A visit to Ulriksdal Palace
It all started with a flowerpot. No, not the palace, but my reason for visiting. I had not been to Ulriksdal as an adult until a few years ago. And we didn’t visit for cultural enrichment – it was because I had seen a flowerpot from Ulriksdal in Sköna Hem (my favorite Swedish decorating magazine) and wanted to see if it came in sizes small enough to fit in my suitcase. But what a lovely surprise the entire place was! We ended up spending almost a day there and go back every time we’re in Stockholm.
The Palace area consists of:
The Theatre “Confidencen”
When Lovisa Ulrika came to Sweden as the wife of the future king Adolf Fredrik, she received Ulriksdal palace as a wedding gift. The palace, however, lacked a theatre, and an architect was hired to convert the indoor riding arena accordingly. “Confidencen” was completed in 1753 and was used extensively for many years. But after the assassination of Gustav III in 1792, they stopped using it, and after almost two centuries of neglect, it has now been restored and is once again being used for plays and performances.
Built in the 1600s with interiors from several different centuries, Ulriksdal palace sits on the banks of Edsviken (an inlet of the Baltic Sea) and also houses the Swedish World Wildlife Fund office.
The orangery was originally built in the 1600s to house citrus plants; today it serves as a museum showcasing Swedish sculptures from the 1700s-1900s (with lots of plants as well), and also houses the palace shop.
which hold Queen Kristina’s coronation carriage from 1650.
The chapel was built in the 1860s in Dutch new Renaissance style; today it’s used by Solna parish for masses, and you can get married in it if you wish.
The Palace Park
The park has been redesigned and reworked again and again over the centuries, and to be honest, in its current state, it’s not my favorite park in Stockholm. It consists of four huge lawns bordered by trees (great if you have kids or dogs that need to run around, but kind of plain), and some smaller, more private garden areas. In the middle of it all sits a fountain with two beautiful wild boar sculptures by Carl Milles.
The Palace Park Café
The cafe is housed in a beautiful old stone house with a lovely outdoor seating area and delicious food, definitely make a stop here!
That first time, we visited on a weekday, and there were other people there, but it was far from crowded or busy. Dogs are welcome in the park, and there were lots of them to our delight.
It was a beautiful sunny and warm day, and we sat at a table outside under the trees and watched people play with their dogs on the lawn, sparrows asking for food, and a mama Duck with her ducklings patrolling the cafe area. There were Adirondack chairs set out facing the lawn, and some people had settled in with a glass of wine, a friend or something to read and were clearly spending the afternoon there.
But I still hadn’t been able to find the shop with the flowerpots, so I went in and asked the guard in the orangery, who told me that down the road, there is a garden with a shop and cafe as well, and that was probably where the pot came from. And the Ulriksdal Garden Centre turned out to be another new favorite.
Getting To Ulriksdal Palace & Practical Details
To get to Ulriksdal palace, take the subway red line to the stop called Bergshamra. Once you get off the train, you can take a bus or walk to the palace. It’s a fairly quick walk; the first part is along a not so pretty, somewhat busy road, but once you’re on the street ultimately leading to the palace area, you find yourself on a quiet road through the forest.
When you start getting closer to the palace area, the road is lined with huge old trees, and you pass adorable little cottages that used to be guard posts, but are now homes to some lucky people. There are pastures with grazing horses right next to them and while there is the occasional car going to the palace, it is so peaceful.
Entrance to the Stables and park area is free. There is a charge to tour the Palace, Orangery and theater, and there are guided tours of the Palace. The park and cafe are open year round, but the Palace and Orangery are only open June – August. Dogs are allowed in the park, and in the outdoor seating area of the cafe, but not inside the buildings (aside from guide dogs).