Copenhagen is a city to thrill and delight children. May Shelton, Danish-born, London-dwelling owner of Scandinavian kids’ boutique, Bonordic, guides us through the top five things to do in the city
No visit to Copenhagen is complete without a visit to the Tivoli Gardens situated in the centre of the city. Kids will enjoy going on the many old-fashioned rides or you can just enjoy the atmosphere, catch one of the open-air pantomime shows and sample some Danish treats. It’s particularly lovely on a balmy summer’s evening when it’s all lit up and there is a programme of free concerts and a fireworks display every Saturday. But the place is also magical when it’s dressed up for Christmas. I always try to visit with my kids to meet Santa and his helpers and to eat vafler (Danish waffles) and drink gløgg (mulled wine).Tivoli boasts a great choice of restaurants with Danish and international cuisine and design lovers won’t be able to resist buying a gift from Scandinavian design emporium Illums Bolighus.
KU.BE in the Frederiksberg area is a new stylish, cultural hub that offers several indoor ‘playscapes’. Split over four levels with climbing walls, tubular slides and brilliant innovative play equipment, the space invites children to move and play freely. While the kids burn off some energy, I enjoy the stunning architecture and grab a coffee and cinnamon bun from the café. There is also a public library and lots of cultural events each week so check the programme before you go.
There is a small under-fives area but as it is a free-to-use public space it can get a little busy and hectic for little people, so I think it’s ideal for school-aged children.
3. Explore the city by bike
Do like the Danes and hop on a bike to get around the city. There are now more bikes than cars in Copenhagen and with a fantastic infrastructure of dedicated cycling lanes, Copenhagen is perfect for biking. Don’t worry, if the children are not confident cyclists, you can easily hire an iconic Christiania bike – a three-wheel bike with a cargo box at the front specifically designed for kids to sit in. Take in the sights of the city and make sure to make a pit stop in the atmospheric Nyhavn area, then cycle around the harbour and visit the Little Mermaid or, on a warm day, head just 5kms out of Copenhagen towards Amager Beach Park for a long stretch of white sands and a 2km paved promenade.
4. The Blue Planet
Copenhagen has some great museums that make a great day out in cold weather (of which there are many). One of my favourites is The Blue Planet, Northern Europe's largest aquarium, located in another architecturally stunning building surrounded by water and great views. You can meet rays, sharks and otters and there is also a cool submarine playhouse. The food in the café is really good – try the meatballs or open sandwiches. It’s a 10-minute walk from the nearest train station but you will be guided by a series of artful blue benches by Danish artist Jeppe Hein which invite children to use them for climbing and playing. Last time we visited, we spent as much time playing on the benches as we did inside the aquarium.
5. Fælledparken playground
When travelling with kids we all know that no matter where in the world you are, you’ll eventually be searching for a playground when the kids need a break from all the sightseeing. Newly renovated, the ‘Tower’ playground in Copenhagen’s largest park, Fælledparken, is an interactive playground built around miniature versions of five of the city’s most famous towers. As well as inviting kids to play, climb and explore, the playground is facilitated by interactive technologies so kids can play electronic tag, solve a riddle as they visit the towers and learn about their historical significance. Combine this with a visit to the water playground, the traffic playground or the skate park which are all situated in the same park, there really is something for everybody here.
More on Fælledparken
Staying at: Ibsens, a fun, child-friendly hotel in a central location. From £46 per night.
When to go: spring and summer months (May to October) are best with kids as it can get really nippy in winter when below -0°C is normal).