A tour guide truly worthy of being an ambassador for our wonderful capital

Listen and learn while the Wonderful Wonderful Walks Copenhagen app cracks jokes at a distance while keeping the intimacy closely in your ears

Nobody was ever going to be confused by the names Lepin and Lego, but by using the same font and colouring, the Chinese imitator was onto a good thing with the chronically short-sighted. We’ve all been there: a special offer for a kitchen contraption made by a company beginning with ‘B’ … just not the one we thought it was. Or waking up in bed with a dealer from WP Morgan … 

In Greenwich there used to be a furniture store called ‘No Ikea’. It wasn’t long before they got a telephone call from Stockholm. They changed the name to ‘No Idea’. That’s Greenwich, London, by the way, not Greenwich Village, New York – it’s funny, but nobody ever seems to object to somebody ripping off the name of your town. 

Taking the biscuit 
Heather Gartside, the owner of the Wonderful Wonderful Walks Copenhagen app – which offers users warts-and-all virtual tours around the city, which can be enjoyed on the route or from the armchair – is adamant she didn’t rip her name off from Wonderful Copenhagen. 

Like the capital’s official tourism company, she borrowed it from Danny Kaye, she insists, and besides, it’s not like she wants the association. In the wake of the pandemic, the experienced walking tour operator is taking a more upbeat approach to the dwindling numbers of tourists in the city, and she’s had enough of all the pessimism. 

“It’s time that we breathed some life into the dispirited tone that the tourist bureau Wonderful Copenhagen has set,” she contended.

“It’s really taken the Danish butter cookie over the past few months with its lacklustre, scared, half-finished or downright defeated campaigns and articles on social media about the financial catastrophe that has hit so many hotels, companies, bars, restaurants … and yes, self-employed tour guides.” 

Scintillating wit
Gartside’s answer to the pandemic, which overnight prevented her from meeting her clients, was to go virtual: “The new normal is uncharted territory, with much in the tourist business now becoming, and in the near future, virtual.” 

She spent the spring researching and then writing a new 17,000-word script packed full of informative, witty and often salacious details about the less frequented and unusual parts of the Danish capital, which is complemented by music, video and some standout photography. 

Available via Google Play and the App Store, the result is the kind of guide everybody secretly wants but never gets. It’s so evocative of the capital, you could just listen at home and then cross Copenhagen off the bucket list – an approach taken by Liam from CTO Virtualtrips.  


Huge applause
“Just when you think it’s becoming predictable there’s a wacko piece of music or some indecipherable Danish word thrown at you. Highly recommended, even from my apartment in London!” he enthused.

“I really enjoyed the humorous and well modulated commentary, and I love the tips on all the free things to do – oh and when you’re nearby public conveniences!” concurred Patricia Agnew from Toastmasters CPH North.

“WWWalks is very different and full of fun and original content. My kids liked it too, and all the music and funny voices had them enjoying the history so much that they forgot that they were learning!” added Mariska Volkers, the founder of Nordsjælland International Community.

Sustainable focus
Out of the adversity, Gartside is advocating a more sustainable approach to tourism, not only with her virtual tour, but through the observations she includes about present day innovation and values in the city.

“Those that can adapt are the only ones that will weather the storm. This is an exciting time, where we can rise in beautiful, user-friendly and sustainable new ways. After all, Copenhagen aims to become carbon neutral by 2025,” she said.

“So where is the fight, Wonderful Copenhagen? Great ideas are born out of adversity – be brave! And no, we don’t want the stinking cruise ships back!”


Busy schedule
Gartside also live-streams from Copenhagen every two weeks via virtualtrips.io. Recent escapades included a stand against the overblown global concept of Danish hygge and a performance entitled ‘Danish Divas’.

WWWalks is clearly gathering steam. Last month, Gartside held court at the ongoing International Citizens Day with a speech entitled ‘What is it with all these Christians and Frederiks’. 

Winona Ryder’s character asked the same question of all the Heathers at her high school in the classic 1989 film, but in Copenhagen’s case, it will have to settle for, and treasure, the one and only.