Friday, 20 November 2015

A February half-tern Danish delight for £25

Copenhagen rocks! This city is a beautifully fresh introduction to the wonders of Scandinavia and, with 'The Bridge' back on BBC4, Denmark is a fashionable destination. Next February half-term, there are flights to the capital city for just £25 return from London Luton.

Now, my Midlands friends, don't be put off by a London airport because Luton is accessible for all.  It's immediately off the M1 and just over an hour and a half's drive from Birmingham. Additionally, many low-cost airlines fly from this Bedfordshire hub: Easyjet, Ryanair and Wizz Air are always sure guarantees of cheap flights to European treasures.

So, Copenhagen. Just an hour's flight from the UK, it's a perfect destination for a family. Child-friendly and easily walkable, there's lots to do for free!

The first thing that hits you about Copenhagen is the bikes.  Everyone cycles everywhere and the city is geared up for the two-wheeled commuter.  The cycle lanes are mammoth and cyclists are definitely the kings of the road as you approach the centre of this city.  As you would expect for a city with such a green vision, the public transport networks are excellent and allow a family visitor plenty of scope for exploring the region.

Copenhagen itself is a city perfect for the feet and children will love walking through the districts.  Our favourite part of the city is Nyhavn.  There's plenty of people-watching to be had whilst you sit outside a bar, drinking a pint of Carlsberg or Tuborg, imagining the carousing and cajoling of sailors from yesteryear's Danish history.  Or, perhaps, the more literary types among you would rather sit and remark upon Denmark's favourite son, Hans Christian Andersen who lived here for most of his life and is responsible for Copenhagen's famous bronze daughter, The Little Mermaid.

A ten minute walk from Nyhavn is Slotsholmen, the home of the national government.  Connected to the rest of the city by a series of bridges over the canal, the palace courtyard is open to the general public.  If you were an avid viewer of the BBC4 drama "Borgen", you'll identify some of the locations featured in the political drama.  Also within the parliamentary complex is the Christiansborg Palace Tower, a 106 metre tower with panoramic views of Copenhagen.  It's free to take the elevator to the top and it's worth the trip to get a sense of how the city unfolds below you.

The Nationalmuseet at Frederiksholms Canal is another sight not to be missed.  It is filled with Danish history and, what you don't know about Vikings after you've spent a few hours in this amazing museum isn't worth knowing!  Viking weaponry, Iron Age collections and Bronze Age relics are all there for the viewing and, as the museum is free, it's a cheap afternoon's entertainment and education for the family.

If you're wanting to escape the city and see a bit more of Danish life, then the excellent option  of a 'Round the Sound' trip is for you. This travel pass makes the most of Scandinavia's public transport system and involves travelling by train  up the coast of Denmark towards Helsingør where you can visit the eponymous castle, home of Shakespeare's Hamlet.  The trip then continues across the water on a twenty minute ferry crossing to Helsingborg in Sweden.  The intrepid traveller then travels south to Malmo by train before crossing the famous Øresund Bridge which connects the two countries.  The ticket is valid for two days and you can jump on and off transport as you wish, staying overnight in Malmo if you fancy exploring Sweden's third largest city.  Reasonably-priced at £60 for a family of four, it enables you to have a taste of Scandinavia without having to hire a car. 

Practically, accommodation will be your main expense in Copenhagen but avoiding hotels will reduce the costs dramatically. Self-catering properties are of a particularly high standard in his city and, if you're a fan of minimalist Ikea-type furnishings, then you'll love the trendy rental possibilities found on Trip Advisor and  Even with accommodation thrown into the financial mix, a few days in this city shouldn't cost more than £500 for a family of four, even with all the activities mentioned in this blog.

So, if you're a fan of BBC4 Scandi dramas or if you just want a citybreak with fresh air, Viking history and fairytales, then you're in for a treat with 'wonderful wonderful' Copenhagen.

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