Mr Fox city guides are a comprehensive must-do list of places to stay, play, eat, do and shop in family-friendly cities. Compiled by writers who have tapped up the locals and thrown their children in at the deep end to bring you a tried and tested edit of the best places to be. Which leaves you nothing to do but book flights. Simple.
Compiled by Lydia Gard
If ever a city was designed with kids in mind, it’s Copenhagen. It’s small enough to explore on foot, only a short flight away and as clean, green, safe and child-friendly as you possibly could hope from a city. Add to that a superb restaurant scene, excellent design credentials and brilliant shopping and frankly, it’s hard to know why you wouldn’t just buy a one-way ticket. Oh no hang on, there’s the taxes. But you are on holiday so enjoy walking the beautifully maintained streets with happy children in tow.
Anyone with children under the age of 6 and a modicum of sense will applaud the idea of ‘hotel apartment’. Like any decent hotel there’s a huge pool (tick) a playground outside (tick) and breakfast on tap. And yet self-catering, a laundry room and sliding doors to separate bedrooms all mean that you can relax, cook at your leisure and have space to spread out, all within sensible walking distance of some of the best sights, and without the excessive room-service costs for a glass of warm milk.
(Prices per night available on request)
This is a family hotel without any compromise on style. The restaurant does the best fish and chips outside of blighty, while the rooms and living areas of this house-turned-boutique hotel are chic, simple, understated and punctuated with great art. Balconies with views over the marina and tiled rooftops feel romantic, and yet children are welcomed warmly. It’s 7kms from the city centre but close to the brilliant shopping area of Hellerup.
(A family room costs from £160 per night)
More than a little naff and nowhere near stylish, kids just love the themed rooms at Tivoli Hotel. It feels like a conference hotel, the buffet is a bunfight and the location is actually not near Tivoli, but if you an tolerate the lack of hip, you know they will lap up the toys, games, garish design and general party atmosphere.
(A family room costs from £65 per person/night)
If the children are old enough to hold out for brunch, there’s nowhere better than Saks. Unremarkable design means that the excellent coffee and hearty brunch is often overlooked, so there’ll be space for your kids to hang out with local kids, spread out their crayons and croissants while you read the papers and try and convince the waitress to bag up some coffee beans for you to take home. Everyone leaves happy. (No website: located on the corner of Sjællandsgade and Prinsesse Charlottes Gade on Nørrebro).
For delicious, 100 per cent organic food in a hip yet family friendly environment, head to the Meatpacking District, in Vesterbro and look for a huge red BOSCH sign. Inside is BioMio, a tiny new restaurant making waves in a city where the gastronomic bar is already set extremely high. Order from the chef directly and eat fresh, healthy food in a cosy room packed with young families and not a hipster in sight.
You might not find a better pizza outside of Naples. Chef David has such a dedication to Italian traditions that he’ll take it very personally if you question his methods. Authentic Carbonara is cooked with guanciale, not bacon. Lasagne shouldn’t be white and his sourdough recipe is a very, very closely guarded. But the environment is lively, noisy and fun and the wood-fired pizza is good enough to write home about.
A short walk from City Hall, this amusement park is world-renowned. Simply wave a wristband rather than muck about buying tokens, and yours is an entire day of nostaligic shooting galleries, rides like the wooden Roller Coaster from 1914, one of only a handful of roller coasters worldwide which have a brakeman on board every train. There also a superb playground in one corner and a sunken pirate ship restaurant which is bound to get you maximum parenting points. (The winter wonderland is pretty amazing too).
This historic waterfront is crammed with restaurants, cafes and ice-cream parlours. Guaranteed to be packed with tourists, it’s still worth sitting back and watching the old boats.
If the weather allows, get outside and into the parks to burn off steam. Copenhagen is small but very green and the outside spaces are so well geared towards children and play. We loved Orstedparken and Remiseparken. Faelledparken is Copenhagen’s largest park. It has children’s playgrounds, a skate park and hosts free events, such as opera, open-air concerts, and a carnival. (Oester Alle, 2100)
Danish Architecture Centre
There’s loads do at Kalvebod Bolge, the reconditioned waterfront property that houses an extremely interesting and forward thinking exhibition centre. From Lego Architects for kids to new exhibitions, Rain is Coming which investigates climate change in an exciting exhibition that everyone in the family can learn from. Outside the waterfront is buzzing with young creatives and children.
If our grimy lidos and public pools are enough to make you feel nauseous, then the DGI Byen might inspire a move to Denmark. With mountain pools, sports pools, hot baths and an inland lake, this awesome swimming centre is a great place to burn off excess energy. Arrive before 9am and it’s also super cheap.
The Blue Planet
In Northern Europe’s largest aquarium, the huge sharks, sperm whales and stingrays will delight them, while the architecture, chic environment, and lovely café over the sea will delight you. This is a destination as it’s a train ride or taxi from town and near to the airport. Take your bags and leave them in the cloakroom (though unguarded) before heading for your flight. Don’t miss the new sea otters.
National Gallery’s Children’s Gallery (Statens Museum for Kunst)
An addition to the art museum purely for children, this is a great way of introducing kids to the values in art, on their terms. Original works from the permanent collections are complemented by workshops and a cinema. Budding artists will be well met.
Die-hard LEGO fanatics must get to the Lego Store on the pedestrian shopping street Strøget in København. Apart from selling exclusive and hard-to-find sets, there is an epic ‘pick a brick’ wall as well as huge displays representing Copenhagen where these iconic, boldly-coloured bricks originated.
In curious, creative quarter Christianshavn, the apartment is a beautifully curated house within which everything form the rugs and furniture to the artwork and lighting, is for sale.
Den Blå Ballon
If you like a label but prefer not to pay through the nose, head to Den Blå Ballon in Østerbro which sells second hand children’s clothing from brands like Burberry, Oilily, Rohde, Diesel and Kenzo.
LIKE A LOCAL
Denmark has loads of taxis but try to hail one (We bet you can’t). Download the Taxi Denmark app to be ahead of the queue.
If you are flying home in the evening, dine at MASH after security. There’s a great kids menu, the kids can watch the planes, and you can eat good steak, and drink nice Barolo. Tidy.
WHEN TO GO
If you love a winter wonderland, visit Copenhagen in February when Wondercool, Copenhagen’s culture month, is in full swing. To really see the city in all it’s glory, spring and summer are beautiful, and means trips to the coast, cycling though the parks and swimming are all part of the appeal.
With special thanks to Matt B.
Know Copenhagen like the back of your hand? Disagree with any of our picks? Head to the comments below and let us know where you would go in Copenhagen.