Jelling is a small town in Jutland which is of little significance today. But a bit more than a thousand years ago it was the center of the newly formed kingdom of Denmark. The first recognized members of the Danish royal family had their main base in this village of Jelling. They left behind significant monuments in the form of a massive grave site – it is actually the largest ancient grave in Denmark showing the family had immense wealth and power so they could give such a burial for their founding member.
The biggest attraction of the town is the large Rune Stones standing outside the church. There is one big and one small – the biggest one is the youngest one erected by Harald Bluetooth. On this stone the name Denmark is first written down anywhere in the world making it kind of a birth certificate of Denmark.
You can go and explore the outside monument area day or night and there is free access to go and see the burial mound and the stones which are covered in a glass cage to protect them against the Danish climate which can be rough for a stone over time.
The importance of the site has led to the foundation of a branch of the Danish National Museum right opposite the monument area. The museum is free to enter so if you come during the visiting hour of the museum you should go inside and get a bit more of the store of the area and the oldest history of Denmark.
The museum is an interactive museum which should be able to entertain kids for a while. There are only a limited number of actual ancient artifacts on display – probably because you have only found a limited number of artifacts in the area of Jelling which were only used as the main royal seat for a short period and only had a limited permanent population in ancient times.
The displays and stories are both in Danish and English making it possible to follow for most visitors to the museum. It is good to visit the place either before or after a visit to the monuments outside – but you can enjoy the outdoors without the museum as well if you come outside opening hours.