The National Digest

Boats and Beach Huts: a Family Holiday on Denmark’s Ærø Island

A Danish camping break … with three generations under canvas. It may not sound fun but this picturesque island makes it a memorable escape from ‘reality’

There’s a thrill attached to going somewhere by boat. An expanse of open water separates “real life” from ice-cream-for-breakfast holiday mode, offering a much-needed mental and physical distance from the daily grind. Boarding a ferry from the mainland to a small island famed for its beer and beach huts makes for an even greater thrill. Our destination was Ærø, a picturesque island off the south-east coast of Denmark with a population of around 6,000. It is a popular wedding destination and, since 2015, it’s had another attraction, too.

On top of the sands at Ærø’s Vesterstrand beach is the yellow beach hut from the cover of my book, The Year of Living Danishly – first spotted when friends visited years ago and sent back a slew of photos. The book was a surprise bestseller and the hut became popular – prompting the owner to get in touch and readers to start sending their own hut pics.

So, we went on a family pilgrimage to it – the first time all of us had holidayed together: a ramshackle party of seven that included my in-laws, husband, our five-year-old son and toddler twins, who were only potty-trained a week before. My husband, a thrifty sort and fond of the great outdoors, had spared no expense and booked us into a two-star campsite. With toddler twins. Who were only potty trained a week before!

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