The JORVIK Viking Festival is back for 2023! Returning to its usual February half term slot, you can expect all the favourite events and activities for kids, from Poo Day to the Best Beard Contest. Here’s what children can look forward to when York returns to the grip of the Norse invaders from 11th to 19th February 2023.
JORVIK Viking Festival 2023 – The highlights for families
Here’s our pick of the very best things for families to see and do at the 2023 JORVIK Viking Festival, all taking place in York city centre from 11th to 19th February 2023. Many of the activities are free – hooray! – and all of them are fun. The Viking encampment, Poo Day, March to Coppergate and Best Beard Contest are our top picks, but here are all of the highlights for families.
– Viking Encampment (11th to 18th February 10.30am to 4.30pm) – Meet the Vikings who have gathered in Jorvik – learn about their trades, see their crafts in action and get a selfie or two! Free event. Find out more >
– Berserker Boot Camp (11th to 18th February 10.30am to 4.30pm) – Little vikings can prepare for battle with these fun Berserker Bootcamp workshops, led by JORVIK’s expert instructors. Suitable for ages 5-12 only, £5 per child, pre-booking advised. Find out more >
– Feast with the King with Francesca Simon (11th Feb 2pm-4pm) – Feast with the King, with Francesca Simon. To mark the release of the third book in the Two Terrible Vikings series, bestselling author Francesca Simon will be making a triumphant return to the JORVIK Viking Festival! Hear the Horrid Henry author talk about what inspired her to write her Viking tales, with a chance to buy your own signed copy! Pre-booking essential. Find out more >
– Viking Crafting for Kids (11th-18th Feb 10:30am-4pm)– Try your hand at Viking crafting! With pottery, wool-braiding, broach making, shield designing and buzz bone making all on offer, there’s plenty to choose from and get creative. £3 for one craft, £5 for two. Find out more >
– March to Coppergate (18th February 1.30pm)– They’ve come from near and far to muster in their fearsome armies – now it’s your chance to see hundreds of Viking warriors march through the city. With their war cries echoing around the streets, the March to Coppergate is a mighty sight to behold. Recommended viewing areas are College Green, near York Minster, St Helen’s Square, Parliament Street and The Coppergate Centre. Free event. Find out more >
– Annual Best Beard competition (11th February, 11am) – This fun competition has become something of a cult highlight, drawing huge crowds and some very competitive participants! Young or old, male or female – all are encouraged to enter and try to win the highly prized beard trophies. Homemade beards are permitted! Free event. Find out more >
– St Helen’s Square Stage (11th-18th Feb 10am-5pm) – Head over to St Helen’s Square for saga-themed storytelling sessions and exciting combat displays throughout the day! You can also find the Festival Information Stand nearby. Free event. Find out more >
– Poo Day (15th Feb 10am-1pm), DIG: An Archaeological Adventure – 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! Ticket price included in admission to DIG. Find out more >
Annual Strongest Viking Competition (18th Feb 11.15am) – The stakes are high for the annual Strongest Viking Competition! Join JORVIK Viking Festival for hammer-holding, leg-wrestling, hand-to-hand combat and more – cheer on your favourite Viking champion at this family-friendly contest. Free event. Find out more >
– JORVIK Viking Centre – open daily – Explore York’s Viking heritage in this world-famous attraction, built on the site of York Archaeological Trust’s original Viking dig in the 1970s, and see Coppergate as it would have looked in the 10th century with a stunning recreation of part of the Viking city of Jorvik. Plus, on special loan from Lancashire County Museum Service, is the Silverdale Hoard, one of the largest Viking hoards ever uncovered in the UK, with more than 200 pieces of silver rings, hacksilver and coins of Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Arabic origin. Find out more >
– Battle Spectacular in the Land of Darkness (18th February 6:45pm) – When night falls at the Eye of York, gather to see the tale of Ibn Fadlan, the Arabic witness to the might of the Vikings. His vivid account of their strength, rituals and ferocity will be brought to life with a cast of legendary Norsemen, to recreate their historic encounter in ‘the land of darkness’. Tickets for this thrilling finale of JORVIK Viking Festival are likely to sell out so secure yours today to avoid disappointment. Find out more >