Over the Christmas break I had the pleasure of swapping the London/Brighton bustle for the leisurely cobbles of Danish life. Other than the fact that the Danes love their pastry they also love cosy corners, shearling rugs and warm gløgg – that’s a little spiced drink known as mulled wine to you and I, but liquid hygge to them (you can read all about that funny word that sounds like a burp here). Ok so wintry scene, good food, warm roomy clothes… You begin to see where, dear reader, the obsession with visiting Copenhagen all began. Also, Eddie Redmayne’s been there which means it must be cool, so I had to visit purely to stroke a canal boat that he may or may not have touched. And then never wash my hands again.
So suitable amount of waffle done, shall we get to it? *Jumps up to help rescue boyfriend’s severed finger* #FirstTimeCuttingAButternutSquashSurvivor
Confession – even with his pinkie hanging by a thread, I still hesitated over which nice tea towel to sacrifice as a bandage – and the world’s worst gf award goes to… BUT, I did dial in fellow nurse friends for advice, run down to the shop to get a Lucozade, a Mars bar and microporous tape so I think I redeemed myself. Bearing in mind it is 8pm and I managed to find somewhere that sold microporous tape. Remember me when those Pride of Britain Awards come round eh?
Kitchen knife dramas aside, we were about to delve into some lovely Danish things to do. We were lucky enough to go to Copenhagen over Christmas which meant the city was beautifully lit with fairy lights aplenty and gløgg was rife. Happy. Days. Here’s my round up of just some of the things you can get up to in the city that (pretty much) always sleeps.
1. Go to Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli is basically Copenhagen’s very own Disneyland – in fact, it inspired Walt Disney so much that he visited several times before opening his very first Disneyland in California. It was so good we went twice and we were only there for 3 nights! It’s so much more than just an amusement park, so even if you’re not one for rides, its nostalgic atmosphere is enough to warrant a visit. Warm your hands on a glass of gløgg, watch the dazzling illuminations over the lake and enjoy all the delicious snacks from crepes to traditional aebleskiver *translation: pancake balls* Let me tell you there’s only one thing
batter better than pancakes and that’s pancake balls garnished with strawberry jam and icing sugar my friend. In the summer, it’s just as beautiful – I hear talk of lawns lined with tulips and hyacinths, which makes the flower-addict in me ever so slightly desperate to go back. Oh and also they have a cute aquarium on site with a really good guide – he feeds the octopus at around 5pm. I should know, I stayed to watch the whole thing but appaz, this octopus, we’ll call him Hank, was ready to retire and had lost his appetite, so maybe by the time you go they’ll have a fresh young’un in the water ready to gobble up some pancake balls or summin’.
2. Do a harbour tour
Live like Rosie and Jim for an hour and take in the beautiful city sights by boat. Even on a freezing cold December’s day, you’ll be perfectly toasty sailing along on The Old Ragdoll thanks to the handy glass roof and heating. You’ll learn all about Copenhagen’s opera house, The Black Diamond library, home to all the books ever published in Denmark, you’ll see the famous Little Mermaid statue and the adorable dinky house boats floating along minding their own business. Costing around £10, it’s the perfect way to see Copenhagen if you’re on a budget. If you’ve got time I’d recommend walking or biking it to Nyhavn (the canal district) too, that way you can really enjoy gawping at all the cute Balamory coloured houses. Notting Hill’s got serious comp!
3. Eat at Väkst
If you can’t get in at one of the world’s best restaurants Noma (you’ll literally be waiting at least 10 years unless you’re Kim K), then try this little gem. As luck would have it, it was actually attached to our hotel so we had every excuse to pull up a pew in this charming greenhouse. The whole menu is locally sourced, organic and fresh AF, which means it changes on the regular depending on what fruit and veg is in season. I had the pork cheeks with celery, hazelnuts, horseradish, pork crackling and ribbons of raw apple. YUM. The Ginger Wizard had beef tenderloin with mushrooms, onions and veal bacon. Well, he had half of it merhahaha. Väkst celebrates homegrown farm-to-table cuisine in a very informal, roll up your sleeves and let grains get stuck in your beard kinda way. And, ‘cos of its whole urban gardening theme, there’s plenty of botanical babes to gawp at too. Oh I do love a pot plant – shame I killed mine within 3 months. I mean, even if you’re not a holistic foodie hellooo – there’s a garden party going down and you’re invited. You’d be a fool not to get your fingers green fellas (I stupidly forgot to bring my camera along on the night we went for dins, but luckily the lovely guys at Vaskst helped a girl out. Without further ado, I present le shelfie goals!)
4. Climb the Rundetårn
We had a couple of hours to burn before making our way to the airport and a friend had recommended climbing the round tower to experience the beautiful panoramic view of the city. It’s only 114ft so your baby quads won’t be hating on you too much. There’s also a beautiful 17th century church next door called Trinitatis Kirke with a lovely silver and gold organ – I had to try and dodge the woman with her Henry hoover out dusting off all the pews to get a decent photo, but the magpie in me persevered. AND WON. Decked out with a pair of sexy spruces either side of the altar, it was like I was right there in the middle of the Home Alone church wondering if Old Man Marley would turn up with his snow shovel and start belting out some jingles.
5. Eat at Paper Island
Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ve already dedicated a whole bullet point to a restaurant but this is a totally different culinary experience, I promise. Plus I figured, what even is a city break if you don’t stop for a coffee and a snack on the hour every hour? I rest my
case chins. Imagine a warehouse, on its very own island with nothing but buns keeping it afloat. Well not just buns, but sh*t loads of food. And not just Danish food but street food from all over the world. Oh mama. Again, we went there twice because The Ginger Wizard gave me food envy with his badass burger the first time round – despite the fact I had a huge Brazilian platter to feed the five thousand in front of me. They have everything from pecking duck and chips to winter stews and history-making burgers. Your eyes will be bigger than your belly but just go with it, the food coma is totally worth it. Oh and the name, well it used to be where they kept all the print paper – nothing to do with going in the size of a small sheet of A5 and leaving as a life-size cardboard cut out of Hagrid, much to my disappointment.
6. Go to the Botanisk Have
A big ol’ palm house, Denmark’s largest collection of living plants and a beautiful rustic spiral staircase, sounds like a gardener’s paradise right? Little warning though, it gets pretty damn sweaty in there v. quickly, so maybe peel off a couple of those dank layers before you mount the staircase. And on another note make sure you get there before 4pm. We turned up at half 4 after spending the day at the zoo and got nothing but palmed off so yeah, check the opening times LC.
I always find that with any city break you do a lot of walking and mooching around and Copenhagen, especially at Christmas time, is perfect for it. Do a crawl of the Christmas markets, road test their specialities, go to the Royal Copenhagen to see the Christmas table exhibition and if you’re looking for a hipster hangout you should take a detour to Christiania. We didn’t stay there long ‘cos it felt like a scene from Adulthood but it was cool to see a very different side to CPH life! We also went to Magasin du Nord, Copenhagen’s answer to London’s Selfridges and of course it was done up in all its festive glad rags and looking mighty fine with it. We even had time to see the new Star Wars movie – in English, obvs, ‘cos my Danish is limited to alcoholic beverages and food.
What’s left to know? Well, if you haven’t had a gløgg and a handful of balls by 11am, you’re not doing Copenhagen right. Go there, eat, drink and be merry already. Love you bye!