Celebrate with the Norsemen at Jorvik Viking Festival, York

We have just come back from a wonderful long weekend of Norse fun at the Jorvik Viking Festival in York. Thor did not bring any thunder… I am not sure if that means he was happy or sad? I for one was very happy with the sun beaming down and the lack of raging storms. The whole event was brilliant. If you have even the slightest interest in vikings (or the amazing History Channel’s series) I would recommend you go. Also, if like me you have a thing for grubby, long haired sweaty men with a penchant for natural fibres you will be in heaven….or valhalla!

There was so much to do we felt like we only skimmed the surface. The main highlights for us were the march to Coppergate complete with music, drums, war cries, shouts and sneers ending at the eye of York with battle reenactments . A visit to the fascinating back in time Jorvik Viking Centre. The nine realms pop up tipi bar and the original Valhalla bar - Skol! The encampment and viking market. Topped of with the Battle spectacular at Folkvangr Fields - where stories are told and battles fought ending in a wonderful firework display shooting up from the Clifford’s Tower. I am such a sucker for events like these - I love the chance to completely engross myself in something and let everyday life drift away.

York was overrun with vikings, but to be honest a surprising number of peoples look like vikings at the moment - man buns, long beards, tattoos and braids are everywhere. I figured out a way to spot a real viking enthusiast though, it is their shoes - they look like pasties. It really was a treat being in the thick of all the vikings - there were sheepskin cloaks everywhere (which I suspect double up as fireside rugs for most of the year). After a few days it felt perfectly normal for someone to be walking down the street with a wolf skin covering their head and body. I was desperate to dress up but the kids said they wouldnt come if I did. I think next year I will go on my own without the little killjoys!

It is very easy to get carried away – I nearly came home with a cloak and cup carved from a horn, but reality kicked in in the form of a look from Gavin …..although he fell for the charms of a beautiful woollen hoodie from Descended from Odin.

If we were more organised we would definitely have gone to Jorvik Dig, where kids get the chance to be archaeologists digging up replica artefacts found in York from indoor excavation pits. Mead tasting would have been good, the concert looked beautiful and I bet Freya’s banquet was a spectacle. We also managed to miss the strongest viking and best beard competitions. Actually writing this it feels like we missed more than we saw!!

The kids loved joining in with the hustle and bustle of Viking life, with everyone around them engrossing them in their sagas and tales. There were also battle workshops, story-telling, combat displays, music, replica fossil poo making, crafting and dressing up.

Thank you York for a wonderful adventure!


Book ahead - lots of the events get booked up in advance, so don’t miss out. However there is still lots to do on the day if you haven’t been organised in advance.

Do definitely book the Jorvik viking centre in advance too. If you book in advance you can simply show up at your allotted time and walk straight in.


Jorvik Viking Festival