Stockholm is the kind of city that will make you want to up sticks and move there so your kids can grow up bi-lingual and hip. The Swedish capital is a magical city that leaps deftly across islands between the fresh water of Malaran Lake and the salty Baltic Sea, where kids can take tea with Pippi Longstocking one minute, explore the hull of a 17th century warship the next and end up singing ‘Dancing Queen’ along with the original ABBA line-up (ok they are holograms but who cares!), whilst parents never lose the satisfying feeling that they’re in one of the hippest cities in the Western world.
Visiting Stockholm is like taking your kids to many destinations all rolled into one – linked by exciting ferries and boats. Each district has a unique feel but our favourite place for families is Djurgarden, a leafy island of royal land since the 15th century and now one of Stockholm’s most happening areas. For long-standing fans there’s the ABBA The Museum, and just a stroll away is Junibacken, the Pippi Longstocking storybook museum, perfect for energetic and inquisitive kids.
Just nearby is the Vasa Museum were kids can take in the sights of a real life man-of-war ship, which sank in 1628 on her maiden voyage and was salvaged in 1961. Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world and home to the Stockholm Zoo with native animals such as moose, bears, lynxes, wolves and seals.
Best of all is Grona Lund, Stockholm’s 130-year-old amusement park with dizzying rides for all the family – from the gentle Tuff-Tuff train to the terrifying Twister roller coaster and Eclipse, the world’s highest Starflyer where families soar at 43 miles per hour in swings high above Stockholm.
Alternatively head south to Sodermalm, to a district called SoFo (South of Folkungagatan). With parallels to London’s East End, this once deprived neighbourhood is now the place hip families live and play. Mums and dads can shop at Acne, Nitty Gritty and Swedish Hasbeens where you can pick up a pair of wooden soled shoes for yourself and your little one based on old Swedish designs.
Don’t miss: The Swedish capital spills out west into an archipelago of around 30,000 islands, the perfect excuse to rent a clapboard house or log cabin (which often come with your own row boat or kayaks) and wile away the school holidays.
Top Tip: The Stockholm Card gives free entry to more than 80 attractions and free travel on public transport and sightseeing boats, from £21 per day.
Where to eat
Pop into the Manhattan-esque Urban Deli for a fresh lunch, and don’t miss the artisanal fudge at Parlans where the girls dress in 1940s Lindy Hop style and kids can try out the flavours before you buy (we recommend the salt liquorish). This city gives you the confidence to go to stylish restaurants with young kids, so don’t miss out on the fresh fish and pickled veg at the new Oaxen Slip on the south side of Djurgarden. For something more conventional head to Villa Godthem with its glorious garden café.
Travel time: It’s a 2-hour flight and then a 45-minutes bus journey into the city.
How to get there: SAS flies to Stockholm from London Heathrow six times a day. Fares start from £137 return incl. tax and charges.
Best time to go: Spring and summer are best to enjoy all the outdoor activities.
Where to stay: Stay at the 186-room Elite Marina Tower Hotel in up-coming Saltsjokvarn with great views across the water to the fun fair. Kids love the boat trip over to the city. This modern hotel is housed in a converted flourmill and has a child-friendly pool and sauna. There’s a little playground just next door and an outdoor restaurant next to a boules court. Superior rooms at Elite Marina Tower Hotel start from £103 per night.