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JORVIK Viking Festival coming to York from 12 to 18 February

Saturday, 10 February 2024 09:00

By Chantele Hodson

Europe’s largest annual Viking Festival coming to York from 12 to 18 February.

As Europe’s largest annual Viking Festival, now in its 39th year and regularly attracting 45,000 visitors to York each February, there’s a lot to see and do at JORVIK Viking Festival for visitors of all ages.

“There’s so much to do during Festival week with activities and events spread across the city centre, and with a bit of planning, families can have a packed day of Viking-themed fun activities every day of the Festival,” comments event manager, Abigail Judge. “We’d always advise booking in for some of the activities – including a visit to JORVIK Viking Centre, of course, and the Festival Finale – but many have booking slots available on the day, too.”

With some events – including the Viking games – already sold out, here are Abi’s top picks for events that the kids will love:

  • Poo Day! Monday 12 February, 11am – 3pm, DIG.  It’s smelly, it’s squelchy – but it tells us lots about the past! Bring the kids to DIG to find out why archaeologists love poo, and get hands-on making your own replica poo fossil. Don’t forget to go and see the famous Lloyds Bank Turd at JORVIK Viking Centre afterwards!  Included with admission to DIG.  
  • Berserker Boot Camp, daily at 10.30am, 11am, 1pm, 1.30pm,2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm and 3.30pm at The Guildhall. Under the guidance of some of Jorvik’s most fearsome warriors, learn combat skills with training swords and shields.  Suitable for ages 5-12.  Tickets are £5 per child.  
  • Best Dressed Viking, Best Beast and Best Beard, Sunday 18 February at 12.30pm in St Sampson’s Square. A new event for 2024 - take part in our Best Dressed competition! We’ll be celebrating the Vikings in all of their forms, from myth and legend to pop culture! Channel your inner Ragnar Lothbrok from Vikings or even Marvel’s Thor, Loki or Hela in our new Cosplay category. Showcase your pooch's inner 'Best Beast' or put your whiskers to the test at our annual Best Beard competition! Men, women and children welcome – we're looking for the most glorious beard in York, whether it's natural or homemade.Free!
  • Family crafting, daily at The Guildhall, 10.30am to 4.30pm. Viking crafting for the whole family! With pottery, wool-braiding, buzz bone making and beard-making all on offer, there's plenty to choose from and get creative. £3 for one craft, £5 for two. 
  • The March to Coppergate, 1.30pm from York Minster. The best procession to take place through York city centre each year!  Line the streets from York Minster to Coppergate and watch around 200 armoured Viking warriors and costumed civilians as they parade from Dean’s Park.  Get a good vantage point nice and early – Parliament Street offers brilliant views down a column of warriors that stretches right down Davygate! Free!  
  • Arena!  Daily in St Sampson’s Square, with shows at 11am, 12.00pm, 12.30pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm most days (see the signage on site). Saga-themed storytelling sessions, exciting combat displays and live music performances throughout the day! You can also find the Festival Information Stand nearby. Free!
  • Stagecoach Presents Sunday 18 February, 2pm in St Sampson’s Square. Join this group of young local actors for a short Viking-themed performance. Free!

For more information, details on how to book tickets and the full programme of events, please visit jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.

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