20 – 27 February 2019


On the face of it, large, bearded men carrying an array of fearsome weaponry might not seem particularly family-friendly, but with 60,000 visitors expected to descend on York to spend some time with the resident Norse invaders during the 2019 JORVIK Viking Festival (20 – 27 February 2019), here are 10 of the highlights which will appeal to families.


Have-a-go sword (10am – 4pm daily, Spark:York - £5 per child)

The sword was one of the most important weapons for any Viking warrior, and training in its use started young! Our skilled teachers will take children (aged 5 – 12) through basic training in fun battle workshops. Prebooking is strongly recommended.

Poo Day! (10am – 4pm, 20 & 27 February, DIG – included in entry)

Guaranteed to be germ-free, participants in Poo Day discover how important human waste is to understanding diet and health – and why the Lloyds Bank Turd (fossilised faeces) is one of the most important exhibits at JORVIK Viking Centre! They’ll even make their own replica poo fossil!


Little Diggers (10am, daily except Saturday, DIG - £5 per child)

Perfect for the youngest budding archaelogists in the family (ages 3 – 7), each day the Little Diggers team will help them explore treasures from the past, from Viking hoards to food and clothing.

 Family walking tour (1pm, daily except Saturday, starts from JORVIK Viking Centre - £5 adult, £4 concession, £15 family)

With 4500 years of history to work with, expect a family-friendly tour packed with fascinating facts about York’s colourful past, led by one of JORVIK’s own Viking guides! Expect to hear about everyone from Roman Emperor Constantine and Eric Bloodaxe to Robin Hood and King Arthur in this hour-long wander around the streets.

 Viking Encampment (10am – 4pm daily, Parliament Street – free)

The Vikings were a people who liked to travel – and they have set up a camp in Parliament Street for the week of the JORVIK Viking Festival. Meet traders and crafts people , handling replica artefacts and weaponry in this interactive Norse experience at the heart of the city.


Birds of Prey at Barley Hall (10am – 5pm, 22 February, Barley Hall – included in entry)

Birds of prey featured heavily in Norse sagas and Viking mythology – now you can get up close with these stunning creatures at Barley Hall. Meet a variety of ravens, owls and falcons in the medieval Great Hall, and learn about their significance to the Vikings in the accompanying exhibition. Visitors will also enjoy Seers and Shamans: Magic in the Viking Age, a special extension of Barley Hall’s Magic & Mystery exhibition.

 Strongest Viking Competition (11am, 23 February, St Sampson’s Square – free)

Pick your champion and cheer them on in these trials of strength and endurance to find JORVIK’s strongest Viking! This annual competition pits warrior against warrior in a series of challenges that will leave muscles aching for days!


March to Coppergate (1.30pm, 23 February, starts from York Minster – free)

A veritable Viking army of over 200 warriors dressed in their finest combat gear parade through the streets of York, forming a formidable column of combatants, making their way from York Minster to Coppergate, and on to the Eye of York. Great views all along the route, and a chance to get a little close to the warriors in Dean’s Park, adjacent to York Minster, as they muster ahead of the march.


Annual Best Beard Competition (3.00pm, 23 February, St Sampson’s Square – free)

Natural-grown, woolly, cardboard – young and old, male and female beards of every description are welcome to compete in this annual celebration of fabulous facial follicles! There are prizes and trophies for the best entries – voted by the audience – with participants registering on the day.


Battle Spectacular at Folkvangr Fields (6.45pm, 23 February, Eye of York – £15 adult, £11 concession, £44.50 family)

The biggest event during the annual JORVIK Viking Festival is the son-et-lumiere spectacular, featuring drama, music, combat and concluding with a stunning firework finale! Wrap up warm and take your place around the Eye of York, in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower, for an unforgettable evening where the forgotten sagas of the most extraordinary women in the Viking world are brought to life by a cast of over 100 warriors.


The full programme for JORVIK Viking Festival is available at www.jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk