There’s plenty to do for children in Stockholm, and Södermalm is teeming with child-friendly activities. Even so, it’s exciting to find a hidden gem that’s great for the whole family. Right in the middle of the trendy, celeb-haunt “SoFo” on Södermalm is a small oasis, where children happily play, while learning about history at the same time.
A stone’s throw from Nytorget, next to the large Coop store on the crossroads of Östgötagatan/Gotlandsgatan, is Bryggartäppan, a unique and enchanting hidden children’s playground in Stockholm. Even if you have passed by the anonymous wooden fence hundreds of times, you have almost certainly missed the small square play area that is hiding behind it.
The previously run-down playground was refurbished in 2012 by the City of Stockholm together with artist Tor Svae, so you can expect to find more than just springy tarmac and brightly-colored climbing frames. Instead, it was decided that Bryggartäppan would show children in Stockholm what life was like in the 1800s. The hidden children’s playground is a miniature version of Södermalm as detailed in Per Anders Fogelström’s series of novels, with the book City Of My Dreams as the central focus.
Everything is made out of repurposed wood, and there are swings that aren’t quite straight, a model of a horse and cart, and a real wooden labyrinth maze. All of this is surrounded by a secure fence with a gate that swings shut—so your little ones can’t accidentally run off.
There are, of course, certain elements that will go over your younger kids’ heads, but the tiny, child-friendly houses have a key function in the fictitious 1800s society. The blacksmith’s forge (with a slightly scary blacksmith sitting outside), the tavern, and the textile factory can all be explored and used for games that help the children learn as they play. From inside Henning and Lotten’s house you can also climb out the window and go down the slide. The whole thing has a Pettson and Findus (a series of Swedish children’s books) cartoon feel, and while they may have done away with some of the bright colors, your kids still adore it.
The impressive thing about the hidden children’s playground is that all the buildings and associated items are hand-built on-site using natural materials. Gorgeous fruit trees and beautiful lilac bushes surround the area, making it hard to believe it’s only a few meters from SoFo’s thriving and fashion-conscious café lifestyle.
As an adult, there’s no need to despair because throughout the summer months there’s a small kiosk open, serving coffees, ice creams, and other snacks, which has one hatch open to the main street and one which opens onto the play area.
As you will no doubt appreciate, the combination of children, SoFo, genuine handicrafts, and coffee in the sun can make this a busy spot where seating is limited. But if you do manage to grab a seat or bench during the daytime, you can indulge in a little relaxed, unashamed celeb spotting. There’s bound to be someone famous nearby!