Enjoy park life
No one comes to Copenhagen without visiting Tivoli – the leafy pleasure gardens are by far the most popular attraction in Denmark. They're conveniently located slap bang in the centre of the city, and their blend of old-fashioned fun and harum-scarum rollercoasters means they should appeal to children of all ages.
You pay to get in (though children under 8 are free, and you get free entry with the Copenhagen Card) and then again for each ride you go on (25–75kr); this can quickly mount up, so it usually works out cheaper to buy a pass that gives you unlimited rides. It's worth making a day of Tivoli, as the evening illuminations that light up the park are quite magical.
Image courtesy of www.visitcopenhagen.com
Play the slots
One of the most attractive buildings in central Copenhagen, Rosenborg Slot is a Disney-esque Dutch Renaissance castle set in in the beautiful surroundings of Kongens Have.
Of most interest to children are the lavish Great Hall, where three prowling silver lions guard the king and queen’s elaborately carved thrones; the far plainer throne that is Christian IV’s simple drop toilet; and an impressive armoury of ceremonial weapons.
Rosenborg’s crown jewels, though, are exactly that: the sapphire-studded Crown of the Absolute Monarchs and a sparkling set of jewellery that belonged to Queen Sophie Magdalene, all of it mounted with emeralds and encrusted with diamonds.
Take to the water
One of the best introductions to the city, the hour-long canal tour is a great way to explore the intricate network of waterways that make up central Copenhagen.
Tours leave from a pier opposite the island of Slottsholmen or from picturesque Nyhavn, a cul-de-sac canal lined with brightly painted merchants' houses, and weave their way through the old town, around Christiansborg Palace and out into Indrehavn, where the diminutive statue of the Little Mermaid gazes out to sea from a rock in Copenhagen Harbour.
Introduce your kids to hygge
Copenhagen is a great place to try your hand at hygge, the appealing, quintessentially Danish concept of cosiness. Various components contribute to a well-rounded feeling of hygge (pronounced “hoo-gir”), including spending time with family (tick), coming in from the cold and lighting lots of candles (the Danes use more candles than anyone else in Europe apparently), and, most importantly of all, good food.
For a maximum dose of hygge, take your children to Grød, a mini chain of porridge bars who serve up soul-strengthening bowls of steaming oats for breakfast (sweet) and lunch (savoury) in trendy Torvehallerne market.
In the evening, nothing beats a communal dinner at Absalon, a colourfully converted old church in Vesterbro, where locals, young and old, come together to share hearty home-cooked meals (50kr, free for under-9s) check-by-jowl around rows of squeezed-together tables.