For me, there’s nothing more liberating than hopping on a plane to an unknown destination, with a bag on your back and money in your pocket. No cares, no worries, just anticipation and excitement. When my children were babies, the lure of city breaks and faraway, exotic destinations, once accessible to me, had to take a back seat. They were replaced by package deals and trips to Ireland and France. It was easier with two small children.
In February, my daughter turned four. We no longer needed all the baby paraphernalia and extra luggage. I no longer felt the need to confine them to a resort. It opened the door to the world and put city breaks and exotic destinations back on the table. With my son being six, it was time to change the way we travelled and where we travelled to. I would give them the best gift I could – I would show them the world, one country at a time.
Copenhagen has been voted one of the top destinations in Europe to travel with children. I love Nordic countries so where better to begin than Denmark? Copenhagen is Denmark’s capital city. It sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. Originally a Viking fishing village, Copenhagen became the capital in the 15th century.
Today, Copenhagen is a bustling, vibrant city with so much to offer.
It’s important to get your flights and accommadation right. If your hotel is not centrally located, at least make sure that it’s close to a train/metro station to allow you easy access into the centre. Likewise with flights. Research the flight and think about where you want to fly from and what time suits best. For example, if you book a flight at 5am to a European City you might find yourself wandering around once you get there as hotels don’t generally let you check in until 2pm. Likewise on the way back. Check out is generally between 11am and midday, so why not enjoy your breakfast and take your time getting to the airport? Book an afternoon flight. That’s just what I did! It’s so important to get it right, especially as you’re only there for the weekend and you have children.
I booked my flights and accommodation through Expedia. I don’t always, but I did on this occasion. Once you have decided where you you want to go and when, type it into the search box. It will bring up lots of hotels to choose from. Make sure you read all the information before you book. Check the reviews, location, distance from airport, hotel amenities and most importantly if breakfast is included. This is a must with young children!
Once you’ve chosen your hotel, it will take you to the next page to select your flights. When selecting your flight, select the airport that suits you best and also the flight times as they vary massively.
That’s our Hotel in the postcard! (Bottom Left)
For our four day trip – three nights in the Scandic Copenhagen Hotel (with full breakfast) and return flights to Luton with Ryanair we paid £476 IN TOTAL! Yes, for all four of us! Absolute bargain! Plus, if you book with Expedia, you get 1,000 Nectar points.
The Copenhagen Card
I can’t stress enough how invaluable this card was for us. It’s an essential buy. Basically, once purchased, it allows you access into over 50 places of interest, most notably, the Aquarium (Den Bla Planet), Planetarium, Zoo and the Tivoli Gardens to name but a few. We bought it for 48 hours, so within that time, you can visit everything. Not only does it include entrance in, but also all public transport including the canal and waterway boats. You can buy your card at the airport when you arrive (I did) or purchase it online before you go. You can get it for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
We paid £118 for the four of us for 48 hours. Each adult is allowed two children under the age of nine to go free. For children aged between 10 and 15, they have their own card, which comes at a discounted rate. Just to show you the value – for the four of us to get into the Aquarium alone would have been £54, and that’s not including getting the train there. This is just one place. The card comes with a booklet and a map listing everywhere you can go. So all you have to do is get out there and explore the city!
Aquarium – Den Bla Planet
I love an Aquarium but I have to say this Aquarium is absolutely amazing. It’s huge and has everything in it, even a tropical outdoor section. It really is a must see. Sections include, Ocean, Arctic Water, Tropical, Rivers and Lakes. It’s spotless and well laid out. There’s lots of space to walk around and it’s big so allow at least three hours for your visit.
One of the best littles touches in the Aquarium has to be the photo booth. Generally in Aquariums they charge a small fortune to have your pictures taken. In Den Bla Planet, there’s a photo booth where you can go, get your picture taken, then enter your email address and they email it to you – FREE! You can get as many as you like. We got a bit carried away.
The Aquarium is out towards the airport so we got a train from Central Station, take platform two to the airport (12 minutes) then got the metro one stop to Kastrup, where the Aquarium is a five minute walk away. The travel is all included with the Copenhagen Card so you don’t need to buy a ticket. I would highly recommend a visit here!
Copenhagen Zoo is home to more than 3,000 animals and over 260 different species. All kids love a zoo. We got the bus there from outside our hotel. If you’re unsure, just ask at your hotel reception and they will advise the best way to get there. Once inside the zoo, you can hire a little cart to put your children in and pull them around. It’s a great idea and stops them getting tired as it’s a huge zoo. It costs about £2 to hire. We spent about five hours walking around in there. There’s lots to see and lots of places to grab a coffee or a hotdog.
The Tivoli Gardens is one of the main attractions in Copenhagen. It is also the world’s second oldest amusement park. It has everything from terrifying rides to live music and late night fireworks. We went to the Tivoli Gardens in the evening but many people choose to go during the day. Or, you can do both? Located right in the centre of Copenhagen, it’s hard to miss it. You can spend hours walking around and there are loads of great places to eat and drink once you’re inside. It’s listed as the number one tourist attraction in Copenhagen.
Our hotel was located right next to the Planetarium, which was handy as I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to see it. It’s not a big Planetarium, but they do have a huge 3D viewing room which is pretty impressive. The Planetarium itself is not amazing, but the kids loved looking at the movie and it’s worth a trip if you’re up that way.
Taking a boat along the waterways in Copenhagen is a great way to see the city. It is a large city and by doing this, you can see everything. It might be worth doing this at the beginning of your trip so you get an idea as to where you would like to go and a general feel for the city itself. You can hop on and off as you please and it is included in the Copenhagen Card price so you pay nothing!
Copenhagen is expensive, not ridiculous, but let’s just say it’s not cheap. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive. I always ensure we get breakfast included at the hotel. That way, you can eat a big breakfast and head off for the day. Like everywhere, there are expensive places to eat and there are cheap. Hotdog vans are everywhere. They are an ideal and cheap way to eat on the go and fill a gap. They’re also great!
We ate in a few pubs. One great one is called Rosie McGee’s. There are loads of bars (Irish bars too!) and restaurants which have great food and are reasonably priced. We found these to be the best as they have great menu’s and are very child friendly. We normally ate around 5.30pm which is a good time to go as the pubs are quiet. By 7.30pm, as it starts to get busy, it’s time to go back to the hotel. So it works well.
Copenhagen is a big city so you have to be willing to get out there and explore. It’s not all in the one area, so you have to venture out and wander. It’s a fantastic city, easy to get around and find your way. English is widely spoken so you can’t really get lost. They have everything, great shopping, food, attractions and a great atmosphere. People are friendly and always willing to help. Generally, you feel safe and don’t feel threatened with small children.
I found this trip easy. We could get a train from the airport to Central Station. From there, the hotel was a 10 minute walk. Our flight times worked perfectly. We got to the hotel at 1.45pm and didn’t have to leave the hotel until 12.00pm, allowing us to sit, relax and enjoy our breakfast before we went to get our flight. But I can’t stress enough the importance of researching your trip before you go.
Although sometimes it can feel daunting taking young children on a city break, it is well worth the effort. They absolutely loved it and enjoyed the versatility of the trip. You make your own plans on your own watch and we eluded the trappings of our usual package holiday. It was fun and exciting for them and something totally different.
Two days after we came back, I booked our next one. They can’t wait.