JORVIK Viking Festival 2017: The Best Bits for Kids

You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to find out whether the JORVIK Viking Festival has won ‘Best Festival in York for Kids’ in the Little Vikings Awards, but in the meantime we’ve got the lowdown on what families can look forward to at this year’s festival (20th to 26th February 2017). There’s loads to enjoy, from archery to animals, storytelling to swords and, of course, the infamous ‘poo day’. Lots of it’s free, and it’s all great fun. Here are some of the highlights of this year’s festival.

Coppergate Encampment (FREE!)

The Vikings are returning to Coppergate! Join the hustle and bustle of Viking life at a special living history experience in the heart of York, free of charge. Discover just how the Norse settlers lived, what they traded and what they wore. You’ll even have the chance to pose your questions to the resident Vikings, and discover what they think about their King, Eric Bloodaxe! You may even get a story or two…
Monday 20th to Saturday 25th February – 10am to 4pm – Coppergate Square – FREE

Little Diggers Sessions

Visit DIG during JORVIK Viking Festival and join in the fun at ‘Little Diggers’- where your children can DIG, delve and discover the past! The sessions are for 2 to 5 year olds and are great fun. Themes differ each day and include Viking toys and games, Viking heroes and Viking celebration.
Monday 20th to Saturday 25th February – 10am to 11am – DIG £3.50 per child (with one accompanying adult per ticket) – DIG, St Saviourgate, York

 Have-a-go Sword Combat (5 to 12 year olds) or Archery (8 to 12 year olds)

Instructed by Viking warriors, combatants can learn battle skills or get to grips with a bow and arrow.
Monday 20th to Thursday 23rd February – 10am to 4pm – St Sampson’s Square Marquee – £3.50 per activity

Poo day!

Visit Barley Hall to learn about the smellier side of archaeology. Have a go at making your very own replica historic poo and discover how poo is used to solve ancient mysteries.
Tuesday 21st February – 10.30am to 4pm – Barley Hall – Normal admission charges apply

 Snail Tales Storytelling at Fenwick (FREE!)

Everyone will enjoy the legends of Bloodaxe’s world through traditional family storytelling.
Thursday 23rd February – Sessions at 10am, 11.30am, 2pm & 3.30pm – Fenwick, Coppergate – FREE

March to Coppergate (FREE!)

Camera phone at the ready! Watch the Vikings of Eric Bloodaxe’s army muster and march through York’s ancient streets to Coppergate in a spectacular show of strength.
Saturday 25th February – 12 noon – Departing from Dean’s Park – FREE

Best Beard Competition (FREE!)

Beards are having a moment, but the JORVIK Vikings have been rewarding great beards at the festival for nine years now. Bring along your beardy chums or create your own magnificent homemade version and see if you can win a trophy.
Saturday 25th February – 2.30pm to 3.30pm – Coppergate – FREE

Animal Steading

Get up close and personal with the animals the Vikings would have reared in the city at our Viking Steading, only at DIG! Discover the animals the Vikings reared up-close in the DIG garden. With special child-friendly talks on offer throughout the day exploring how important the rearing of animals was to the Vikings, as it wasn’t just the meat and milk that was of use but even the bones and antlers.
Monday 20th to Saturday 25th February – 10am to 4pm – DIG, St Saviourgate, York – Normal Admission Costs Apply

Festival Finale – Bloodaxe’s Last Stand

Witness the downfall of a Viking monarch at a spectacular final battle. Watch as Eric Bloodaxe fights for his life in an extraordinary display of living history with hundreds of Viking warriors taking to the field. It’s an oudoor event, so wrap up warm. Pre-booking Essential.
Saturday 25th February – 6pm – Rawcliffe Country Park – adult £13.50, concessions £10.50, family of four £40.50, family of five £52.50

 For more details on what’s happening at JORVIK Viking Festival, and to book, visit

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