I have actually lived close to Gamla Linköping and Valla for many years, so I have spent a lot of time there - especially with my children.The time is supposed to have stopped in the year 1900 or so.
Gamla Linköping is the town part, in which you can see genuine old buildings and houses that are actually lived in. Many people, both the staff and people who live there or just like to walk around there, wear period costumes.The ground is covered with cobblestones, which can make it difficult for people in wheelchairs. Among many other shops, there is an old-fashioned country store, in which you can only buy such things as existed in the year 1900. Such as sugarloafs and home-made toffee.
Valla is the rural part - there you can see how life was in the country at the same time period. There is a 500 m. walk in between through a beautiful forest, and in the high season you can also go with a small train or a horse-and-cart. There is also a riding-school in Valla, and on Sundays they have pony-riding for children.
I think the funniest thing in Gamla Linköping/Valla through the years, has been such activities for children and families, where you have been "invited" into the houses to "help" with for example washing, making biscuits, making coffee by grinding and boiling the beans, chopping wood, spinning on a spinning-wheel or a distaff, etc. in the old-fashioned way. My daughter and I acutally learned to spin in one of the cottages - we visited it very many times..! :-) And when you have made biscuits and coffee, you can all sit together with other guests and the staff, who are dressed in period costumes, and talk... And then the children get to go out and play with old-fashioned play-things, such as stilts and hoops. I have some very nice memories from these visits..!
Gamla Linköping also offers a lot of activities for adults, such as guided tours inside the old buildings, garden nights (when you get a guided tour in the garden, and can bring your own plants and ask questions about them), ballroom and traditional dancing for everybody, and music nights in the café. I must warn you though, that mostly old people and older middle-aged couples visit these events - so that you do not become disappointed and feel out of place if you are a young adult or family!
Another warning: the shops, restaurants and cafés are VERY expensive. The prices are salted everywhere, compared to ordinary shops and restaurants. I think this is very bad, because it makes Gamla Linköping, which is such a nice and well-meaning place otherwise, into something of a tourist trap... I recommend everybody to bring your own food, and to just look but don't buy anything in the shops or from the craftmen.
All activities are for free though, although you sometimes have to pay a moderate sum for materials, and there is no admission fee either. The toilets are also free - and usually clean. In fact you are free to browse the streets even at night if you like - the area is not restricted in anyway.
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