Whisper it: Now’s the time for the C word.
Spring has sprung, the morning chorus is getting louder, daffodils are out in bloom, lambs are leaping – so it’s the perfect time … to start thinking about Christmas. Yes, it’s controversial to be slipping the C word into a family travel blog at a time when most of us are still recovering from the festive marathon but it pays to be prepared if you want to get the pick of the wintery wonders ahead.
We’ve done a Disney December, we’ve gone reindeer spotting in the season to be jolly and we’ve hibernated in the snowy Highlands of Scotland in the winter – but a Copenhagen Christmas will always hold a special place in our hearts.
As a capital, there’s a distinctly village-like feel that makes for a far more family friendly destination than most of Europe’s main cities. The picture postcard waterside setting helps, so too does a genuinely warm welcome at every turn and almost unnervingly spotless streets.
We made the Scandinavian sojourn in the days before we travelled with way too much luggage – a party of three, rather than five back then. Two and a smidgen really, with the littlest of the clan celebrating his first birthday in style whilst on his travels. Carlsberg don’t do first birthdays … for good reason, I suppose.
Because we weren’t so organised back then (spontaneity was still a thing), we were late to the Christmas accommodation party and based ourselves out of the city centre at the airport’s Hilton hotel ( Clarion Copenhagen Airport Hotel as of 01st April 2017 ).
Thanks to the incredibly efficient public transport system, it proved to be a perfect solution – with a short hop on the regular trains taking us right to the heart of the city with minimal fuss.
There’s so much to see and do in Copenhagen, from pictures with the Little Mermaid to the charm of the Nyhavn district (where, you’ll be glad to know, kids are most definitely welcome in that Scandi way).
If you time it right though, you’ll hit the wintery jackpot by arriving in time for Christmas at the Tivoli Gardens.
The gardens are open mid-April to mid -September and then again from mid-November through to the end of December where each year they’re transformed into a glistening, shimmery hub of enchanting festivities (fuelled by more than a vat or two of glogg, the traditional local mulled wine that warms the heart as well as other vital organs amid the plummeting temperatures of December in northern Europe).
With a Christmas market, good food, music and – as you’d expect from the second oldest amusement park in the world – fairground rides for all ages in a truly unique setting, it makes for memories that will stand the test of time. To be fair, those memories also include a crystal-maze type search for bananas to satisfy the cravings of a weaning toddler, but that’s all part of the fun of travelling with kids.
With a one-year-old in tow, we were very much pre-Lego – so despite its reputation as a wallet sapping destination, survived Copenhagen without too much of a dent in the bank balance.
With regular flights from our base in Aberdeen, and our northern neighbours actually quicker to reach by air than Spain or France, we’ve certainly got a return trip pencilled on the ‘to visit’ list.
Sadly a misplaced memory card means that credit for the photographs for this post are to the Copenhagen Media Center. (Please click on the individual photographs for the Individual photographer credits)