Travel: Copenhagen With Kids
Copenhagen embodies the Scandi emphasis on a healthy balance between family and work life. Compact, clean, safe and low-fi, its distances are short, greenery and water is never far, and children are welcome everywhere. But it’s also expensive, so our favourite things to do are also gentle on our pockets.
Kaspar, 5, and Magnus, 8, at the Harbour Bus
In Copenhagen, the water’s pull is magnetic, so in good weather, that’s where we are. The yellow harbour buses zigzag the city’s main waterway, taking in iconic sights like the Opera House, Nyhavn, Islands Brygge harbour pool and the Black Diamond. We go to the very end – which takes an hour – for the quiet Sluseholmen harbour pool in Sydhavn, hitting the good supermarket for a pontoon picnic.
This gently sloped platform stretches out between Amalienborg Palace and the Opera House. On Fridays, we grab a six pack and takeaway pizza from Lagano and take it to Ofelia Plads where the kids scoot, I dive into the cool, clean harbour and we watch people cruise by on boats. There are street food trucks and open-air bar Luftkastellet, where DJs play and people lounge on deckchairs.
Set in a grand old building, this is Scandinavia’s chief exhibition space for Danish and Nordic industrial design and crafts. Its permanent collection is lovely, but my boys’ love the ‘Learning From Japan’ exhibition (samurai swords and intricate armour; on until summer 2018), while mine is a show of pieces by Danish haute couture designer, Erik Mortensen. The pretty garden is a welcome respite in this tourist part of town.
In family-friendly Østerbro, the vast, Fælledparken is home to trampolines, assault coursing, giant swings, and skate, scooter and water parks. But we have heart-eyes for Tårnlegepladsen, whose bright climbing structures are fashioned after the city’s iconic towers, and for Trafiklegepladsen’s small roads, cycle lanes, roundabouts and working traffic lights. Coffee carts and waffle wagons abound, and there’s delicious lunch at child-friendly Enigma in the park’s southeast corner.
An example of Copenhagen’s easy-on-the-eye urban design, this gently undulating concrete space includes a shallow skating ‘bowl’ and a steep-stepped structure edged by a manmade stream. Covered market Torvehallerne is across the street and rustic La Fiorita pizzeria is a couple of blocks away. Ørsteds Park and Botanical Garden are nearby for ornamental greenery.
Our just-us hangs
When untethered by kids, my husband Adrian and I make for Ryesgade, a quiet street linking the Nørrebro and Østerbro neighbourhoods. At La Esquina, we scoff brunch platters, huevo al plato for lunch, or burgers for dinner, heading along the street for dessert at Instagrammable pastry shop, Leckerbaer. Later on, we love to drink beer at lakeside Søernes Ølbar.