Egeskov Castle and it’s famous gardens were on our list of “must sees” during our Scandinavian road trip. We had seen the turrets of the castle peeping between trees from the car park on our way North but had arrived late in the afternoon on a dull and drizzly day.
Rather than squeeze in a quick look on that day we agreed to make a detour on our way back to visit this fairy tale castle and go round at our leisure.
Located on the Danish island of Funen, the castle is Europe’s best preserved water castle from the Renaissance period. The castle structure was built in 1554 and at that time the only entrance was via drawbridge.
The castle consists of two long buildings connected by a thick double wall, allowing defenders to abandon one house and continue fighting from the other. The double wall is over one metre thick and contains secret staircases and a well.
The estate has belonged to the same family since 1786 and has been extremely well cared for.
The grounds were very beautiful and extremely colourful as well as being extremely varied. There were gardens of all kinds – an English garden, a water garden, a herb garden, a formal garden depicting the four seasons using different colours and varieties with wind chimes in the centre.
There were gardens devoted to vegetables and fruit (the apple trees were groaning with fantastic fruit), mazes, rose gardens, gardens devoted to colourful dahlias, beautiful avenues of trees – you get the picture.
After a lovely long stroll through the grounds we went inside and walked through the rooms open to the public. These included the a drawing room, the banqueting hall, the music room and various bedrooms.
The highlight of the interior was the incredible Titania’s Palace – the most intricate and amazing doll’s house I’ve ever set eyes on. It was commissioned by Sir Nevile Wilkinson (starting In 1907) whose daughter asked him to make a beautiful house for the fairies she had seen “at the bottom of the garden”. Sadly for his daughter, he and a team of craftsmen didn’t complete the 18 room house until 1922.
The house contains miniature furniture made out of mahogany and there are 3000 tiny works of art and miniatures from around the world on display inside. It is absolutely magnificent.
Back outside we only had a short time to explore the collection of restored cars and other vehicles (including a 1960’s London bus that brought back many childhood memories) before closing time. There were also other exhibitions of art, fashion, emergency vehicles, motor cycles and push bikes but we missed out on those.
It’s always good to leave somewhere wanting more and we definitely wished we could have spent more time at Egeskov Castle. I would love to see the garden in a different season so maybe we will pay a return visit one of these days.