Hands down, my kids’ favorite thing to do in Denmark was…okay, fine, it was LEGO House and its original ancestor LEGOLAND, of course, but next best was Frederiksborg Slot (also known as Frederiksborg Castle), that castle to end all castles, located just a short train ride from Copenhagen. Denmark’s Museum of National History is housed in Frederiksborg Castle, and it’s gorgeous. If you are visiting Copenhagen with kids, skip Tivoli Gardens and head to Frederiksborg Castle. Trust me.
Why Kids Will Love Frederiksborg Slot
Frederiksborg Slot is the largest Renaissance castle in Northern Europe, and has been referred to as the Scandinavian Versailles.
This is a real castle, and our kids’ jaws dropped from the minute they crossed the moat. They loved studying the family crests that lined the tight stairwells and gilded chapel in the center of the castle.
I love Denmark because Denmark loves families. When you pay your entrance fee at Frederiksborg Castle, make sure to ask for their guide for kids. It’s free, and when they complete it, they can turn it in at the gift shop at the end for a “little prize.” (Spoiler alert: it was a postcard and pencil for us, so my nine-year-old was pretty disappointed, but at least it kept them going!)
The kids’ “picture trail” museum guide was full of quizzes and puzzles that were NOT easy, and even the grownups had to search hard for answers. It forced the kids to actually study the art and ask docents for help, which was great.
In the slightly creepy basement (as all castle basements should be), Frederiksborg Slot has a children’s museum that says it’s only open on “holidays.” Don’t let this put you off as summer is counted as “holidays.” And it’s amazing down there!
In the basement, kids can try on some serious period costumes, from heavy coats of armor and crowns to dreamy princess gowns; learn to write with quill and ink; investigate the treasure box in the back; study paintings of young royalty from the past, and more. The accommodating staff all spoke English.
Frederiksborg Slot: Know Before You Go
Like most museums, you’ll be asked to leave bags in lockers. Like most castles, this castle is huge, meaning little legs are likely to get very tired.
Something I did not anticipate about castles: the only bathrooms were in the basement. Also, it’s easy to get lost in castles. My four-year-old had to go as soon as we were up at the top (of course). My husband and I lost each other for upward of an hour. Yes, it was a terrible disaster. So…bathroom preparation and a meeting place, maybe?
There is a formal restaurant on the castle grounds, but if you have little ones that are likely to get hungry, make sure you bring snacks (to be eaten outside the museum, of course). The grounds are large, and we had pretty cranky kids by the time we had walked back and found a place to eat in Hillerød.
There is a lovely path around the lake by Frederiksborg Slot, so make sure you take your time and leave yourself the day to explore. If anyone in your family is under five years of age, I expect you’ll need to spend some time communing with the ducks and eating ice cream. I know we did!
Getting to Frederiksborg Castle
To get to Frederiksborg Slot, take the train from Copenhagen (Train A from Vesterport station) to Hillerød Station. The train ride is about 40 minutes.
From Hillerød train station, it’s only supposed to be about a 20-minute walk to the castle. Assuming, of course, that you don’t get lost, like we did. As you head out of the station, veer right. And use your map!