“Why Denmark?” Everyone asked when I told them what our summer holiday destination was! OK, so it was a bit of a random choice but I’ve always wanted to explore Scandinavia and Denmark seemed like a good place start – its always top of the charts when it comes to the “happiest places to live” and I had heard lots of good things about how easy it was to travel with children there. So flights were booked, plans were made and bags were packed!
Day One – Outbound Travel
It was a 5:30am start and a 2 hour drive to Heathrow Airport, we’d manage to get return flights to Copenhagen for £400 for all four of us including baggage with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), which I though was a bit of a bargain for the summer holidays. We used meet and greet at Heathrow which is just superb, especially if you are traveling with small children. The flight was on-time, the plane was new and clean and we even got a complimentary cuppa! We hired a car at Copenhagen for the 10 days of our trip and then it was a straightforward 20 min drive to our first AirBnB in Brøndby Strand. This turned out to be a nice, good sized house (it was described as cozy but it was very spacious compared to most UK homes!). It was very clean and well kept with a lovely back garden, off-street car parking and a Lidl just 50m away!
Day Two – Copenhagen
COPENHAGEN! It was an easy 20 min trip by train from our place in Brøndby Strand to the Central Station in Copenhagen. From there we strolled through the city centre and took an one hour boat cruise. This took in all the main sites, some fantastic architecture, such an interesting city to look at. Loved the combination of old and contemporary and mixture of building materials makes the built landscape so varied. We also saw the famous and very little, Little Mermaid! The kids enjoyed themselves and it was a stress-free way to get a good overview of the city. From there we wondered up the main pedestrianized streets towards the Round Tower. We grabbed lunch in what we think was the Students Union – not exactly new Nordic cuisine and it still wasn’t cheap (two packets of crisps cost 50DKK – about £6!!). At which point I decided to stop working out the exchange rate and take picnics everywhere!
After lunch we walked to where we wished we had eaten lunch! The indoor food market called Torvehllerne, what an amazing place if you love food, filled with great produce – cheese, meats, fresh fruit and veg, and fish – so much fish! We also checked out the Lego Shop (dangerous!) before little legs began to tire and we headed back ‘home.’
Day 3 – Hornbæk
Another gorgeous day so we decided to head to the beach at Hornbæk, about a 45 minute drive from Copenhagen. Such a lovely beach, clean, sandy with crystal clear waters – and shallow – perfect for the kids. Would highly recommend, we felt like we could have been on holiday in the Mediterranean!
Day 4 – Viking Museum
It was time to leave Copenhagen and travel to Central Jutland but not before stopping on route at the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde. It cost 150DKK for adults and free for kids (extra for the viking ship sailing but we couldn’t do that because Jacob was too young) but there was still plenty to do and look at. The kids both loved being able to go on the re-creation of a viking longship in the marina and there was plenty of other hands-on experiences including hammer throwing (a favourite!) and a trip on a viking warship, complete with costumes to wear. For adults there was plenty of info to take in (not that we had the chance to read much of it!). We were there for just over two hours but you could have spent much longer.
From the Viking Museum it was the drive to Jutland – three hours in 28 degrees and a 245DKK bridge toll – it was a painful journey for many reasons! Still we made it to our next AirBnB in the unremarkable town of Ejstrupholm, however the house was perfect – a great size, loads of outdoor space and most importantly TOYS!
Day 5 – Legoland
So Legoland – in Ethan’s words today was going to be ‘extreme’! Our AirBnB was just a 30 minute drive to Legoland Billund and we arrived at 9:30am (the park opens at 10am) to make sure we made the most of the day. We hadn’t pre-booked tickets but the queues were not long – despite being August, schools were already back in Denmark which definitly worked in our favour. It was not cheap to get in 396DKK each (Jacob was free) but have a look round for deals, we got a 50% off voucher from a box of cereal. But it was a fantastic day out, the park itself is pretty compact, good for little legs and there are also plently of rides for everyone so that Jacob didn’t feel left out. Our favourites included The Temple (a sort of laser quest ride), the Pirate Boats (you get very wet!), Fire Brigade (a real workout for the adults!) and of course Miniland and all the amazing replica models. We covered pretty much all the rides that we could go on but we did run out of time to do the SeaLife Centre and the 3D Cinema or see any of the live shows.
It was the first time our boys had been to a theme park and they were certainly not disappointed. We barely had to queue so we got to do a lot. It really is a proper day out and everyone enjoyed themselves, Ethan is already planning our return visit and I would love to stay at the Legoland Castle Hotel…
Day 6 – Moesgård Strand
We decieded we needed a bit of a chill day after the excitment of Legoland so headed to the East coast and Moesgård Beach just below Aarhus. It was a nice beach, sheltered and sandy, no lifegaurd but the sea was very calm – it would have been perfect except for the jelly fish, and a helpful local told us gave you a nasty sting – eek! We spent a couple of hours on the beach then went for a explore through the wooded area which surrounded the coastline, it was nice to spend a day surrounded by nature after yesterdays commercialisation!
Day 7 – Silkeborg
After a massive thunderstorm over night we weren’t sure what the weather was going to do but come the morning the sun was shining so we decieded to head to Silkeborg and check out Denmarks ‘Lake District.’
Silkeborg was a 30 minute drive north and is a good size town with a pretty market square. Plan A was a 1 hour boat trip on a paddle steamer, but unfortunately they only ran on the weekend. Plan B was a canoe trip, but the toddler had other ideas and had a complete meltdown about wearing a life jacket! You win some, you lose some!
After the failed boat trip we drove 10 minutes around the lake and stopped for our picnic at De Små Fisk. We had a lovely afternoon here, playing in the water and chilling out, it was really idyllic. When the boys had pretty much pickled themselves in the water we drove the scenic way around the lake to Ry and stopped for a fish and chip supper!
Day 8 – Randers Regnskov
The weather forecast was not good for today (not that we could complain, it had been pretty amazing) so we decided to head towards an indoor attraction and chose the Tropical Zoo in Randers, Randers Regnskov, about an hours drive North East.
Like all big attraction it wasn’t cheap to get in, but under 3’s were free, so for the four of us it was about £50. But we definitely felt like we got our monies worth. The zoo is split across three tropical zones from locations across the globe and you really felt immersed inside each dome. Inside each dome you could explore different routes, some overground, some underground – our favourite was exploring routes through the canopy. You really felt like some sort of intrepid explorer! The whole experience was well thought out, you could get so close to the animals, Jacob nearly trod on a giant tortoise! There was even a zone where the snakes were roaming ‘free’.
On top of the the three tropical domes there was an outside area that had some big cats and then a farmyard petting area plus a couple of excellent adventure playgrounds. It was probably the best zoo experience I’ve ever had, really eye-opening and certainly impressed the boys. I think we were lucky with the time of year that we went, it was pretty quite, so we really got the full experience and one that I would throughly recommend.
Day 9 – Skovsnogen
Our last full day before travelling home, so we decided not to travel too far. We headed to the Deep Forest Artland at Skovsnogen which turned out to be a bit of hidden gem. We had a great morning exploring the forest and discovering all the sculptures, some very conceptual, some playful and some a bit on the creepy side! The kids loved it, you truly didn’t know what you were going to find round the next corner.
Being our last day we treated ourselves to lunch out and went to a cafe in the small town of Brande, just because it was on our way home, it was a pretty unremarkable sort of place! We picked a place called Smagshuset which turned out to be really lovely. Me and Dan both had ‘open sandwiches’, my dish was three types of fish – prawns, smoked salmon and breaded plaice all washed down with a local beer, perfect! It was the first time we’d had ‘proper’ Danish cuisine (except for the pastries!) and it didn’t disappoint.
Day 10 – Return Travel
Time to leave, a three hour drive back to Copenhagen, the flight home and then another two hours from Heathrow to home. All straightforward if pretty tiring with little ones in tow.
We loved Denmark, it was by far the best family holiday we’d had. It was easy to travel around, everything was so child friendly, the Airbnb’s were perfect. The landscape wasn’t overwhelmingly stunning but very accessible, the beaches were fantastic and the days out were all good value for money. Yes, it is expensive, especially to eat out, but with careful planning Scandinavia doesn’t need to break the bank and we felt the positives more then out weighed the negatives. Would definitely recommend Denmark to anyone, especially perfect as a first adventure with little ones.
Time to start planning the next one…