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  • Overview

    Roskilde may be only 22 miles (35km) from Copenhagen, but this small city has an ancient feel all of its own. It dates back more than a thousand years and was the capital of Denmark in medieval times, as well as a hub of both Viking activity and the Danish church.

    The most significant attractions are the Roskilde Cathedral, which is the burial site for Danish monarchs, and the Viking Ship Museum, which displays ancient weapons, ships and other artefacts from the Viking Age.

    The city is home to the Roskilde Palace, which is a former royal residence and now contains an art museum. The town is widely known as the home of the Roskilde Festival, one of Europe's biggest and most popular music festivals.

    Roskilde is a small and pleasant town, small enough to get around on foot. It contains a number of museums and galleries worth visiting, as well as parks, cafes, pubs and shops. Roskilde has a pedestrian street running down the centre of the city where there's a number of great places to eat, drink and shop, as well as a number of tourist attractions. The university ensures a lively atmosphere, and the city of 52,000 is anything but sleepy.

    Lejre Research Centre

    Also known as the Land of Legends, the Lejre Research Centre is one of the most popular attractions in Roskilde. The centre is a 106 acre (43 hectare) archaeological open-air museum situated just outside the city. It consists of amazingly lifelike reconstructions of an Iron Age village and sacrificial bog (200 BC to 200 AD), a Viking marketplace (900 AD), a Stone Age campsite (5,000 BC) and 19th century farm cottages. The Lejre Research Centre is high on the list of things to see and do with kids in Roskilde as there are so many fun and educational activities.

    Address: Slagealleen 2, Roskilde
    Lejre Research Centre Lejre Research Centre Krestenklit
    Roskilde Cathedral

    The Roskilde Cathedral was the first Gothic cathedral built out of brick during the 12th and 13th centuries, and has been the burial site for Danish monarchs since the 15th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral's twin spires dominate the Roskilde skyline, and the ornately gilded interior gives visitors a sense of the royal history of Denmark. Visitors are asked to be respectful of the fact that the cathedral is an active church, meaning it will sometimes be closed to tourists during ceremonies and services. There is a Cathedral Museum in the Great Hall of the Chapel of the Magi, containing illustrations and artefacts detailing the history of the cathedral from the early Middle Ages to the present day.

    Address: Domkirkepladsen 3, 4000 Roskilde
    Roskilde Cathedral Roskilde Cathedral Susanne Nilsson
    Viking Ship Museum

    The Viking Ship Museum is home to five Viking ships dating back to the 11th century. Deliberately sunk in the channel to prevent an attack on the city around 1070, they were excavated in 1962. The ships range from cargo vessels to war raiders, and are displayed in the museum overlooking Roskilde Fjord replete with weapons and other artefacts. Visitors can also watch shipwrights at work and see examples of traditional Nordic wooden boats. There are lots of reconstructed Viking boats in the museum harbour and you can take a ride in some of them with a guide. According to tourist votes, the museum is generally the top rated attraction in Roskilde.

    Address: Vindeboder 12
    Viking Ship Museum Viking Ship Museum Danilo Atzori

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    Roskilde Festival

    The hot and happening Roskilde Festival is one of Europe's greatest celebrations of rock music, featuring the best in Danish and international acts performing to crowds of more than 80,000. Top international bands and DJs from a range of genres perform at the week-long event, held outdoors in Roskilde. Recent performers have included Bruce Springsteen, The Cure, Bon Iver, Björk and Jack White. There's a lot more than music on offer too; every year the festival features art exhibits, performance artists, comedians, and activist groups that entertain and educate the crowds. There is also a vibrant collection of stalls selling food and crafts.

    Venue: 22 miles (35km) from Copenhagen
    Roskilde Festival Roskilde Festival Bill Ebbesen

    Roskilde is popular for both its ancient atmosphere and its lively young population, with visitors finding plenty of historical and modern attractions. Probably the most famous attraction in Roskilde is the UNESCO-listed Roskilde Cathedral, the burial site for Danish royalty.

    Other great favourites include the Viking Ship Museum, with its enthralling collection of Viking artefacts and fun boat-building and sailing activities, and the Roskilde Museum, which has an interesting variety of displays detailing the city's long history.

    For a more hands-on experience of Danish history, try a visit to the Lejre Research Centre. It's an interactive outdoor museum featuring reconstructions of living conditions from various eras of Roskilde's past. Built in 1733, Roskilde Palace is also definitely worth a visit: it is a striking yellow Baroque mansion which now houses the Roskilde Museum of Contemporary Art and the Palace Collections.

    There is a pedestrian street running down the centre of Roskilde providing a good starting point for exploration of the city, crammed with restaurants, bars and shops. The city benefits from being conveniently close to Copenhagen, giving visitors easy access to all the wonders of the capital city too.

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    No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination