A SUMMER GUIDE TO EUROPE'S THEME PARKS: NO 2: TIVOLI, DENMARK

Tivoli differs from other theme parks I have visited in that it doesn't rely on state-of-the-art roller coasters. The only roller coaster it does have is a tame affair dating all the way back to 1914. So for parents who don't have nerves of steel this is an ideal place to take the children.

Since opening in 1843, Tivoli has managed to retain many of its original traditions, such as performing artists, musical pantomimes and the Tivoli Boys Guard.

The first thing you notice on entering the park is its wonderful garden setting, full of flowers and picturesque lakes. The only flashing neon light area is the park's permanent fun fair.

Not to be missed are the park's many live-theatre shows: the Chinese Peacock Theatre presents a drama without words in a Punch-and-Judy style, and on the Lawn Stage, amateur dancers, singers, musicians and gymnasts display their skills. For younger kids, there's a dedicated children's theatre, Valmuen, where dolls and actors perform fairy tales.

If you can keep your children awake it's also worth staying up to see the thousands of lamps that are lit all around the park after dusk. On Wednesdays and Saturdays there's also a firework display. Our kids really enjoyed themselves and, to this day, they still delight in singing "wonderful, wonderful, Copenhagen".

Best for: Traditionalists.

Worst for: Roller-coaster Lovers.

Admission price: Low season adults pounds 3.50. children pounds 1.80. High season adults pounds 4.10 and children pounds 2.30. Additional charges for some of the rides.

Opening times: Summer season 23 April to 26 September. Open daily from 11am until midnight, Friday and Saturday from 11am until 1am.

Food and drink: There are around 30 different places to eat ranging from gourmet and grills to fast food. Average meal costs for children are between pounds 3 and pounds 6, adults pounds 6 upwards. Soft drinks are around pounds 1. You're also permitted to take your own food into the park.

Best for adults: Explore the Nyhavn Docks area which is full of cafes that spill out on to cobbled streets. You can also take a day trip to Sweden - ferries leave frequently from Nyhavn Docks.

Getting there: If you are staying in Copenhagen, invest in a "Copenhagen Card" which costs around pounds 17, pounds 27 or pounds 34 for one, two or three days (children between five and 11 are half price). This covers bus and rail and also gives free admission to 60 museums and sights in and around Copenhagen.

Nearest city: Tivoli is situated right in the centre of Copenhagen, with good bus connections and excellent facilities for cycling within the inner city area. Sights include Hans Christian Andersen's house, the Round Museum

(Runde Taarn), Bakken in Klampenborg (the oldest amusement park in the World) and Amalienborg Palace.

Best time to go: April to October.

Sample package price: A two-night stay at the four-star Nyhavn Hotel costs from pounds 313 for adults with no reductions for children. This package includes flights with Maersk Air. Book through Thomson Breakaway (tel: 0181-210 4500).

Further information:

Contact the Danish Tourist Board, 55 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9SY. (tel: 0171-259 5959).

Rating: 6/10

The author travelled with her two children, Lewis (aged 7) and Craig (aged 5).

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