Stockholm: Elfviks Gård
Address: Elfviks Uddväg 12, 181 90 Lidingö, Stockholm, Sweden
Open: 10am – 4pm Wednesday to Sunday, with lunch served weekdays and brunch served weekends.
If Enid Blyton and JK Rowling were Swedish, they definitely would have set a collaborative book at this enchanted, castle-like manor. Even its name sounds magical (well, it has the word “elf” in it). Surrounded by rudely indifferent farm animals and overlooking Stockholm inlet, the grandiose mansion that is Elfviks Gård looks much the same as it did when it was built in 1775, and today you can come to eat, drink or simply drool all over the décor, architecture and gardens.
Brunch and lunch – which are 245-250SEK (about $40AUD) – consist of multiple courses of delicious and sometimes strange Swedish fare accompanied by unlimited free bread, salad, coffee, cucumber-infused water and sometimes truffles (bring a doggy bag). After you’ve eaten, go and sit by the roaring fireplace and pick one of the ancient books off the stacked shelves for a flick through. Admittedly they’re all in Swedish, but they’re fun to look at anyway because of all the weird circles and dots on the letters A and O. After that, wander round the grounds and try your luck at convincing the goats and horses to pay you a whisker of attention.
Elfviks Gård is seriously so quaint and enchanted that if I ever achieve my life goal of getting a long-term (and long-haired) Scandinavian lover, I’ll probably force them up the aisle here. Check their website before you go, as they sometimes close over the hotter parts of summer, but it’s best to go in winter anyway, when the sparkling snow cover over everything makes it look like Santa’s workshop.