Hildasholm is a stunning house in Leksand, Dalarna. It’s a big tourist attraction that offers tours of the house and that has a stunning garden. Take a guided tour and learn more about the house and about the people that used to spend their summers here. Axel Munthe was a well-known doctor for Queen Victoria and a famous author.
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Hildasholm offer guided tours
If you want to enter the house, you have to take a guided tour. We ended up with the guide Axel (yes same name as the man that gifted this house). Axel Munthe gave this house to his wife Hilda Pennington Mellor. Even if this was her house, most of the stories are about her famous husband Axel Munthe. They both fell in love with Dalarna during their honeymoon in 1907 and then they ended up spending their summers here.
The building is designed by the same architect as the castle Solliden in Sweden, Torben Grut. It was built between 1910 and 1911. The property is owned by the foundation “Pennington-Mellor-Munthe Trust”. But the family is allowed to spend time there so a visit to the house does not include the whole place but some parts of the house. It’s a really special house that was owned by really special people.
Hilda Pennington Meller
Hilda was 19 years younger than her husband Axel. She was born in France in 1876 and she was the grandchild of a bishop for the Anglican church. She Married Axel Munthe and in 1907 and they stayed together until 1919 when they ended up separating. Hilda was a woman of strength and power. She and Axel ended up having two sons, Peter and Malcolm and she made sure that the children were brought up in a creative way.
The house at Hildasholm was called “Stenhuset” (translates to The Stonehouse) until her death in 1967 when the house started to be called Hildasholm instead. Inside, you’ll find a mix of local and international furniture and a lot of personal things. Hildasholm is a place where you can see that creativity was of huge importance.
The artwork at Hildasholm
Hilda let her boys, Peter and Malcolm, paint a lot and they also created costumes and marionettes by hand. In most of the rooms, you can see paintings straight on the walls and it feels like a real home. A lot of the toys that are found inside the house are made by the family. There’s a lot of art on the walls – art that also makes you think. For example, there’s a painting that is “double”. When looking at it from one side, it’s one person and when seen from another side, it’s another person = awesome! The painting is of both sons and was a Christmas present to Hilda.
Another painting that makes you think is the one that looks really nice and well-made. Well, with the exception of one of the hands. The hand is not painted. No one knows why that is. Why there’s a painting, framed and hanging on the wall but that’s not finished?! It’s up to your imagination to come up with an idea of why the hand never got painted. I think that it’s because he lost his inspiration from that specific painting.
Axel Munthe – a famous man
Axel Munthe was, like I mentioned before, the doctor of Swedish Queen Victoria. He is also the author of the famous book The Story of San Michele. As soon as we were done with the tour, I listened to the audiobook. It’s said to be an autobiography and it was interesting. I was waiting during the whole book to hear about how he met Hilda but that never happened. After listening to the audiobook, I felt like Axel was a really smart man. At the same time, I am still surprised that such a huge focus is on him and not on Hilda.
During the tour, a lot of the stories focus on Axel and his life. After he and Hilda separated, he didn’t spend that much time at Hildasholm anymore and since it was her house – the focus should be on her. During the tour of the house, you aren’t allowed to photograph. We didn’t break any rules, as of press – Mini was allowed to take pictures.
The gardens at Hildasholm
Apparently, Hilda was really interested in gardening. Or, at least she knew what she wanted. The gardens of Hildasholm are impressive. There are several small parts that are completely unique and special. It’s like walking around different rooms and all the small gardens have something different to offer. During our walk in the gardens, there was an exhibition of different artwork.
Everything is very nicely arranged and it’s a pleasure walking around here. We saw people having picnics here and we believe that they bought their food in the café that’s located on the premises. And our favorite part was an art piece that was a huge bird’s nest. I hope that they keep it there forever!
Information about Hildasholm
Address: Klockaregatan 5, 793 31 Leksand.
Opening hours during summer: Daily 10.00 – 17.00.
Entrance fee: 150 kronor/adult. About 15 euros (2020) for the tour of the house. 50 kronor (about 5 euros) for just the garden.
Guided tours: In Swedish: 11.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 15.00. In English upon pre-booking at 16.00.
Website of Hildasholm.
Kulturresan in Dalarna – The Culture Route
This is a great project that connects important historical places that have a high value for the visitors. In total, there are nine different places around Dalarna that you should visit during your visit to the region. Sure, there are a lot more interesting places that you should visit but it’s a great start to visit the nine that are on the list. The different attractions that are part of Kulturresan are:
- Verket & Avesta Art.
- Falu Gruva.
- Carl Larsson.
- Dalarnas Museum.
- Nils Olsson Dalahästar.
- Porfyr- & Hagströmmuseet.
Kulturpasset – Your passport to the cultural sites in Dalarna
The Culture Passport is a passport that you buy for 125 kronor (about 12 euros) and it gives you different perks and kinks to all the nine sights that are part of Kulturresan. You can use it for two whole years so there’s no hurry to visit all the sights. Even if you are paying for the pass – you’ll end up saving money. These are the following discounts and things you’ll get at different attractions:
- Verket & Avesta Art – 50% on the entrance fee.
- Falu Gruva – 20% on the entrance fee (conditions apply).
- Carl Larsson – 20% in the gift shop.
- Dalarnas Museum – A goodie bag worth about 100 kronor (about 10 euros).
- Ornässtugan – 50% on the entrance fee.
- Hildasholm – 50% on the entrance fee.
- Nils Olsson Dalahästar – Free text when you buy a dalahorse.
- Zorn – 50% on the entrance fee (conditions apply).
- Porfyr- & Hagströmmuseet –
- 50% on the entrance fee.
At each place you visit, you’ll get a stamp in your passport. When you collect all the stamps, you’ll get a “dalahäst” (Dala horse) as a gift!
Disclaimer: Our visit to Hildasholm was part of a press trip that was arranged by Visit Dalarna. All the thoughts and opinions are our own!