Anyone with older kids knows the perils of planning a holiday to please this demanding techno-generation. It’s got to be pretty good to drag them away from their screens, but throw some outdoor adventure, animals and amusement parks into the mix and you just might be able to inspire some enthusiasm. A big ask? Well, I have just the place: Stockholm!
You might not think that a city has got the chops to cut it as the perfect family destination, but remember, they do it a little differently in Scandinavia. This is not just any city. Child friendly? You bet. Parent friendly too? Now there’s your bonus!
The thing about Stockholm is that its culture is cleverly disguised as fun to appeal to the kids. You might not have thought you’d be taking them to museums, but these ones you won’t want to miss.
This place is catnip for kids, filled to the brim with some mind-blowing interactive technological displays. Set aside an entire day to explore (because, yes, you’re going to have fun too!) and make the most of the exhibits. Children can play amateur DJ, star in their own video game and bring their imaginative ideas to life in the superb Megamind. The sky’s the limit at Tekniska and (don’t tell them) they’ll be learning at the same time.
Say it quick and they won’t even recognise the word culture in the amazingly vibrant Kulturehuset. Along with cafes and restaurants, the complex houses numerous bookshops, libraries and theatre and dance spaces. But the most appealing spot for youngsters is in their very own Rum för Barn (which translates as the room for children), where they can take part in a host of activities.
Top Tip: Kids will love the Marionetteatern puppet theatre – many of the shows are in English.
Getting out is what it’s all about around the Swedish capital, and there’s a host of adventurous activities suitable for some amazing family days out.
Who doesn’t love a fun park? Grönalund has all the regular rides, activities and ghost houses of an amusement park, but its location means that getting there by ferry is extra fun. There’s lots of live music and performances every day and some of the more daring rides take you right out over the water. Thrills-a-plenty!
This is my absolute top pick for children and adults alike; this amazing open-air museum is more than 130 years old. There’s so much history and culture packed into its surrounds, with traditional arts, crafts and architecture, but the highlight is the chance to get up close and personal to some of the animals, which include:
You can make a day of it, as there are several restaurants on site.
Exploring Under your Own Steam
For energetic families, the opportunity to explore the city centre by bicycle along the excellent network of bike lanes is a dream (Djurgården is completely traffic free). Kids will also love the thrill of getting out in a kayak to discover the city sights from the water by traversing between the various islands (watch for boating traffic though). Other outdoor experiences I can highly recommend are:
- A visit to the Butterfly House
- An afternoon in the Humlegården
- A day spent wandering through the vast Hagaparken
Where to Stay
Scandic Upplands Väsby: One of the best places from which to explore everything the city and surrounds have to offer, the Scandic Upplands Väsby provides a host of facilities for families to enjoy. From the comfortable, spacious family rooms (some with fun bunk beds for the kids), to the free bikes, hot tub, sauna and complimentary breakfasts, you might find it hard to drag the kids away.
Biz Apartment Gärdet: Perfect for a comfortable family stay, Biz Apartment Gärdet offers spacious apartments with excellent fast transport links to take you the short distance to the city centre. The apartments have free wired Internet and cable TV to keep the kids occupied, and excellent kitchen and laundry facilities to keep self-catering parents happy.
Scandic Hotel Hasslebacken: Perfectly positioned close to the beach and all the attractions, the kids will love that the Scandic Hotel Hasslebacken, set on Djurgården Island. The spacious rooms include satellite TV and free Wi-Fi, but children will also enjoy the dedicated playroom with movies and games. Best of all, the hotel is just 400m from Grönalund Amusement Park and a 10-minute tram ride from the centre.
How to Get There
When you’re travelling with kids, the last thing you want is a long flight. Getting to Stockholm couldn’t be quicker or easier: from UK airports it will only take around 2 hours and 15 minutes. There are plenty of direct flights to Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) available with multiple carriers including easyJet, British Airways and Norwegian.
Once you’ve landed at the airport, I’ve found the most convenient way to get into the city (especially with kids and luggage) is on a pre-booked transfer with Shuttle Direct. They have a super easy online booking system, and a local driver will be there to meet you and take you wherever you need to go. It only takes around 35 minutes to get into the centre and I’ve found them to be extremely competitive with their prices.
About Shuttle Direct
If you’re travelling with your family and want a hassle-free way to get from the airport to your accommodation in Stockholm, look no further than Shuttle Direct. We’re the most trusted provider of airport transfers throughout Europe and North Africa and we know just how to make travelling a breeze. Make a simple online booking before you leave home and one of our trusted, professional drivers will be there to meet you. What could be easier?