Absolutely never would have expected myself to be writing about the small, Swedish University town of Lund because honestly not only did I not know it existed until not too long ago, but even when I learnt of it, I had always pictured us traveling to more renowned and cosmopolitan cities with the boys. Never say never right?
My husband had travelled to Lund a few month before us for work as who would have guessed it, his company’s head office is there. He came back with tales of bitter cold, (duh, Scandinavian country surrounded by icy waters), endless hours of darkness (did I mention he went in the dead of winter) and an excitement and eagerness to share it with us that I had not expected. A few months later, we made the impulsive decision to head over to Denmark during the Eid al Adha long weekend (because, you know, cheap flights, valid visa’s etc). Lucky for us, the rest of the world had decided to head to Copenhagen too and so all available accommodation was beyond exorbitantly priced. This pretty much caused a flurry of panic until Wils pipes up that you know, Lund is a mere hour train ride across the Øresund (one of three straits that connects the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean) from Copenhagen. A quick google search revealed several accommodation options (we chose StayAt and highly recommend it if you are looking for a chilled, simple and cost-effective option with kiddies). Which was how we ended up in Lund!
Lund is believed to have been founded in 990, though how and why remains largely unknown. Three things in my mind epitomise Lund, the ancient and well-preserved history, an amazing university and nature as far as you can see. The latter would impress anyone let alone four desert dwellers like us 🙂 When living in a country that did not exist just over four decades ago, to be confronted with something so old and steeped in so much history is initially overwhelming. Old town Lund, still boasts cobble stoned roads and the Lund Cathedral consecrated in 1145 and yet it is also home to the first Sustainable Mobility initiative in Sweden.
It makes for an incredibly interesting trip on your own or with kids, these are the activities we recommend you give a try with your family:
Kulturen in Lund is part of a larger non-profit organisation with various cultural and historical locations throughout Sweden. It has a combination of a traditional in-door museum along with an open air museum featuring gorgeous gardens and variety of traditional structures dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. There are over twenty different exhibitions catering to the entire family. There are several seasonal programmes on offer so best to check directly with them when planning your visit. We loved how interactive all the exhibits were and the boys could enjoy traditional Swedish games, walking through historic buildings and the temporary Pettson and Findus exhibition complete with a kiddie sized Pettson farm.
Kids under 18 enter free and adults AED50. There is also a cute coffee shop with delish home-baked goodies and amazing coffee.
The current gardens are the third iteration of the University gardens which were initially established in 1690! This is such an amazing space for kids to explore, run, cycle and have a load of fun. The boys absolutely loved this natural climbing area which they dubbed the Swedish parkour complete with spiders, termites and other excellent exploration topics. We stumbled upon the gardens so probably did not make the most of it, I would recommend packing a picnic basket and make a day of it!
Entry is free of charge and open year round. There is a restaurant on site if all the fresh air brings out the hunger pangs.
The City Park
Another of the amazing free spaces for families with kids to enjoy is the Lund Stadsparken (City Park) which is over a hundred years old. Activities in the park include parkour, fishing, handball fields, softball field, skatepark, theatre, observatory and an aviary. There is genuinely something for everyone!
We were in Lund and Copenhagen for only 4 days so simply ran out of time to get through all the amazing activities for families. I was honestly so surprised at how much there was to do. If you are planning a longer trip, you should also consider the following:
- The Vatthenhallen Science Center – for the science buffs get busy with some hands on experiments or visit the planetarium.
- Historical Museum – includes artifacts from the Stone Age and the Bronze Age
- Skrylle Nature Reserve – Stunning nature playground, fishing spots, BBQ spots and hiking trails
- Hogevall Waterpark – indoor adventure park and heated recreational pool.