Travels with a Wheelchair – Copenhagen

Next up on my occasional series of travel posts, I thought I’d do a quick round up of our recent trip to Copenhagen.

Mr WCH, a friend and I travelled in December 2019 for a long weekend to visit the Christmas markets and to see Copenhagen all a-twinkle with lights. we found some pieces of great accessibility, and some areas where frankly it’s poor – not all shops are accessible, the kerbs aren’t all dropped, but with brute force and some lifting we find our way round!

Once again we flew with our brilliant RGK TigaFX wheelchair and once again it went in the overhead bin of the flights. We did have trouble with the wheelchair assistance at Heathrow both going out and back, but the wheelchair assistance in Copenhagen was faultless both ways.

Copenhagen is fairly compact and we were able to navigate through without any issues. We arrived at 11pm due to a delay at Heathrow, so instead of getting public transport into town, we took a taxi. A number of taxis were at the rank waiting, and there was a variety of types of vehicles. The journey was pretty quick and was well worth the price (about £30 for the three of us)

We stayed at the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen, all of us collect Marriott Bonvoy reward points so we’ll generally stay in one of their hotels to collect the points. The accessible room was large, with large bathroom with a roll-in shower but nowhere to sit! After a discussion with the front desk they sent up a plastic shower stool, which wasn’t ideal, but it worked. However there were sufficient grab rails in the bathroom which was useful.

The Marriott overlooks the river and we had a pleasant walk along the river for a mile or so. There are clearly areas in the river that are used for swimming if that’s your thing. We were there in mid-December and people were in the water, very brave of them, it’s certainly not for me!

Our first full day in Copenhagen it was a beautiful sunny day and we set off early to find our way to the immensely Instagrammable part of town called Nyhavn. We decided not to to use public transport, and in fact you probably won’t need to use it, the middle of the city is level and compact. For wheelchair users there are a fair number of cobbles, so you might want to take a front wheel with you if you have one. For some of the walk Mr WCH used the bicycle lane next to the pavement, there were hardly any cyclists around so there were no incidents or problems.

The streets aren’t all fully accessible, being cobbled and there are very few dropped kerbs, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for the best places to cross the road, or bump yourself down the kerb.

We went past the Design Museum which had plenty of ramps and level access into the building, however we didn’t make it in there on this trip – maybe next time…

Nyhavn

The walk to Nyhavn was pleasant and at one point we stopped past some trampolines built into the pavement. Of course we had to have a go (Mr WCH was taking photos).

Once we reached Nyhavn it got pretty crowded with the particular Instagram photos spots (we used to call them Kodak moments back in the day – I’m showing my age there…!). There were influencers and tourists with selfie sticks, posing and it took a little while for us to get the shot we wanted, which was of the buildings and the canal, not of us!.

The area alongside the canal has boat trips, none of which were wheelchair accessible, being down steps from pavement level, and then steps into the boat, so we gave that one a miss and carried on wandering round Nyhavn quietly. It’s a tourist hotspot and the restaurants with outdoors seating weren’t the cheapest, but we were in Denmark after all, it’s not a cheap country. We found a spot along the cobbled road with heaters so we stopped for spot of brunch and a hot chocolate.

At the end of the canal, there’s an area with public toilets, there was a glass lift down for wheelchair users but the lift wasn’t working. I went down the steps to check on the lift which was stuck at the bottom and the accessible toilet was large, bright and clean and it’s a pity he wasn’t able to use it. The next best thing was popping across to the department store to find the disabled toilet which was easily done.

There are public toilet kiosks dotted round town and as with all these kiosk style toilets, they were pretty disgusting, so again for disabled toilets the favourite option was to find a department store, there are a couple dotted around.

Shopping

We went round many of the Christmas Markets in the centre of the city, all largely similar in product offerings but we found the Nyhavn one to be the best one, with unique vendors selling handmade jewellery and homewares.

We spent time looking through many of the small shops in the area offering Scandi design and picked up a few Christmas presents. Many of the shops weren’t accessible, with a step to get in, but as it’s only one we can manage to bump him up the step. The Lego store however, had a platform lift at the back to allow Mr WCH to more closely examine the Star Wars Lego (obviously!).

Just because

Rundetarn (The Round Tower)

We visited the Rundetarn or the Round Tower which is again an Instagrammer’s favourite spot. I went in to inspect the ramp but it was far too steep for a wheelchair and so my friend and I left Mr WCH in a coffee shop with hot chocolate and a cake and we went off for a wander. It’s an incredible building, and no wonder it’s always on the ‘gram – we were lucky it wasn’t very busy when we visited and got some empty shots which was very pleasing.

Tivoli Gardens

The evening took us to Tivoli Gardens to see the Christmas Lights and WOW. It was hugely busy. We stood in the long queue to get in, a few people did tell us to go up to the gate as we don’t need to queue, but being the good Brits that we are, we stayed put! We know how to queue dontcha know.

Once we got inside, it was beautiful, the lights, the twinkly music, the crowds, the smell of cinnamon. It’s not an easy place to navigate in the wheelchair, the paths are gravel, sloped and they wind round the trees and despite all the lights, it was very dark. In the daytime I expect it’s much easier to navigate.

The disabled toilet by the entrance was hard to reach, down a very steep slope so if you’re in a manual chair and on your own you might struggle to get back up the slope.

We found most of the eateries weren’t particularly accessible, the one place we did find was a 50s American diner (not exactly local food!) but there was no accessible toilet. The food and service were pretty good though.

The Mermaid

We took a taxi from the hotel to the Mermaid on our second day, as it was pouring with rain. Once we got there (all fully accessible) we said what everyone else says, which is ‘It’s Small’ – yes it is but I glad we got to see it. We asked another tourist to take photos of us by the mermaid and they are frankly terrible photos, you can’t see even see her in the background! Honestly!

The mermaid is there, over my right shoulder. Honest!

The Changing of the Guard

From the Mermaid we walked in the pouring rain back closer to the city centre to the Amalienborg Palace and got there just in time to see the Changing of the Guard. The ticket booth, shop and entrance to the palace museum is down steps, but on closer inspection there was a platform lift that you could ask the staff to help you with, then once inside there were lifts to take you round the palace tour level.

Round-Up

It’s not the greatest for accessibility, but it’s certainly doable and Mr WCH only needed assistance with some kerbs and getting in and out of some shops or cafes. It’s all perfectly doable. I think we’d love to go back in the summer and see it in a different light!

Have you been to Copenhagen with a wheelchair? Let me know how you got on!

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