After spending an exciting couple of weeks travelling across the Nordic region, I thought I’d share another family friendly travel guide. This time it’s the turn of Norway’s capital Oslo, a city that never fails to excite and inspire, and one that is packed full of fun things to do and discover with your little ones.
Offering a fantastic mix of world-class architecture and museums, as well as an incredible array of public parks and breath-taking scenery, here are my family’s favourite moments to help you plan your next trip:
The Munch Museum was only partly built on our last trip to Oslo so to finally get inside and explore this incredibly curated space was a total highlight. Completely child friendly, this is understandably a busy attraction especially on a wet day in July. That said, the ‘Kaoskammeret’ or ‘Chaos Chamber’, a playful art space just for children found on the tenth floor seemed to be the best place to escape the crowds. Filled with blankets and bean bags, light projections, and ambient music; it seemed the grown-ups were enjoying it just as much as the kids. Along with the amazing art, a ‘Scream Burger’ in the café is a highly recommended sweet treat, and if you’re passing by in the evening be sure to head up to the top floor bistro for a well-earned glass of something chilled while watching the sun set.
Safe to say visiting the largest museum in the Nordics is quite the sensory experience. Located alongside Oslo City Hall and the Akershus Fortress, the newly opened National Museum contains over 6,500 pieces of permanent art, craft and design as well as hosting an impressive calendar of visiting exhibitions housed in a dedicated light hall perched on the roof. Don’t worry though about taking children. Besides a fantastic café on every floor with lots of seating and perfectly framed views, at this museum younger visitors are actively encouraged to interact with what they see, thanks to activity benches, drawing stations and workshops found throughout.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Free to enter and open all year round, we spent the most idyllic Sunday exploring Oslo’s largest park. Just a quick tram ride to Frogner, this 80-acre site was the life’s work of Gustav Vigeland and is now home to over 200 of his sculptures in granite, bronze and wrought iron. Also, Frogner Park is the home of Norway’s biggest collection of roses and you’ll be glad to hear public playground, which is located near the main entrance. Plus once everyone has tired themselves out you can head to the pretty café area for a much needed rest at one of their many outdoor tables.
Opposite Oslo’s majestic Opera House the Deichman Library is the ideal free family hangout. Eleven years in the making, this incredible building spans six floors, and as well as an unbelievable amount of dedicated pram parking there’s a very impressive children’s section on level two, with books in every language, soft play activities and interactive learning. There’s also a cinema, auditorium, café and workshop spaces on site as well relaxation areas to not only read in, but to play board games together or listen to music. Also, on a clear day be sure to head up to the top floor and take in the very special views of the Oslo fjord and the landscape beyond.
Opposite the National Museum you’ll find City Hall Pier 1 the place to catch the regular ferries that run between the islands of the inner Oslo Fjord. The closest, Hovedøya Island is just a matter of minutes away from the city centre, but as soon as you arrive you’re instantly transported to another world. Simply follow the winding footpath past quaint monastery ruins that date from Middle Ages and defensive cannon batteries, before heading on through beautiful forest to a scenic beach area. Be sure to bring a blanket, a picnic, and your swimming gear as you won’t want to leave.
want to know more?
- Where we stayed
Safe to say where I stay is always an integral part of my holiday experience and as someone who is passionate about interiors, they’re not something I’m prepared to compromise on. Prior to planning our trip I’d read a lot of amazing reviews about the recently opened Att Revier and it truly didn’t disappoint. From its Nordic boutique style decor, spacious family friendly apartments, through to the super convenient laundry facilities and the gorgeous rooftop terrace, we’ll definitely be staying here again.
- Where we ate
Let’s be honest trying to please the whole family can be tricky when it comes to eating out, especially if you need to feed a baby, have a youngster with very specific habits, or as a grown up you just want something a bit special. Thankfully this city has several food halls and I’d heartily recommend you stop by Mathallen Oslo. With over 30 specialty stores, cafés and eateries you can tailor what you need to your tastes.
- Where we saved
My final piece of advice whether travelling to Oslo with your family, or on your own, is to invest in an Oslo Pass. This handy app gives you free unlimited access to all public transport throughout the city, including trams, buses and night buses, as well as the ferries mentioned earlier.
My family and I spent five days in Oslo on this trip and could have easily filled more, so if you have any further recommendations do let me know.
All images by Nicola Capper.
Enjoyed reading this post? Then read my family friendly travel guide to Copenhagen.