North Sealand - the perfect place for Castles, Culture and Coastline
Gallery reference view
Tisvildeleje beach huts by Klaus Bentzen
Tisvildeleje by Klaus Bentzen
Tisvildeleje by Gitte Kennedy
Beyond the city the area of North Sealand is an easy addition to a holiday offering fascinating castles, historic monasteries, world class museums, picturesque fishing villages and some of the finest white sandy beaches along the coastline that is known as the ‘Danish Riviera’. Using its very efficient infrastructure of trains, cycle paths and quiet country roads getting around is as easy going as the Danes themselves.
New attractions this year include the M/S Maritime Museum which opens in Elsinore on 29th June. Elsinore is located 45 minutes north of Copenhagen by train and the museum, which is between Kronborg Castle and the Cultural Wharf, has been designed using sloping bridges that spiral downwards in a seashell shape inside the old dry dock. On entering the underground museum visitors will feel like being under the water. The museum will tell the story of Danish maritime tradition through ships models, paintings and photographs, while other parts of the museum include a knowledge centre, workshop facility and a café. The state of the art museum will also have many interactive attractions, including the opportunity to try navigating a ship using the stars.
Next to the Maritime museum the UNESCO listed Kronborg Castle is rich in history and drama. Known across the world as Hamlet’s Castle, each August it hosts HamletScenen , a festival dedicated to the works of Shakespeare with world-class theatre performances and outstanding actors taking to the stage in the castle courtyard. This year Shakespeare’s Globe players from London will be performing their brand new production of ‘King Lear’ on 1st, 2nd and 3rd August and a special open-air screening of Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Hamlet’, will be shown on 10th August at 9:00pm. Between 28th June – 21st July, HamletScenen presents the annual Shakespeare Puppets, a unique theatrical production using puppets, music, mimicry and sound to tell the story. This year the production is ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
Half way between Elsinore and Copenhagen the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is the equally compelling must see attraction of the region. Combining art and architecture with parkland and beautiful natural surroundings, its permanent collection is the largest in Scandinavia and includes major works by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, Bourgeois and Jorn. Every year, it hosts major international exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, photography and design. The building sits among a sculpture park with an incredible panoramic view of Øresund and the sea, creating a connection between art, nature and architecture.
More artworks are on display at the beautiful Renaissance Frederiksborg Castle, which is surrounded by a stunning Italianate Baroque garden at Hillerød. The impressive red brick castle was built as a symbol of King Christian IV’s power and today houses the Museum of National History, recording 500 years of Danish history, with a large collection of royal portraits. Within the collection are a number of contemporary pieces such as an Andy Warhol portrait of Queen Margrethe II, and a portrait of Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, which has been woven from newspapers. Until 28th July 2013, the Portrait Now! exhibition is taking place, with a huge display of portraits interpreted in different styles in the Princess Wing of the castle.
Near to Frederiksborg, on the banks of Lake Esrum, the elegant Fredensborg Palace has recently become the new home to Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary and their young family. A visit is a must for Royal watchers, especially during the summer, when the palace is open and if the Royal Family is actually staying, visitors can witness the changing of the guard just before midday. Throughout its history the palace has hosted many heads of state and there is a long running tradition that these state leaders inscribe their names in one of the palace windows with a diamond pen. The palace grounds also provide the perfect summer setting for open air events and concerts. Visitors can even sail from the palace garden across Esrum Sø, Denmark’s second largest lake.
Just north of Esrum Lake stands the impressive Esrum Kloster & Møllegård dating back to the 12th century. It was an important centre for monastic life in Denmark for many centuries and is on the North European Pilgrimage Route. Today the abbey houses a permanent exhibition to its history and still maintains its large garden, growing much of its own produce which is then used in the production of beer, salt, vinegars and honey, for purchase in the Abbey’s shop and Café Daniels Kilde. There is also a varied programme of cultural events and activities each year; these include the annual Medieval Market on 22-23 June 2013. Transporting guests back to the Middle Ages, meet jousting knights, formidable sword fighters, pennant wavers, musicians and jesters alongside traditional food stalls in this vibrant and colourful event.
Heading out to the coast the natural landscapes of the North Sealand and its 1,700km of beaches offer some of the best bathing spots in Denmark with clean, clear water and sheltered sandy beaches.
Known as the Danish Riviera, the string of popular seaside towns include Tisvildeleje where white sandy beaches are backed by the nearby forest of Tisvilde Hegn and hidden among the large sand dunes are hundreds of colourful beach huts, which have become symbolic of the town. There are plenty of activities for visitors, such as crab fishing, kayaking, mountain biking and shopping, with accommodation available in a classic seaside hotel, such as the Helenkilde Badehotel or the Tisvildeleje Strandhotel.
At the neighbouring town of Liseleje the shallow waters are perfect for swimming and every August, the annual Kattegat Kite Festival takes place along its beach. Visitors can join in by building and flying a kite, or just sit back to marvel at the spectacle. Close by it's possible to rent a holiday cottage, stay at a bed-and-breakfast or even sleep under the stars at a campsite. Throughout the summer many of the towns hold their own harbour festivals, including the pretty little fishing town of Hornbæk, whose event is taking place from 26-28 July. The west side of the harbour is perfect for sun bathers, while its East side is more suited to cycling, surfing, running or even hunting for amber that is washed up along the shore. One of the best ways to take in the area is from a little wooden carriage on the Veteran Train. Linking many of the towns along the northern coast during the summer months this lovingly restored vintage steam locomotive takes passengers on a scenic journey with views of the sea and the peaceful North Sealand countryside.
Copenhagen is well served by daily flights from across the UK using SAS, BA, Norwegian and Easyjet.
Accommodation is available in a variety of hotels, hostels, B&B’s and campsites and private houses.
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