Scandi Travel: Our Family Stay in the Beautiful Stockholm Archipelago

Kindly sponsored by Vår Gård Saltsjöbaden

You might recall that Per and I stayed at Vår Gård Saltsjöbaden in the Stockholm archipelago back in February, and we loved our stay so much, we decided to go back with the girls last week! It's such a beautiful part of the world with so much to do. Here are a few snapshots from our four-day trip - I hope it might inspire you to visit this part of Sweden and enjoy day trips to Stockholm, kayaking, bike rides, the serenity of the islands and generally splashing about in the Baltic! 

Vår Gård

Second time round and Vår Gård Saltsjöbaden its starting to feel like a true home from home! The 128-room hotel is centred around a beautiful old manor house, overlooking the Baltic Sea. Located in beautiful Saltsjöbaden, it's an easy 40-minute train ride from Stockholm making it a perfect base to explore the excitement of Sweden's capital city as well as the tranquillity of the archipelago. A perfect balance! 

The rooms are located in u-shaped modern blocks around a central square with an outdoor gym (which the girls loved!). Our family of four stayed in a Junior Suite which had two connecting rooms. The hotel has a design focus (which of course, I love!) and every room is kitted out with beautiful wallpaper, designer lamps, soft linen covers, beautiful coffee table books and board games. 

Day 1 Stockholm

At the start of the summer, the girls had one wish - to visit Gröna Lund - a theme park by the water in central Stockholm. So, we headed into the capital for the day. 

I've been to Stockholm many times over the years. It's such a great city with so much to see and do. If you haven't been, leave plenty of time to enjoy the museums, galleries, historical sites and waterside restaurants and bars! This time, we kept it simple and wandered the picturesque cobbled lanes of Gamla Stan (old town) before heading along the waterfront to Gröna Lund.  

Per and I quickly found ourselves screaming our lungs out on Monster, Jetline and Twister - the theme-parks biggest and craziest rollercoasters before somehow being duped into going on the free-fall (did I tell you I'm  afraid of heights?). We all had so much fun, but admittedly I was grateful to be back on safe ground and making our way back to Vår Gård at the end of the day...

...for a refreshing evening dip! 

In the evening we tucked into fresh seafood (you can't visit the archipelagos and not enjoy the catch of the day / prawns / oysters etc) at the in-house restaurant! I also had the most delicious green tomato gazpacho (I have since found a recipe here in case you'd like to try it this summer!). 

Day 2 Cycle ride and SUP

I started each day with a coffee and breakfast overlooking the water. It was a perfect moment of calm before all the adventure! 

We borrowed the hotel e-bikes (they also have pretty classic bikes but since it was a hot day with plenty of hills we decided to go for the speedy variety!) and followed the coastal path around the bay (passing many incredible villas in Solsidan along the way - not to be missed for some 'life goals' dreaming!).  

We made our way to Tattby nature reserve (even spotting a couple of snakes along the way- in Sweden they have adders and grass snakes which are a rare sighting so it's quite incredible to see one, let alone two!) and a picnic and swim at Erstaviksbadet.  

We then peddled back to Vår Gård to enjoy some Stand Up Paddle boarding.   

It's hard to imagine the sea was partly frozen when we visited in February (the sauna offered a wonderful respite from the cold and we even caught a glimpse of the Northern Lights!) - on this trip the Baltic Sea sparkling in the sun and a lovely 20 degrees! 

Even so, Per went out on one of the hotel SUP boards in all his clothes - so confident that he wouldn't fall in. As you can imagine we were all watching from the bank hoping he might just lose his balance (what are families for otherwise?). 

Day 3 Kayaking around the islands 

Action packed holidays are perfect for families with tweens and teenagers (Liv is nearly 14 and Allie is 11) and there was so much to choose from. On day 3 we bought freshly made rolls from the in-house bakery, rented kayaks and paddled off to explore the surrounding islands.
We even found our very own island for a picnic and swimming! 

The rest of the day was spent hanging out by the water's edge... some more active than others! 

Spot the different tempo? 

There was ice cream involved too! 

The girls were excited to discover a cupboard full of lawn games, and every evening we rounded off with  'Kubb' - a classic Swedish game allegedly deriving from the Viking times involving wooden pegs you have to knock down. I'm pretty sure every Swedish family has their own rules, in ours, Per insists that you can only win if you throw the final pins between your legs. As you can imagine, it can take a while! 

Do you have a similar game on your country? 

All in all, such a lovely, relaxing few days simply being together as a family - I wish I could do it all over again. 

Could you imagine spending time here? If so, exciting news, I'm offering the chance to win a stay at Vår Gård this August! It's super quick to enter the prize draw over on my instagram (going live in the next few hours) and open to all. 


Now that I'm back at my desk, I'm looking forward to sharing some beautiful Scandi interior inspiration with you on Wednesday. And then on Friday - I can finally share our new cabin bathroom! I hope you'll like it as much as we do! See you then! 


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City Guide: 30 Things to do in Malmö For Design-Lovers

In paid partnership with @malmötown. All words, pictures and recommendations are my own. 

Having lived in Malmö, Sweden for over eighteen Years, I'm so proud of Sweden's third largest city. Last December I wrote a winter guide, and today I thought I'd share 30 great things to do the city for design-lovers all year round! Here's the complete lowdown on all my favourite design shops, galleries, studios, architecture, cafes, restaurants and more! I hope it will inspire you to visit this great city some day soon. 

1. Stroll or cycle through the old cobbled streets of Gamla Väster  - the 19th century old town between Lilla Torg and Kungsparken, and discover small independent galleries, ateliers and handicraft stores. 

2. Discover the cities modern architecture which juxtaposes with historic buildings to create a fascinating skyline! Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects' Malmö Live Towers and the jagged glass and aluminium extension to the World Maritime University by architect firms Terrior and Kim Utzon (both seen above) are a couple of my favourites.

3. Stroll around the little lanes in Västra Hamnen (Western harbour) for more fascinating architecture including the famous skyscraper Turning Torso - the symbol of Malmö, and enjoy a dip in the sea while looking out over the famous Öresund bridge. 

4. Pull up a seat by the window at Atrium for brunch in beautiful surroundings. I can vouch for the eggs bennie! 

5. Or combine brunch and design shopping at Geijersgatan 53, owned by my friend Josephine - who has impeccable taste for design and flowers! 

6. Visit the Malmö public library: the award-winning modern extension by Henning Larsen is a wonderful place to sit in 'lugn och ro' (peace and quiet) while leafing through a book and taking in the view over Kungsparken ('The Kings Park').

7. Shop for contemporary Scandinavian design at Miloii, Norrgavel, Olsson & Gerthel, Svenssons, Grandpa, Design Torget and Bolia.  For Scandinavian-style inspiration on how to organise your home and pick up storage pieces, head to Elfa Studio in Hansa. 

6. Shop for items by highly acclaimed local designers and see one of the exhibitions at Form Design Centre - a meeting place for architecture, design and crafts. 

7. Pop into Beyond Us: an urban market for clothes and homeware, cafe & bar and workspace. 

8. Shop for antiques and second hand homeware at AB Småland (it's a great place for a swedish fika - coffee and cake / lunch - too!). You'll also find a row of antique shops on Kärleksgatan ('love street')

9. Pick up locally made ceramics at Artibus (open the first weekend of every month) and Formagruppen

10. Buy jewellery from a local silversmith at Atom 47 in Limhamn. 

11. Source Scandi retro furniture at Yesterday Retro Form and Möbeldepan

12. Shop for local handicrafts including butterknives, wool socks and clogs in one of the little boutiques on historical Lilla Torg. 

13. And then enjoy a drink and light lunch on the square, or head round the corner to local favourite Noir vin & Kaffe.

14. Or tuck into the best pizza in town by the water at Mastio in Limhamn. You'll love the constantly changing menu, interior and local vibe!

15. If you prefer vegan, I can recommend Jord or Farm2Table (both with great food and beautiful design) or the new plant-based cafe Sansa

16. Visit independent art galleries including Cowgirl Gallery in Möllan (where you can also enjoy a coffee and attend events) and the Nordic Art Agency, owned by my friend Juliet, a fellow Brit. 

17. Make an appointment with a local artist to visit their showroom. Malmö Open Studios is a helpful resource. 

18. Pay a visit to Malmö Konsthallen or Moderna Museet for modern art. 

19. Hang out with locals in St Knuts Torg: pull up a seat at one of the cafes on the square, visit the antique bookstore, treat yourself to fresh cut blooms in the flower shop, and stock up on groceries from the independent package-free, zero waste store Gram

20. Stroll through an ocean of flowers at ecological Slottsträdgården - the public flower garden behind Malmö Hus, and then pull up a seat by the canal at Slottsträdgården cafe

21. Pick up blooms, plants, cards and vases from truly inspiring flower shops Blomster Pigan and Wallflower

22. Visit Malmö during the Southern Sweden Design Days - an annual international design festival showcasing a range of design disciplines, seminars, workshops and exhibitions all over town. Don't miss the main hub at Lokstallerna - an incredible converted train workshop.  

23. While you're in Kirseberg, treat yourself to a relaxed lunch inside at the industrial street food restaurant Matverskstad.  

24. Travelling with children? Check-in to a circus wagon at the nearby Grand Circus Hotel!  

25. Enjoy a pre-supper aperitif of champagne and oysters - or tuck into a relaxed lunch or evening meal - at Malmö Saluhallen - a former train depot converted into an incredible food hall, with a modern extension by architect firm Wingårdhs

26. L'Enoteca's outdoor space is also a cool place for pre-dinner drinks. I love their cosy bar over the road on colder days too. 

27. Book a table in advance and dine out in style at one of my favourite restaurants: Ruths (above), Aster, Atmosfär or Mutantur

28. Head up to Malmö skybar for a post-dinner drink with a view over Malmö (you can also eat supper from the heady heights of Kitchen & Table). 

29. Finish the night with a cocktail to two at tiny local favourite Care Of by the canal. If you're looking for somewhere lively, the eclectic hangout MJs is always fun on a saturday night. For clubs - Plan B is the place to go. 

30. Rest your weary head at the newly renovated boutique Hotel Duxiana with impeccably designed rooms and lovely views over central Malmö and the canal (above and below). Other great hotels include Clarion Malmö Live and MJs

I hope this guide has given you lots of design ideas for your next trip to Malmö! 



PS feel free to add your own tips below! 

Photography: Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home

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Four Day Travel Guide: Helsingborg, Helsingør and Kullaberg

In paid collaboration with Visit Helsingborg. Thank you to Visit Helsingborg for making this trip possible. All words and pictures are my own and I genuinely love this part of the world so it was a pleasure to produce this guide! 

Helsingborg, what a great Swedish city! I received so much positive feedback from my Helsingborg city guide last summer, I thought I'd create a follow-up to include some of the beautiful surroundings. 

I am a big fan of the area as my husband is from Helsingborg. I've also had the opportunity to spend plenty of time in the surrounding area since Per's father and stepmother live in a charming fishing village in Kullaberg - a peninsula and nature reserve jutting out into the Kattegat Sea, north of the city. I have to say, the region is a firm favourite of mine. If you love art, farm shops, vineyards, spectacular coastlines and great food, you're bound to fall in love too! 

I've also extended my guide to include a day trip to the picturesque Danish town of Helsingør - a short 20-minute ferry ride over the Öresund strait. Helsingør is home to the UNESCO heritage site Kronborg castle - the home of Hamlet and a perfect place to wander the cobble streets in search Danish antiques, second hand clothes and experience a buzzing restaurant and cafe scene. Ready to feel inspired? Here's my four-day guide to the area. 

Getting there: the southern Sweden city of Helsingborg is easily accessible by train from Copenhagen airport, Malmö and Stockholm. You can also arrive by ferry from Helsingør Denmark. 

Day one - Helsingborg

Check-in at Elite Hotel Mollberg

Occupying a historic 14th century building on Stortorget a short walk from the train station, Elite Hotel Mollberg's couldn't be better located. Plus the impeccably decorated restaurant / breakfast area and the beautiful high ceilings and period features will send your design heart into a flutter! 

I also love small boutique V Hotel - and Clarion Hotel Sea U is a popular choice with its rooftop pool. 

Explore Helsingborg 

There is so much to do in this wonderful city. See my guide to 48 hours in Helsingborg last summer for all my favourite sites, design shops, cafes and restaurants! 

You might like to pay a visit during the forthcoming H22 City Expo (30th May - 3rd July 2022) which promises a full schedule of exciting cultural events, guided tours, music and entertainment and gastronomical experiences for all ages!


Something I missed in my previous guide but well worth a visit is Kärnen. Located in the centre of town by Stortorget, the medieval tower is the last remaining section of a larger fortress built by the Danes. It controlled the entranceway between the Kattegat and Øresundsbron sea along with Kronborg castle in Helsingør. Standing 35 metres high, a spiral staircase will lead you to the top, from where you can enjoy spectacular views - and get your breath back!


A cycle or bus ride from Helsinborg will take you to the magnificent Sofiero castle and grounds which bursts into life in springtime. My family and I often visit for a stroll around the gardens, to nip into the nursery shop, see the latest exhibition and enjoy lunch at the Orangeriet. I've even been to a few open-air concerts here - keep an eye on the events calendar for details! 

Recover from your day by treating yourself to a culinary experience at Chateau Foret (listed in the White Guide), or head to the water's edge and tuck into seafood at one of my favourite restaurants: Sillen & Makrillen

Day Two - Helsingør, Denmark

Hop on a ForSea battery-operated ferry to Helsingør - the picturesque Danish town on the opposite side of the strait. There are about four boats and hour and the 20-minute, 4-kilometre crossing will take you straight to the town centre. 

Per explained that some Swedes never get off the boat - choosing to go back and forward across the sound while enjoying the lively ferry bar (I saw it in full swing later on in the day - he wasn't kidding)!

Kronborg Castle, Helsingør

You can't visit Helsingør and not go to Kronborg castle! Known as Elsinore in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Kronborg is a 15th century renaissance castle and a designated UNESCO world heritage site. Keep an eye on the official website for guided tours, treasure hunts and open-air plays. 

Stroll the streets 

An easy day trip from Copenhagen (and an even easier one from Helsingborg!), Helsingør is incredibly picturesque. Take good walking shoes as you'll want to take your time to wander the pretty cobblestone streets and small courtyards while popping in and out of boutique stores! 

Antique and second-hand stores

The bustling town is full of small antique, vintage and second-hand stores selling unique Danish treasures. I particularly loved Bror & Søster, situated down a small side lane off the main shopping drag. 

Another favourite is the tiny Louies Brocante which spills out onto the cobbled backstreet.

Keep a look out for the Saturday flea markets on Svingelport (0.00 - 15.00). Arrive early for the best bargains and enjoy live music, a great coffee and a Danish pastry at Lagoni

A word of warning, many shops close as early as 14.00 - 15.00 on Saturdays so go early to make the most of your trip! 

There are many great places for lunch - including seafood restaurant Jellyfish. As a Helsinborg guy, Per insisted we paid a nostalgic visit to the main square - along with throngs of other Swedes - to tuck into a traditional Danish smørrebød (open sandwich) accompanied by a Carlsberg (of course) and a customary shot of snaps! The square had such a wonderful, lively atmosphere (it could have had something to do with the snaps!) - we could have stayed all day! 

But our ferry was waiting, and it was time to head back to Helsinborg to continue with the tour! 

Day Three - Höganäs and Mölle

A 40-minute ride on the 220 bus will take you from Helsingborg to the small coastal town of Höganäs, in Kullaberg. 

Salthallerna, Höganäs

I always start my visit to Höganäs at Salthallerna. The former industrial site is home to a great homeware and clothing boutique as well as a host of art exhibitions. You might want to stay for a while as it also has a great cafe selling divine tasting kanelbulla (cinnamon buns). Keep a look out for a new restaurant and BadAss Ceramics opening soon! 

Saltglaserat ceramics 

Next door, you'll find the famous Höganäs Saltglaserat workshop and store where you can watch the potters in action and pick up beautiful ceramics to take home.

Garage Bar & Höganäs Bryggeri

Around the corner you'll find Garage Bar - famed for it's 'nothing less than junk food royal' slogan - needless to say our kids love it! And Höganäs Bryggeri where you can sample locally produced brews (a favourite of Per's!). 

Keep an eye on the events calendar for Blå Hallen - a short walk away. It hosts some amazing flea markets in the summer! 

Feeling like you need to re-energise? Book a slot at the wonderful Kvickbadhuset sauna by the harbour. We often go as an extended family on big holidays such as Christmas and Easter, it's a wonderful way to cleanse the mind, body and soul!

Bike tour from Höganäs to Mölle

If you're feeling energetic, hire a bike in Höganäs harbour and follow the Kategattleden to Mölle. It's hard to say how long it takes as I kept stopping to take pictures and enjoy the view - but it's around 10 km and an easy ride - very flat! 

The bike trail follows a disused, converted railway line which takes you along the coast, passing farmland, forests and small, pretty fishing villages, including Nyhamnsläge and Lerhamn. 

Krapperup Castle

Don't miss signs to Krapperup castle (as a Brit it took me a while to get over the name!) along the way (for those who opted for the 222 bus instead - there's a bus stop right outside!). The grounds of the 16th century castle are beautiful - especially when the rhodendrums are in full bloom. You'll also love the cosy cafe, art gallery and boutique. 


Continue your cycle ride through the nature reserve until you come to the picturesque 19th century fishing village of Mölle (bus number 222 will also take you from Höganäs to Mölle) and then rest your weary legs quench your thirst at one of the many Harbourside cafes and restaurants. 

Check in to Grand Hotel Mölle

Follow in the footsteps of smart, early 20th century holiday makers, who flocked to Mölle by train to enjoy a rejuvenating stint at this 'badhotell' (bath hotel), today known as Grand hotel Mölle. Per and I stayed in the turret which had wonderful views over Mölle!

Mölle Krukmakeri

You can't visit this village without popping into Mölle Krukmakeri - a ceramics atelier and popular boho hangout, serving great pizza! I have several of their bowls at home too. 

Hike to Kullens Lighthouse

Depending on how you arrived in Mölle, you might be feeling energetic enough to hike along the coast Northwards to Kullens Lighthouse - climbing over granite rocks dotted with pink thrift, and through incredible ancient beech forests as you go . Take your swimmers - there are plenty of bathing places along the way! If you're short on time but still want to take in the views from the tip of the peninsular, there's also a parking spot 300 metres away. 

Cocktails and supper at Ransvik Havsvaranda 

On the way back from the lighthouse, you'll pass Ransvik Havsvaranda - an absolutely wonderful restaurant nestled in the cliff overlooking the sea. On summer evenings it comes alive with locals enjoying cocktails and dinner out on the terrace. 

Day Four - Arild - and the Kullaberg countryside

I've packed in a LOT activities on day three - so you might want to take your foot of the peddle and save some of the areas around Mölle for the fourth day. In summertime there are lots of extra activities available such as s whale and propose boat safari in the Kullaberg nature reserve. There are also many wonderful trails to explore by foot or mountain bike! 

On your way back to Helsingborg, take a short detour to the pretty fishing village of Arild, stopping off at Flickorna Lundgren for a traditional fika (coffee and cake).

Another favourite stop is the restaurant and farm shop Trädgården På Skäret - I'm told their oyster and champagne lunch in summertime is not to be missed! It looks like I'll need to return to the area soon! 

I hope you'll find this guide useful, and it might inspire you to come and explore this wonderful part of the world! 

If you'd like to visit Helsingborg soon, why not come during the H22 City Expo between 30th may - 3 July 2022. The 30-day event promises captivating, exhilarating and innovative cultural attractions, exhibitions, talks, music and entertainment for all ages and gastronomical experiences. Find out more about the H22 City Expo and plan your visit

Please do feel free to add your own tips from the area below - there are so many amazing places to visit that I'd need to write an entire tome to cover them all! 

Wishing you a great weekend!


Photography: copyright - Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home

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