn’t finish our food – even the kiddie portions were very generous. Prices were what you would expect for a captive audience but not too excessive either.
The park was very quiet in the morning but buzzed up around lunch time – we figured this was because people choose a later start time with the intention of seeing the fireworks and light shows which start at 11pm and go on till 1am (or maybe their beds are just so full of Hygge they can’t get out of them?). So, if you’re with kids you may want to save those experiences for when they’re older and go early and enjoy a calmer theme park for a few hours.
For more information visit their website www.tivoligardens.com
A Copenhagen Boat Tour
There are many ways to see the sights in Copenhagen – you can cycle, walk, skate, kayak or even hire a gondola but for a mere £1.50 (Adults £4) you can simply sit, for an hour, in the comfort of a Netto-Boat and listen to a tour guide tell you stories and fascinating facts about this sea-faring city. I’d say you can’t beat the value for money you get for your hard-earned Krone more so than on this little excursion, and what child doesn’t like a boat trip??
A lot of the Copenhagen neighbourhoods can be reached by water so if you take the cruise early on in your visit it helps you to get your bearings and decide which areas you perhaps want to visit on foot later on. Plus, no offense Hans (Christian Andersen) but your little mermaid ain’t all it’s cracked up to be – I found the underwater merman much more exciting . So, to not have to take a 20 minute walk from the centre in a direction which bypasses nothing of interest, I was very happy to just get a quick glimpse (without having to elbow fellow tourists out of the way) from my seat on a comfy boat.
Tours leave Nyhavn every 10 minutes or so and there is no need to book. Take an extra layer for the open water section.
Copenhagen Street Food On Paper Island
If you did the above boat tour you will have passed this indoor street food market as soon as you left the Nyhavn canal. From the water you can see this huge old paper warehouse looking like, well, nothing spectacular. But, step inside and you are transported to a world with no border-controls, a neighbourhood where Sushi puts the bins out for Tagine, and Duck-Burger feeds Smorgasbords hamster when they’re away, and Chicken Shwarma is constantly loosing his ball in Thai Curry’s garden. Plus, the little huts are sprayed with the best street art.
Have a wander around first before you decide what you fancy because chances are, after trying all the little samples you’ll probably only feel like sharing something between two of you (and then having a slice of the best cheesecake you’ve ever eaten in your life. True story)
Every food-booth takes cards and all the stall holders are super friendly and are happy to answer any questions. Click here for opening times etc.
LEGO in Copenhagen
Denmark is the home of LEGO and Copenhagen is the home-of-the-home of LEGO – a flagship store at Vimmelskaftet 37, on the famous pedestrian retail street Strøget. You should absolutely not leave your other half in there looking at the mini versions of Copenhagens tourist spots with the kids whilst you nip out undetected to drool in Ilums Bolighus. But don’t worry, you’ll have time to explore all 10,000 square meters of the most delectable homeware and design store in the whole of the universe (Ilums Bolighus) because your OH and the kids will be too busy building stuff back at LEGO headquarters and deciding which exclusive LEGO sets and limited edition kits they are going to spend their pocket money on. Did I mention Ilum Bolighus’ beautifully elegant escalator makes you believe you can fly? And, I don’t think I told you how you will need to take hankies because it’s so beautiful you will cry. OK, this is a post for kids – I digress (but get your ass to Ilum Bolighus when you can, and don’t take the kids – they will not appreciate it and will probably leave sticky handmarks on the cashmere throws.
Abuse The Copenhagen Card
The what? Well, if you’re staying in Copenhagen for a few days and have to provide your own travel to and from the airport, this could definitely be your ticket to a fun-packed stay in the city. A Copenhagen card can be purchased online or at the airport and covers all your transport PLUS free access to 73 attractions in and around the city! And, each paying adult is allowed to bring along 2 children for free – it really is great value for money. Here are some of the attractions loved by children which you get free access to;
- Entrance (no rides) to Tivoli
- Netto-Boat tours
- Copenhagen Zoo
- The Planetarium
- The Natural History Museum
- Church of Our Saviour (the one with the twisty spire you can climb)
- The Round Tower
- The National Museum
- Falkonergarden (indoor and outdoor performances from falcons)
- The National Aquarium
and dozens of museums if your kids are that way inclined.
Plus, the card gives you discount at several restaurants. How to purchase one is described in detail at this website. Go on – get your culture on!
Travelling to cities with kids can often be the cause of nervous breakdowns and adoption statistics rising but Copenhagen won’t do that to you – I promise. You’ll feel the laid-back poise of the Danes the minute you get off the plane and children are not seen as an interference like in some cities. Add to that the fact that their weather is often not that great so they’ve already thought of dozens of ways to entertain you indoors.
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