Before we moved here, I read somewhere that if you like fairy tales, Denmark was the place for you. Not only is this country birthplace to Hans Christian Andersen, but actual castles (or palaces rather), are sprinkled throughout the country side rather liberally, ready to play pretend home to your princess dreams. Not that I have a lot of those but I do love a good palace visit.
Fredensborg Castle has been a bit of a harder visit for me to organize – not because it’s hard to get to (it’s actually quite easy) but because this little gem is still used by the Royal Family for various needs and so it is only open once they go on holiday during the summer time. And it’s not just that the Royal Family hangs out there, apparently, heads of state and other Royals do too when they’re invited for a little throw down at Fredensborg. The palace only opens to the public for about one month during the year (from July to early August). You can only see the interiors as part of a guided tour, which are in English a couple of times throughout the day and in Danish otherwise. We missed the boat on the English tour so signed up for the Danish one – I figured I was mostly there to admire the goods…Diplo-tots one and two had other plans though. Between one staging a small scale coup and the other one wanting to touch just about everything, and the rest of the crowd – clearly aficionados of royal history – nearly burning a hole in me with their eyes…well maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic but it felt like that. But between trying to keep hands off what looked to be very expensive breakables and at the pace of the tour in a language I didn’t understand, I could see we weren’t going to make it far. We gave up after three rooms (the tour is normally 90 minutes). I’m not even sure we had free reign to excuse ourselves, but I discretely pulled back and made our way out of the palace. Sometimes, you just have to know when to call it a victory as a parent. But while we didn’t last long on the tour, the gardens (which incidentally are open year round) were another story. Although my favorite gardens are still the ones at Fredericksborg, these are a close second with their manicured greens and statues and long alleyways, perfect for little ones to let their energy out. I noticed quite a few runners out that day – it seemed like a lovely place to feel like you could run forever. The gardens overlook the lake at Esrum, and I bet they look magnificent with the changing colors of the fall season.
The palace is open through August 7th (and again, gardens are year round); check the palace website with historical information and write-ups of various groups of statues throughout the park.