The ‘Danish Balmoral’ and white sand beaches where King Frederik X and Queen Mary holiday

When he was just a lowly Crown Prince, Denmark’s new King Frederik X loved to travel. He visited the Burning Man festival and met his Kate Middleton-esque, Tasmanian wife, Mary Donaldson, in a Sydney bar.

Their international lifestyle is unlikely to be curtailed by his coronation (they have a chateau in France and a ski lodge in Verbier, Switzerland). However, Danish royal correspondent Trine Larsen says that Frederik X (Danish kings are named alternately Frederik or Christian) will “no doubt, like the former queen, will follow the tradition to holiday at different Danish castles”.

As Denmark’s brand-new king and queen begin their roles, we offer inspiration for how to holiday in their well-heeled footsteps.

Skagen: Denmark’s Aldeburgh

Skagen, Denmark
Custard-coloured houses are topped by slanting red roofs in Skagen (Photo: Getty)

In the summer, King Frederik and Queen Mary love Skagen, at Denmark’s northern tip, where the Baltic meets the North Sea. Think of it like a Danish version of Aldeburgh: pancake flat, with huge skies and rugged sand dunes.

Custard-coloured houses are topped by slanting red roofs and set around a small harbour. Skagen became fashionable in the 19th century thanks to the Skagen painters, who evoked the coastal landscape and uncanny, blue-tinged light. Even though the royals no longer have a house there (it was sold off in 1995), Frederik, Mary and their four children still visit. They stay, explains Trine, “with some very good friends, who have a mansion close to the beach”.

If you don’t know any such handy locals, head to the Brøndums Hotel in the heart of the little town. While you’re here, tuck into some Skagenhorn (named after the shape of the peninsula), a marzipan-filled pastry glazed with sugar, chocolate and nuts.

For more formal staycations, the elegant, white-walled Fredensborg Palace is the royal family’s official summer residence. It is used for state and special royal events. It’s a 45– minute drive from Copenhagen and has a with a wonderful, forest-hemmed, lake-side setting.

Built as a hunting palace for Frederik IV, it has 120 hectares of outdoor space, including formal baroque gardens.

Trine says: “It’s so beautiful. It’s worth coming to go walking, hiking, or biking here, and it’s only 15 minutes from Frederiksborg Castle, the setting for Hamlet.”

When the family is not in residence, you can take a guided tour to see some interiors, the chapel, and the private garden, and book into the palatial Fredensborg Store Kro on the doorstep.

Jutland: a long-standing royal haunt

Photographer: James Cripps Copyright: Destination S?nderjylland Kasper Iversen
Gråsten Palace was visited by Hans Christian Andersen (Photo: James Cripps/Destination Sønderjylland)

Vying with Fredensborg for the favourite royal getaway, is Gråsten Palace in South Jutland, a royal bolthole for almost 100 years. It was previously owned by Danish nobility, and when Hans Christian Andersen visited in 1845, he was inspired to write the Little Matchgirl.

Frederik X’s maternal grandmother Queen Ingrid loved the house, and the king spent all his childhood summers here with his cousins. It is particularly beloved by the royals, Trine says, because of its privacy.

“It is very isolated from the public. They have tennis courts and swimming pools and the kids enjoy it.”

It overlooks the large lake of Slotssøen, with public footpaths cobwebbing around the surrounding landscape. The garden, open to the public when the family is away, is known for its magnificent, regally tended flowerbeds.

Nearby, stay at Schackenborg Slotskro, a white-washed hotel on a cobblestone street, close to Schackenborg Castle, which was for years home to Prince Joachim, the new king’s younger sibling, who moved to Washington shortly after his modernising mother stripped his children of their titles. Put thoughts of family conflict aside, and explore the North Sea coast and the beautiful, windswept and bird-thronged Wadden Sea National Park.

Aarhaus: the second city

Modern Apartment Flats near the Port of Aarhus, Denmark. Aarhus is the second-largest city in Denmark and is located on the eastern shore of Jutland in the Kattegat sea and approximately 187 km northwest of capital Copenhagen.
Walk along the canal in Denmark’s second city of Aarhus (Photo: Getty)

Farther north, just outside Denmark’s second city of Aarhus, is the wedding cake-like Marselisborg Palace, one of the few properties the royal family (rather than the state) owns. It was Queen Margrethe’s favourite summer and Christmas residence.

While the family are away, the glorious palace gardens including a lavish rose garden, are open to the public. For a regal trip to Aarhus, head to the gracious Hotel Royal with more creamy cake architecture, dating from 1838, with dramatically palatial interiors that are a long way from the pared-down Scandi aesthetic.

Trend: the Danish Balmoral

Finally, the most private Danish escape for the royals is farther north still: their hunting estate in Trend. Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid built the long, wood-slatted lodge in 1935, of which Trine says: “again, they enjoy the privacy”.

It has some private land in a 431-hectare forest and is only a few kilometres from Bjørnsholm Bay, Limfjorden, where Trend River winds into the Northern Jutland landscape.

This is like the Danish Balmoral, if a good deal more modest, and the area is ideally suited to outdoor pursuits, such as beaches, fishing, and kayaking. To find your own hunting lodge away from prying eyes, check out Destination Himmerland, which has lists of providers and accommodation.

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