Ingrid Osborne and family head to Denmark’s capital during the festive season to find out why Christmas in Copenhagen is a cosy, magical experience, perfect for kids.
Once the source of great literary inspiration to Hans Christian Andersen, where many of his famed fairy-tales were penned, the vibrant city of Copenhagen has a wonderful blend of history, medieval architecture, and modern cuisine, lending itself beautifully to the magic of the festive season.
As the mercury drops, the township transforms into a cosy, candle-lit winter wonderland, making Christmas in Copenhagen something truly special.
Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market
Tivoli Gardens plays host to a sparkling Christmas market that will see its magnificent park adorned with no less than 800,000 fairy lights! Soak up the festive spirit, browse heritage gifts, before lacing up boots to enjoy a spot of ice skating on the lake.
When: Opens 11am daily, 19 November through to 31 December.
Where: Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København
Kongens Nytorv Christmas Market
The historical setting of Kongens Nytorv market square converts into a thriving Christmas market, offering an assortment of handmade decorations, winter warming eats, and traditional mulled wine.
When: Opens 11am, 18 November to 22 December 2016. Entry is free.
Where: Kongens Nytorv, 1050 København
NyHavn Christmas Market
The 17th century candy coloured buildings of NyHavn form the perfect setting to this vibrant medieval inner city Christmas market. Sample traditional foods and enjoy live music while strolling along the pier. Entry is free.
When: Opens 11am, 11 November through to 23 December.
Where: Nyhavn 1F, 1051 København
Changing of the Guards, Amalienborg Palace
It would be easy to pass by four pristine buildings, not realising that they form Amalienborg Palace, for unlike the towering fences of Buckingham Palace, the grounds of Amalienborg are surprisingly open.
Replacement guards depart Rosenborg Castle at 11.30am, heading on foot for Amalienborg Palace, arriving 12 noon sharp to complete a full guard change that also includes a gun salute. If the Queen is in residence, the Royal Guards music band will join the procession, as will flutists and drummers, should the Princes be residing.
When: Daily at Noon
Where: Amalienborg Slotsplads 5, 1257 København
Lego flagship store
Pop into the playful Lego store to source perfect stocking fillers. Models of larger than life soldiers, the painstakingly recreated buildings of NyHavn, and a roaring lion, all make for fun photo opportunitiesWhen: 10am daily. 11am on Sunday.
Where: Vimmelskaftet 37, Kobenhavn 1161
Illums Bolighus department store
As Copenhagen’s equivalent to Harrods, Illums Bolighus is a treasure trove full of beautiful Scandinavian furniture, décors, and homewares. While expensive, it’s well worth browsing for the sake of design inspiration.
When: Opens 10am daily, 11am to 6pm Sunday.
Where: 10 Amagertorv 1160 København
Conditori La Glace
It’s been said that Hans Christian Andersen visited the tearoom so often that a table was permanently reserved for him. As Denmark’s oldest confectioner, Conditori La Glace is as popular today as it was in yesteryear, with Danes coming in droves to enjoy delightfully decadent desserts.
Experience a ‘step back in time’ moment in the quaint vintage tearoom, where knowledgeable staff expertly pour loose leaf tea from silver service, and offer a broad assortment of sweet treats including handmade macaroons, velvety fruit fondants, and creamy dark chocolate ganache cakes – little (and older!) tums won’t leave hungry.
When: 8.30am to 6pm daily, 9am Saturday, and 10am to 6pm Sunday
Where: Skoubogade 3 – 1158 Kobenhavn
The lowdown: Christmas in Copenhagen
How to get there:
Ryanair, Norwegian, Easyjet, British Airways and SAS all fly from London Airports to Copenhagen, ranging from £40, one way, per person.
Travel time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
Where to stay:
Crowne Plaza, Copenhagen
A short train ride away from central Copenhagen is Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers. What it lacks in location aesthetics, it makes up for with a lush indoor forest, exceptional service, and contemporary spacious family rooms at sensible prices.
For an opulent stay in the heart of Copenhagen, palatial Hotel D’Angleterre offers an utterly blissful holiday retreat for the whole family. Benefit from its proximity to restaurants, shopping, and attractions. English speaking babysitters are also available.
Top tip: A Copenhagen Card is essential to keep transportation and attractions affordable (public transportation is free, and children under 10 receive free entry to many exhibits and events including Tivoli).
Top tip: At the time of writing (October 2016) construction works are underway in preparation for the new metro lines being installed, however the city is still beautiful, and open for business as usual.