Things to do

Enjoy a festive Christmas market at a Danish Manor House

Christmas markets at old manor houses in Denmark are great fun, and the markets represent a unique opportunity to visit sites otherwise closed to the public.

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Pictures and text by Bente D. Knudsen

Visiting a Christmas market at an old castle or manor house has become an important part of the whole Christmas hygge thing and apart from the hygge, the larger markets are also great places to find “out of the ordinary” presents and decorations.

At many of them you can find your Christmas tree and buy fir to make your own decorations. You will also find booths with food and drink and, of course, – gløgg – the Danish version of mulled red wine.

The first Christmas markets at these magnificent venues take place already in the beginning of November and the last ones are typically held a few weekends before Christmas. Being a holiday season, the Scandi’s of course close down for two weeks!

The yearly Christmas market weekend(s) have become a significant source of revenue for these old estates. The markets are typically put up for one or more weekends, and the booths and activities are run by small businesses or artisans, often locals, who travel around from one market to the next.

They are great fun though, and for some of them, they are a unique occasion to visit sites otherwise closed to the public.

You will find that the booths and activities do not take place only in the old castle and manor house buildings but also in the adjoining stables and barns, where unique Christmas presents at one of the many booths with artefacts and decorations may be just the special item you were looking to bring home.

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At some markets guided tours can be purchased, enabling a closer look inside of the historic old buildings.

The markets are all a bit different in concept, size and number of booths.

Take note that the markets, which stay open for more than two weekends in a row, are often more focused on selling Christmas trees and fir and pine for decorations than the ones open just one weekend.

If you want the more unique market experience with booths selling many different artefacts and unique items, you might want to choose one of the manor house Christmas markets that only stay open for a weekend, maximum two and  make sure that they have at least 50 booths, preferably more, otherwise the market may be too small to be really interesting – unless you are just on the lookout for a Christmas tree and a nice excursion.

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Here our guide to the ones coming up from this weekend and until the middle of December.

Zealand:

The annual Christmas market at Kragerup Gods is one of the earliest ones. Here you can really enjoy a beautiful estate, and many different booths.

It is a delightful market, but also very popular, so you won’t be alone. The Nisseparade takes place both Saturday and Sunday, so either day is good.

If you go late Sunday, you might be able to negotiate some good deals, as booth owners want to sell out before closing.

Kragerup Gods is run as a conference centre, so this weekend all of the manor house rooms and salons will be open to Christmas market visitors, and you can grab a bite to eat in the restaurant located in vaulted rooms in the cellar of the estate, or coffee and cake in the drawing rooms above.

The estate is located near Korsør at Kragerupgaardsvej 33 in Rudkøbing, about a 45 to 50 minute drive from Copenhagen. For more information go to kragerup.dk. When: 9 and 10 November 2019 from 10:00 to 16:00. Entrance: DKK 50.

Engestofte Estate is strictly speaking not on Zealand but on the island of Lolland and it is easy to reach from Copenhagen.

The market’s stalls at this estate will be located in the barns and adjacent farm buildings, and here you will be able to buy artefacts, presents, Christmas decorations and local produce. In the old watermill a children’s section will delight your young ones, as they here can make their own Christmas decorations.

The local orchestra will ensure the right Christmas atmosphere with Christmas music and carols. This is also a very popular market amongst locals, so you won’t be alone! Location: Engestofte Gods, Søvej 10, 4930 Maribo When: 7 and 8 December 2019 from 10:00 to 16:00. Entrance: Adults DKK 40, Children up to 12 years DKK 10.

Gisselfeld Juletorv, as they call their annual Christmas market, is held at the manor house Gisselfeld Kloster, with more then 100 booths located inside the old stables, in the main barns and outside in the courtyard.

Weekends 15 to 17 November and 22 to 24 November 2019 from 10:00 to 16:00 ( Fridays 15:00 to 20:00). Entrance DKK 100 / Children aged 6 to 12 DKK 30.

The estates rooms will be beautifully decorated by the flower artist Erik Buch, and they will be open for visits that day, as an extra bonus in the old authentic kitchen you can taste and smell the delightful Christmas cookies and cakes.

Entrance to the castle rooms (those open for the event) is included in the entrance price. Location: Gisselfeldvej 12 A, 4690 Haslev (not far from Næstved).

Grønnessegaard Gods is a beautiful privately-owned estate in the North of Zealand. For their annual Christmas market, they open most of the estate buildings to accommodate the more than 60 booths.

Here you can buy Christmas decorations, greenery to make your own Christmas decorations or even your Christmas tree, different artisans will be selling their crafts, children can take a pony ride, and adults can watch the training of hunting dogs.

Entrance DKK 50, children until 15 free admittance. 30 November and 1 December from 10:00 to 17:00. Location: Grønnessegaard Gods, Amtsvejen 280, 3390 Hundested

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Jutland:

The annual Christmas market at Voergaard Slot usually has some amazing Christmas decoration on display as the flower decorator Bjarne Als from famous Bering House of Flowers is there to show this years Christmas decoration theme. More than 70 stalls will inspire you both inside the old castle as well as the lovely renovated barn.

Location: Voergaard Slot, Voergaard 6, 9330 Dronninglund. Two weekends: 30 November and 1 December, and 7 and 8 December from 10:00 to 16:00. Entrance: DKK 110 for adults, children from 4 to 12 DKK 30.

At Ulstrup Castle, the annual Christmas market is arranged by the local Lions Club. Ulstrup is a typical Danish middle age manor house, which today is run by a foundation. The buildings are used for local cultural events, and the castle boasts a beautiful park and large estate.

In the grand hall, in the old cellar and in the yard more than 20 stalls sell Christmas decorations and artefacts. Here you can buy your Christmas tree, and taste local produce, gløgg and æbleskiver.

Both days at 13:30, Santa will pay a visit, on Sunday he will even arrive by horse carriage. Location: Ulstrup Slot, Ulstrup Skovvej
20, 8860 Ulstrup. When: 7 and 8 December 2019 from 10:00 to 16:00. Entrance: Free/ Parking DKK 10

Also in Jutland at Børglum Kloster, Børglum Klostervej 255 B, 9760 Vrå the 15 to 17 November and again the 22 to 24 November, entrance is free and at Tirsbæk Gods’ you can enjoy a wonderful Christmas market and cut down your Christmas tree at Tirsbækvej 135, 7120 Vejle weekends 7 to 8 December and 14 to 15 December from 10:00 to 16:00.