With the possible exception of Lapland, nowhere is the magic of Christmas more fantastically rendered than at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens. Seasonal cheer is dished out with a strong Scandi twist: trees are dressed with flair, giving branch space to pagan and Christian icons alike. But be warned – a finely-worked elf or angel costs the same as a box of baubles from your local High Street. Trees, lights and ice create a winter-wonderland around the brightly painted stalls selling crafts, candles, porcelain and wooden dolls. Decorations are the bestsellers. A glass of glogg (mulled wine laced with liquor and spices) is essential on chilly Copenhagen nights, along with aebleskiver (hot apple dumplings).

Dating back to 1843, Tivoli is Europe’s first amusement park, and it’s always been a place of make-believe. At Christmas – for overgrown kids who like that kind of thing – it surpasses itself. By day, the famous rollercoasters and rides rattle away, and ponies parade around carrying children. Some of Tivoli’s restaurants open, too, serving pickled herring, pate and meatball lunches. But it’s after dark that Tivoli truly shines: thousands of lights adorn the trees round the central lake, which becomes a skating rink. And Hotel Centrum (00 45 33 313111, www. dgi-byen.com), 400m from the park, at Helgolandsgade 14, has doubles from £99, B&B. Airlines serving Copenhagen include Bmi (www.flybmi.com) from Edinburgh and Leeds Bradford, and SAS (www.flysas. com) from Heathrow and Birmingham International.