In Mariefred you can find a railway Museum, but not only a exhibition of old things, you can also take a trip with a real steam train on the railway between Mariefred and Läggesta. The locomotives are from between year 1890 and 1925 and the railway itself is of a 600 mm narrow gaguge type.
The station on the railway is Läggesta - Marielund - Hjorthagen - Mariefred.
In Läggesta you also have a connection to the normal train to Stockholm, as well as another old style train for a later period, running on normal gauge line to Taxinge-Näsby
I ended my walk around Mariefred at the little harbour. And how lucky I was to just see the old steamboat 'Mariefred' return home from her trip to Stockholm.
A great way to travel from Stockholm to Mariefred is actually by taking this steam boat. You will not only be visiting Mariefred and Gripsholm castle, but will also have the chance to enjoy the beautiful Lake Mälaren. The trip from Stockholm does take a few hours though, so be prepared for that. I've never done this trip myself, but it is still on my wish list. It sounds like a great thing to do! You can find more info about prices and times on their website:
Inside the train station is a nice little museum. The entrance is for free so don't hesitate to take a look inside. I quite enjoyed this little museum about the history of the train station of Mariefred and the history of the small railway system in Sweden. They have some displays, old photos, some machinery, etc.
The "Grafikens Hus" opened in 1996 in what used to be the castle barns. Here you can see graphics exhibitions, but also see artists at work. I didn't have time for it myself so this one comes without personal views.
A perfect way to spend some time if you have some to spare other than just an afternoon to see the castle and town.
Summertime, the little steam train runs on a gauge only 60 centimetres wide! This it does between Mariefred harbour and the village of Läggesta which is where the main railway passes. Therefore, there is also the alternative of going to Läggesta by train from Stockholm and then take the steam train to Mariefred itself instead of the local bus (or boat from Stockholm). A short but interesting journey, just check the departure times first to avoid disappointment. In Mariefred, you can also see the beautiful station and train sheds.
The same company (see website) also does a 1950s motortrain run from Läggesta to Taxinge-Näsby if you are a train buff.
Definately my favourite Swedish castle. The place feels lively and vibrant. One reason it feels cheerful is probably because of its warm colours; you are met by this gorgeous red tone. Finally, there is a fantastic theatre inside, created by king Gustav III, the theatre king, who loved to write plays and so on, until he realised that this was unsuitable for a king. He was even shot dead whilst visiting a theatre...An interesting feature at the theatre are the many shutters in the ceiling. These could be opened so that the servants could also watch the play - often with a better view than the proper guests. How generous!
Another feature of the castle is the huge, round room where the king played cards with friends (but of course also discussed matters)!
So is there no medieval castle feeling to this place? Of course there is. The first fortress here was built in the 14th century by the famous nobleman Bo Jonsson Grip, who lent his name to the castle. It was later given up as a carthusian abbey until the protestant reformation led by king Vasa. Vasa instead had a typical castle of the time built, first as a defense and then with a palace part. Thus, we today know Gripsholm as one of the "Vasa castles". Royals were born here, lived here and extended it. The Great Hall looks like you would expect a castle gathering place to look. The older royal apartments are in dark wood and there are staircases and corridors everywhere to explore. Then there is the magic situation by the lake, giving it a "mound" feel.
Today, the castle serve as the National Portrait Gallery of Sweden and whilst the royal private quarters are full of paintings of all Swedish kings and other nobility, further areas are full of paintings of modern Swedes like politicians, businessmen and cultural people.
Finally, there are two viking runestones outside if you want to travel even further back in history.
So do join the fascinated German tourists who come here in hoards because of a famous German book called Schloss Gripsholm :-)