Charlottenlund Forest and Palace Gardens
Charlottenlund Forest consists of both rather wild deciduous forest and well-tended parkland. It also has a popular ‘dogs’ forest’ where our four-legged canine friends are allowed to run free. Dotted throughout the forest are 30 orienteering posts for public use. At the heart of the forest is Charlottenlund Palace, which is surrounded by a beautiful park that is under a conservation order.
The forest was converted into a royal deer park before the ‘real’ Deer Park was established near Klampenborg. Since the 17th century, better-off Copenhageners have used ‘Lunden’ (the Grove), as the area was called, for recreation, entertainment and drinking. The old Liva Weel song, ‘Come with me to the Grove’ (Gå med i Lunden) is from a 1932 movie that was filmed here and at the racecourse that is still to be found next door.
The forest consists of old beech and oak trees and small lawns, connected by natural paths tramped by countless feet over many years. The palace gardens around the castle were originally in the Baroque style, and the allé still runs from the palace down to Strandvejen. In the late 19th century, the gardens were converted into the English landscape style.
On the lawn behind the castle are two large 300-year-old larch trees, planted when the royal family took over the castle. Almost all of Denmark’s entire population of larch trees is descended from these two specimens. But it is not only in recent times that people have appreciated this place. Around the forest and park are 15 ancient mounds, evidence of early settlements overlooking the Sound.
In the south-west corner of the forest lies the Botanical Garden, with its large variety of rare and exotic trees and plants. It was for many years a somewhat wild and neglected area, but thanks to local activists, who created the association Forstbotanisk Haves Venner (Friends of the Botanic Forest), the garden has now, in collaboration with the Danish Nature Agency, been restored.