Visiting Stockholm a design, gastronomy, nature, island hopping haven. Design shops, eating at wonderful restaurants, beautiful walks and galleries was the perfect way to enjoy the holiday weekend. We had 3 full days and saw a lot but can’t wait to return to explore more! It is a very special place that I haven’t been back to for 10 years. It is a city I have always loved and they were the first customers to really understood the simplicity of our designs for fabrics and wallpapers back in 1997.
We decided to stay at Hotel J on Nacka Strand island. I had been for dinner 10 years ago and had always said I must come back and stay and wow it did not disappoint! It has such a beautiful calm feel and the staff were so friendly and helpful. The references to the J yachts all around the hotel work so well. Plus loved the use of blue and white striped fabrics, wood and white flowers. Plus the views out across the water were mesmerising and ever changing. We enjoyed watching the sunsets each evening with a glass of Rose sitting on the wooden sun chairs! The food at the hotel and down in restraurant J in the Nacka Strand Yacht Club was superb. The gambas were so sweet and the mango mouse was incredible with broken meringue and chocolate scrapings on top! They also served great breakfasts and if you got there early we loved sitting in the window seats looking straight out onto the water!
By night one we had decided to have lunches out and dinner on the island which worked perfectly. The boat into Nybrokajen took about 35 minutes or you can get a taxi or bus. We loved using the boats to island hop.
Day 1 in Stockholm
We took the boat to Nybrokajen no.2 after running round trying to buy the travel passes from a local shop! Next time this will be easy but you can’t buy tickets on the boat so do get your travel cards! Also we found out later it might have been cheaper to buy a 3 day pass which gives you unlimited travel each day. They do a 1, 3 or 7 day pass which you can then use on the boats, buses and underground.
Just across the road from the boat stop stop no. 2 is one of my favourite shops in the world Svenskt Tenn. It is pattern heaven with all the Joseph Frank designs mixing together in cushions, lampshades, wallpaper, fabric by the metre, trays, bags, furniture etc.
Then a short walk to Saluhall food hall for lunch. The old building is being restored but they have built a temporary building opposite. We had been recommended to eat at Lisa ElmqvistOstermalms by a friend which was a incredible fish restaurant. We all had the whole lemon sole with capers and beetroot which was delicious. We were on a round table with 4 locals so it was so lovely to chat with them about life in Stockholm. One couple were also property developers so i loved talking about the different buildings we had both created!
We then headed off to explore the city and shop. Our favourite shop was clothes shop Flippa K. The cloths were so simple, beautiful fabrics and colours. Then we also enjoyed looking at Swedish furniture shop Norgavel. Again the designs were so simple in beautiful soft colours.
Day 2 in Stockholm
We took the boat to Djurgarden island stop no.5. There is a big theme park there which we walked straight through drawn to finding the unusual building on the hill! This turned out to be the bell tower at the zoo! Part of Skansen the oldest open air museum in the world and part of Stockholm’s zoo. We then kept walking and met a lovely lady and her son who we asked about where to have a coffee! We ended up walking with them to Rosendalo tradgard which was a magical organic garden centre. We would never have found this place without them and they were such lovely people to meet and talk about gardens with. It was her birthday treat to have lunch sitting under the apple trees and wow we could see why when we got there! It was so hot and sunny we had ginger beers in the sunshine and looked around the gardens before heading off for our lunch booking.
I had booked lunch for us in a restaurant called ‘Oaxen Krog and Slip‘ in the old Djurgarden shipyard built on the old slipway boat shed location. I had seen photos of the wonderful ceiling filled with old wooden rowing boats! The building was designed by architect Mats Fahlander and interior designer Agneta Pettersson who were both inspired by the surroundings. The Nordic bistro style tapas lunch menus was incredible, a real treat. We loved the smoked prawns, rustic vegetable and nut salad, steak tartare, baked celeriac and herring salad to name a few creating an unforgettable taste experience. Lunch is served in Slip and opposite for evenings they have a Michelin star restaurant in Oaxen Krog.
Oaxen – The Gastronomy .The History . The People magazine / in it they use inspiring stories to talk about their love of nature and local produce. It sums up how special the place is and a real joy to read on the flight home. Owners Magnus Ek and Agneta Green talk about their love for creativity, sustainability and ethically produced ingredients living on Djurgarden island. How they strive to use organic ingredients as far as possible. Many ingredients are grown on the island or in the areas immediately surrounding the city. Magnus usually spends around an hour and a half a day on his foraging trips! He talks about the incredible feeling to use ingredients that you have grown or picked yourself which is so true. They talk about how astonishing the wealth of species they have found on their doorstep. They have also just started their own farm on the northern part of the island and this year tested 20 crops and aim to be self sufficient in certain vegetables within a few years. Their Oaxen’s food philosophy was established 21 years ago on the island. The current building was constructed in 2013 though. Even the plates are made on the island by Sunna Jonsfotter and her ceramic studio is just next to Oaxen. They were beautiful colours that worked so well with the food. In the magazine she talks about Magnus asking for particular glazes, colours, sizes and shapes or how she try’s out new ideas to show them.
The island has a wonderful creativity about it, a craft school and we had talked about how we could happily see ourselves living there for the country and city life mix is heavenly.
We then left the island and took a boat to Gamla Stan island the old medieval city centre of Stockholm is. This is were Stockholm was founded in 1252. It was very hectic after our exquisite day in Djurgarden but still great to see.
We then took the boat back to the tranquil island of Nacka Stand as all the bars were getting busy in the glorious sunshine.
Day 3 in Stockholm
We took a taxi to the island of Varmdo were the Artipelag gallery is. The gallery is beautifully placed in the forested hillside. The architect Johan Nyrén has managed to design a building in harmony with the natural surroundings. It fits into the landscape in a beautifully sensitive way but sadly he died before it was completed.
I had looked up what to do in Stockholm and had seen that there was a Morandi exhibition on and he is one of my favourite artists. The exhibited curated by the potter Edmund De Waal of his work and Morandi’s was incredible. We also got there as it opened and had the gallery to ourselves which made it even more special.
Edmund in the video at the exhibition talked about how still life’s create the feeling of meditation on time, slowing down, looking at objects harder. He talked about how Morandi’s work with its intensity and seriousness in such small paintings had influenced his thoughts. The idea of slowing down, moving more slowly or returning to something to see it again is at the heart of what he does. We also saw his book in the shop The Hare with Amber Eyes which we all want to read.
His work I also found very inspiring with the shapes and tone of tone colour that the still life’s create. We all agreed it was a wonderful experience and the gallery space with the archipelago outside worked beautifully together as I hope a few of my photos show.
Artipelag was a joy the exhibition was incredible, the nature walks were stunning and gave you a lovely insite into the joys of sailing around the Archipelago and the food was excellent. The sculptures by Maria Misenberger were beautiful to see in the landscape.
A truly wonderful few days with my mum, mother-in-law Jill and aunt Anne that we will never forget. Can’t wait to return again as there is so many more wonderful places and islands to explore. Just to name a few on my list still to visit – Millesgarden on the island of Lidingo for bronzes opposite Nacka, Nyckelvikennature reserve near Hotel J, Njuta Spa 5 mins from Hotel J, Gustavsberg’s porcelain factory on Nacka Strand, The Vasa Museum of a 17th Century Ship, Skansen the oldest open air museum, Moderna Museet to see Picasso’s, Dali and Matisse paintings and the art on the subways, The building Aula Medica and Stockholms shining waterfront congress centre that we passed in the taxi on the way back to the airport!
The art on the subway will be a whole day experience as over 90 of the 100 subway stations have been decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations and engravings by over 150 artists. These include blue line T-Centralen, Kungstradgarden, Radhuset, SolnaCentrum and Tensta. Green line Hotorget, Thorildsplan and Bagarmossen. Red line Tekniska Hogskolan and Stadion.
New recommendations for seeing in Stockholm:
Two other places to add to the list for future visits from Kathryn: Voxholm (another island just a little further out into the archipelago, with a super inn right at the ferry landing – big old place built around 1900), and Fjaderholmarna (the island about 20 minutes from the Grand Hotel and where there is another super restaurant in a great site).
Stadsbiblioteket Stockholm’s public library designed by Erik Gunnar Ashland from Iain at Loader Monteith Architects.