Spread across a myriad islands with a population of only five and a half million (about as many as Scotland), Denmark is a remarkably successful country: Danes are said to be happier in their daily lives than anyone else in the world. It is no surprise, therefore, to find many well-loved exceptional gardens that reflect the nation’s finest qualities. Appropriately, as the Danish royal family is held in high regard, we include a visit to the private gardens of Fredensborg Palace, a favourite of Queen Margrethe II. The nation is also renowned for being environmentally aware (with more than twice the number of bicycles than cars on its roads) hence our visit to a productive roof garden at ØsterGro, supplying vegetable boxes to the city’s residents. Danish designers are well known for their work in furniture but we also see evidence of innovative design in parks and gardens throughout the tour. We are based on the island of Zealand, starting in Copenhagen at the harbour-side Copenhagen Admiral Hotel: the best of modern design set in a converted grain-drying warehouse with its own elegant and stylish restaurant, SALT, all rooms with harbour views. We then move to the south of Zealand to the charming Hotel Frederiksminde. Set alongside Præstø Fjord, this luxury hotel is a stately 1890 manor house just a few steps from the beach.
Day 1: Friday 7th July
Depart 09:55 from London Heathrow on flight BA0814, arriving in Copenhagen at 12:55. We travel first to the King’s Garden in central Copenhagen for a late lunch in the Orangeriet followed by a visit to the well-kept University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden. The garden holds the largest Danish collection of living plants and is a good place to start the tour to obtain an understanding of what grows well in Denmark. After checking in at The Admiral Hotel we dine together at SALT, the hotel restaurant.
Day 2: Saturday 8th July
We drive out of Copenhagen to North Zealand and Fredensborg Palace where the Queen and Prince Consort live for extended periods of time, hosting state banquets and entertaining nobility and guests of state. The beautiful Baroque-style palace has the largest historical gardens in the country and our visit will include a special guided tour. To appreciate Modern Art & Design in Denmark a ‘must see’ is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art with free time to explore the galleries, eat in the wonderful café or just sit and admire the panoramic view of Sweden across the Sound. On the return journey to Copenhagen we have a special invitation from Peter Wibroe to see his exquisite garden, Exillion. We return to the hotel for free evening to explore Copenhagen
Day 3: Sunday 9th July
Heaven or Hell? Thoughts about visiting a pleasure park with noisy rides and colourful attractions may not be your thing, but Tivoli is nothing short of a national treasure. We are honoured to have been offered an early-bird tour to see the immaculately maintained and cleverly planted park and to hear about Tivoli’s fascinating history, entering the park while all is quiet, before the public arrive and rides begin. You’ll then have free time in Copenhagen to get your own lunch or explore before leaving. We stop en route at ØsterGro Roof Garden to see the great variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs grown by a small team of dedicated gardeners on the roof of a former factory. We then travel on to Hotel Frederiksminde to check in and to share a buffet meal together.
Day 4: Monday 10th July
Petersgaard is a traditional 18th Century manor house surrounded by roses and a green romantic landscape. Vordingborg Botanisk is a medicinal botanical garden designed by G N Brandt, one of Denmark’s most talented landscape architects of the early 20th century. After a lunch of traditional Danish food at a small restaurant, we cross the elegant iron bridge to the island of Møn to visit a private garden of distinction. Early evening, we wend our way to Gisselfeld Paradehuset, a remarkable late 19th Century orangery where Stig Lauritsen and Greg Kobett have overseen the restoration and filled the large glasshouse with rich displays of exotic plants, finding room also for a shop crammed with an eclectic range of goodies. We see the carp ponds and an old fisherman’s cottage with a small piscatorial museum before enjoying Danish-style hospitality with Stig and Greg.
Day 5: Tuesday 11th July
A short journey away we find Marianne Folling’s intriguingly complex perennial garden before visiting Gartneri Toftgaard, a unique tomato nursery, enjoying a tomato-themed lunch before returning to the airport to check in at 16:15 for the 18:15 return flight to London Heathrow on BA0819 arriving at 19:20.
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