Stockholm as a family

Stockholm

If you’re planning a family trip to Stockholm, we hope this page will help you.  It’s packed with lots of information such as how to get around, where to stay, what to eat and things to see.

Getting to Stockholm

British Airways How we got to Stockholm

For our family trip to Stockholm we flew from Heathrow (Terminal 5) with British Airways.  There are 5 other airlines that fly non-stop from here to Stockholm.  Norwegian, Ryanair, SAS, Norwegian Air International and EasyJet.  We usually use Skyscanner to check out who flies where and the best current deals on flights.  You can also use Expedia to search for flights from other airports and hotels in Stockholm.

We usually book flights which depart early in the morning to make the most of the day at the other end.  For this reason we usually stay at an airport hotel the night before our flights.  This way, we start our holiday a day early and make sure we are close to the terminal for departure.

Airport Hotel

The night before our family trip to Stockholm we stayed at the Sheraton Skyline Heathrow Airport Hotel on Bath Road.  We really like this hotel and have stayed there several times.  Being a family of four, we like the fact the rooms have 2 double beds, some with a runway view.  We also like the fact that you park your car yourself and keep your car keys.

And the breakfast is always good.  The staff are very helpful and attentive.  It also has a swimming pool which we usually take advantage of as a start to the trip.  

We booked The Sheraton Skyline as part of an Airport Hotel and Parking deal through Holiday Extras. Including the parking for 4 days we paid £161.80 (this included return Hoppa Tickets to the airport and breakfast).  In our experience Holiday Extras offer unbeatable value for pre-flight accommodation and parking.  We also booked the Heathrow Hoppa through them.

We have no hesitation booking through Holiday Extras.  They provide the best value for money when it comes to hotels and parking.  Even better value than booking direct with hotels or booking separately.  You can also book extras such as airport lounges.

Timing can make a huge difference when you book with Holiday Extras.  We have found prices changing significantly over a six week period, sometimes saving as much as 33%.  

Transfer to Terminal

We used the Heathrow Hoppa bus for our transfer to the Airport as we usually do.  The buses can get quite full, but it is an efficient service which runs regularly from outside the hotel.  This time we had the bus to ourselves on the way to the Airport and had no problem getting seats on the way back. 

You can get a taxi to and from the terminal which cost approximately £12-£15 each way.  The Hoppa cost £11 per adult for a return ticket (when bought in advance) with children under 15 travelling free. From the Sheraton to Terminal 5 it takes approximately 15 – 20 minutes and the Hoppa runs from 4.30 a.m. to 11.30 p.m.  Buses run every 30 minutes to Terminal 5 and every 20 minutes to the other terminals.  Remember to ask your driver where your bus departs from for your return journey as signs for the buses/stops have been an issue for us in the past.  Usually it is stop 17 or 18.  As it happened, on the way back, the Hoppa was waiting at bus stop 18, which made for a very convenient transfer.

Flight

The flight to Stockholm from Heathrow takes 2 hours 30 minutes.  Whilst the flight didn’t leave quite to schedule the pilot still managed to get us to Stockholm on time.  The crew on these flights were good.  As we have found usual with British Airways.

Transfer from Arlanda Airport

The airport in Stockholm is Arlanda.  Transfer time to the city centre depends on which way you choose to travel.  A taxi will take approximately 40 minutes and cost around £50.  We had been told to ensure to agree a fixed price prior to leaving the airport if using a taxi.  Our Hotel recommended Taxi Stockholm.

We prefer to use the public transport, if possible, when visiting a different country.  That’s because we think it provides an opportunity to learn something about the place.  How it works.  Very often, it also provides an opportunity to interact with local people or fellow travellers.  We think that’s good.

So we used the Arlanda Express (www.arlandaexpress.com) to transfer to the central station (T-Centralen) in Stockholm. 

It was easy to find the platform from within the airport.  As you exit baggage reclaim look for the Arlanda Express signs.  When you see these take the lift or escalator down to the platform.

We took the lift because of our luggage and, very conveniently, it brought us out right on the platform.

Arlanda Express

We thought the Arlanda Express was brilliant.  It was comfortable, air- conditioned and clean.  The service and onboard staff were very efficient.  The journey took just 18 minutes to the central station in Stockholm.  It was quick – travelling at up to 185km/hr – with frequent services every 20 minutes. 

We got a great deal by booking on the Arlanda Express website in advance.  Return tickets for two adults cost us £63 (700 SEK).  Children between the ages of 8 – 17 travel free.  You can request that your ticket be delivered onto the card that you have paid with (eg your Credit Card).  We chose the e-ticket option and received a code by email.  You just give this code to the on-board staff when they come round during the journey.  

On the way back we got a taxi from our hotel direct to the Arlanda Express station.  We wanted to avoid the uphill walk to the metro in 30 degree heat and the walk from the metro to the Arlanda Express.  Plus we’d been on the metro that morning and noticed it was very busy.  A very nice lady on reception confirmed that one of the lines was not working that day!  That would’ve made for an uncomfortable ride with the suitcases.  The hotel got us a taxi in 5 minutes and advised always to use Taxi Stockholm.  We were dropped off almost on the platform!

The taxi only cost around £13 (including tip) which we felt was well worth it for the convenience.  Plus the taxi was a brand new Mercedes (with air conditioning!) and the driver was a pleasure to meet. 

Getting to the Hotel

From the Central Station we got the Metro to Slussen and walked the final 100 metres to the Hotel.

You can buy tickets for the Metro at a Pressbyran store in the main station.  After getting off the Arlanda Express follow signs for the Metro.  As you exit the Arlanda Express station and enter the Central Metro Station you will see the store on your left hand side as you walk directly ahead.  

We bought 72 hour SL tickets.  These allow use of the Metro, commuter rail, trams, light railway and two commuter ferries for 72 hours.  The 72 hour pass was 250 SEK per adult and 170 SEK per child.  In total it cost around £77 for the four of us.

Where we stayed in Stockholm

We did a fair bit of research on where to stay on a family trip to Stockholm.  When visiting a city we like to be close to the centre of things but also to be able to retreat to somewhere a bit more relaxing.

Fairly early on, we decided that we wanted to stay at the Hilton for a number of reasons.  It ticked the box in relation to the location.  It was very close to the Gondalen.  And it offered fantastic views of the water and the city.  

When we checked the British Airways website they were offering a package deal on this hotel.  This worked out a fair bit cheaper than booking travel and accommodation separately.  Also, we were able to book breakfast.  We booked a King Junior suite with seaview and access to the Executive Lounge.

We were not disappointed with our choice.  Our suite had a king sized bed and a separate sitting area with double sofa bed.  Both were very comfortable.

The room was well appointed (with two television screens), clean and well maintained. The bathroom consisted bath with shower over, luxury toiletries and bathrobes. 

Our room offered fantastic views of Gamla Stan although when we visited there was a lot of construction work going on in Slussen.

Executive Lounge

We really enjoyed The Executive Lounge.  During the day there were limited snacks available.  Hot and soft drinks were available throughout the day.  In the Evening (between 6 and 8.30) there were hot and cold snacks available and also hot drinks, soft drinks, beers and wines.

Henrico, who worked in the Executive Lounge, was very friendly and attentive.  He kept everything clean and well stocked.  He also provided us with some information in relation to the city and was always interested in where we had been every day.  Computers and printers were available to use so it was easy to check-in for our return flight and print boarding documentation.

Breakfast

The Executive Lounge did provide breakfast but we chose to take breakfast in the main restaurant. 

Breakfast at the Hotel was good.  Serving all the usual fare including continental and cooked buffet breakfast.  Fried eggs were made to order and the omelettes were great.  It made a really good start to the day.  They even had a do-it-yourself waffle maker which pleased some of us no end!

When we went to Stockholm

Stockholm is a year-round destination particularly popular in the lead up to Christmas.  Apparently the city has several Christmas markets starting from November.  We visited in Summer.  

We enjoy visiting cities in the Summer.  Along with the locals, we find less need to wrap up against the elements.  We spend enough time doing that at home!  People seem happier. There also tends to be lots more going on then.  That, along with the pleasant weather makes for a more enjoyable time.  We get to see the sights without getting wet.  And eat and drink al-fresco.  What’s not to like? 

We also find that there are some great city break deals available in the summer and they don’t tend be any more expensive than the rest of the year.  The same can’t be said of summer beach holidays.   

When we visited in July, it was unusually hot and also sunny every day until at least 7pm, turning cooler in the nights.  There was no need for an extra layer in the evenings and we saw no rain.  Lots of shops and restaurants were having to use temporary air-conditioning units to cool their premises.

How we got around

Getting around Stockholm

Where we could, we explored Stockholm by foot.  We think this is the best way to see most cities. Especially where they are compact enough to do so.  This DK Top 10 Stockholm guidebook helped us with the planning.  It also really helped us navigate the city.  

We didn’t find getting around Stockholm too difficult at all.  Each day, we worked out a rough itinerary of things we wanted to see and do by area.  We then travelled there, back and around by foot where we could or Public Transport (subway, tram or ferry) where we couldn’t. 

Public Transport

Stockholm Public Transport (commonly referred to as SL) runs the public transport system in Stockholm.  We bought 72 hour SL tickets.  This allowed use of the Metro, commuter rail, trams, light railway and two commuter ferries.  The 72 hour pass cost 250 SEK per adult and 170 SEK per child.  In total it cost about £77.  We found using these tickets very convenient.

As we said earlier tickets can be purchased at a Presbyran store in Stockholm Central station but are also available at SL Centers and Arlanda Airport. Small ticket agents, such as tobacconists like the Presbyran store which are located throughout Stockholm, sell the tickets as do some hotels. 

We found the metro very easy to navigate with only 3 lines. Red, green and blue.  It was also very clean, comfortable, well-maintained and efficient.  For us it was also another opportunity to get a real sense of how this city works.  

It was also easy to use the ferry which we took to Djurgarden.  It was very busy when we went as many passengers were going to the Grona Lund fairground.  The trams were a bit of a novelty for us.  Again, these were easy to use.

It is easy to get around Stockholm by foot.  Many people use bicycles and there are designated cycle lanes.  It is possible to hire bicycles here.

Money in Stockholm

The currency of Stockholm is the Swedish Krona.  We got ours from the Post Office.  At the time of our travel the exchange rate was 11.13 SEK to 1GBP.  We found that cards were widely accepted.

In terms of costs, we found Stockholm to be on a par with the UK for some things.  As a couple of examples, the price of a McDonalds for 3 was around £16 and a main meal at lunchtime was around £10 per person.  Main courses in restaurants in the evening were around £18 -£20.

Entry to the VASA cost us around £30 for 4.  We found this to be good value for such an interesting place.  In contrast, the Abba Museum was nearly £55 for 4 but we didn’t go there. 

Lots of things in Stockholm are free!  Such as entry to the Swedish Parliamant, Art on the Underground and some Museums.  Check out our post on Is it expensive in Stockholm?

Food and Drink in Stockholm

We enjoyed everything we ate in Stockholm.  We do like to try as much of the local cuisine as we can as we feel this is a big part of the experience.

In Nybrokajen we happened across a casual outdoor diner called Nybrogrillen.  The meatballs, mash and lingonberry jam were a particular favourite.  It was really good fast food.  We were also able to find a Co-op so we could buy some jam to bring home.

There are lots of small cafes, coffee shops and bakeries in and around Gamla Stan.  As this is a tourist hot-spot some can be quite expensive.

There were plenty of fast food outlets such as MacDonalds, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken.  We like to try these when we are away because the menus do differ to what we get in the UK.

We went to McDonalds in Slussen.  The Big Mac was great and there were some drinks available that we’d not seen before.  In the main we found that the fast food outlets and restaurants were very reasonably priced. 

What we did

The city centre is fairly compact and we managed to get around it several times during our family trip to Stockholm.  We preferred the old town of Gamla Stan to the newer parts. There is a huge amount of history here.

Before we went we made a list of the things we wanted to see and do.  We then worked out the best way to combine at least a couple of these on each day.  Once we’d done that we looked at the best way to get to and from those places and back to the hotel.  It worked quite well.  This guide really helped.  We did manage to get around all the places we wanted to see and things we wanted to do.

Gamla Stan

This is a small island maze of streets served by the metro on one side.  There are many shops, in the mostly selling souvenirs although you can spot some Swedish Designers both fashion and interiors.  There are also lots of restaurants, Ice Cream parlours, cafés, bakeries and confectionaries.

Stortorget is a small square in the middle of Gamla Stan and one of the oldest in Stockholm.  It is a very pretty, colourful square and home to Nobelmuseet (History of the Nobel Prize and its winners).

Vasa Museet

A bold claim but we all agreed The Vasa Museet is possibly the best museum we’ve ever visited. 

To get there, we took the ferry from Slussen to Djurgarden. Then we walked along the water’s edge a short way.  The museum was easy to find as it was so well signposted.  Along the way we passed the Abba Museum which is also here. 

Djurgarden Stockholm

Djurgarden itself is very picturesque but the museum is impressive and fascinating. The Vasa is a warship built in the early 1600s.  On her maiden voyage she sank in Stockholm harbour, due to design flaws.  333 years later she was raised and is now preserved in controlled conditions at Vasamuseet.

We were all captivated by the the amount and detail of the information provided.  Not only in relation to the Vessel itself but also to the recovery and the preservation. The film, running on a loop, in the theatre is well worth watching.

It was good value for money too.  We spent a good few hours here.  Both in the museum and outside.  There are picnic benches and a cafe within the grounds.  Entry to the VASA cost us around £30 for 4.  

Stadshuset City Hall

Stadshuset City Hall is worth a visit.  Visitors can take guided tours of the City Hall which now contain government offices.  There is a charge which depends on the season visiting.  From the tower you can take in panoramic views of Gamla Stan with its colourful buildings.  It was beautiful here at sunset.

The Royal Palace

Lion near the Royal Palace Stockholm

The Royal Palace is easy to find on the north corner of Gamla Stan and is open to visitors.  An entry fee is charged which includes a guided tour.  There is a changing of the guard ceremony every day at around 11.45. 

Kungstradgarden

Over the water, north of Gamla Stan, is the main city area.  We came acrosss Kungstradgarden where events take place in the open.  It felt very cosmopoliton and we saw people learning how to jive after work.  Near here is the city’s main shopping street.  We didn’t find IKEA but that’s another story!

Riddarholmen

Riddarholmen

To the east of Gamla Stan is the island of Riddarholmen.  We had taken the metro to Gamla Stan.  But we found ourselves walking towards Riddarholmen.  As it happens this turned out to be a good thing.  If we hadn’t we’d have missed this.  It was pleasant, quiet and home to some impressive buildings.

Gondolen

When we visited there was a lot of construction work in Slussen.  However it is worth either taking the elevator or walking up the stairs to the Katarina Elevator and Gondalen.  It was well sign posted.  For reference, it is next to Mcdonalds and the metro station in Slussen.  It provides panoramic views of the City.  There is also a restaurant at the top which was closed when we visited.

Simply enter through the outer entrance and head to the elevator.  Once inside press 11 clearly marked Gondolen.  Next thing you’re at the top.  It’s free to enter too!

These are the kind of views you can expect.  You may not be lucky enough to see the cranes though!

Other things to see

We did have a rough itenery and got to do what we’d planned.  However, for us, a big part of enjoying Stockholm was just having a bit of a wander and stumbling across things that were unplanned.  That was relaxing and we saw some really nice things along the way.  Stockholm is a beautiful city and we really enjoyed our stay.  We created some very fond memories here.  Let us know what you think.

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3 thoughts on “Stockholm as a family”

  1. Great page. An enjoyable read and lots of food for thought. Will definitely use your tips when I go and the hotel looks like a good choice.

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