The JORVIK Viking Festival is back for 2024! Returning to its usual February half term slot, you can enjoy plenty of events and activities for kids, from Poo Day to the Best Beard Contest (now incorporated into a Best Dressed Competition). Here’s what children can look forward to when York returns to the grip of the Norse invaders from 12th to 18th February 2024.
JORVIK Viking Festival 2024 – The highlights for families
Here’s our pick of the very best things for families to see and do at the 2024 JORVIK Viking Festival, all taking place in York city centre from 12th to 18th February 2024. 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 (12th to 18th February 10.30am to 4.30pm, Parliament Street/St Sampson’s Square) – 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.
– Berserker Boot Camp (12th 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.
– Loki: A Bad God’s Guide with Louie Stowell (13th February, 1.30pm – 2:30pm, Marriott Room, York Explore Library) – Following the release of the third book in her hilarious Loki: A Bad God’s Guide series, bestselling author and illustrator Louie Stowell comes to JORVIK Viking Festival 2024! Young readers can hear about the inspiration for Loki’s hijinks and hubris, what it’s like to write stories for a living, and how doodles can help bring characters to life. You’ll also get the chance to ask questions and buy your own signed copy! Pre-booking essential. Suitable for ages approximately 7-11. £5 per child including accompanying adult; accompanying U5s free.
– Viking Crafting for Kids (12th-18th Feb 10:30am-4.30pm, Guildhall)– 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.
– March to Coppergate (17th February, 1:30pm to 2:00pm, starting from Deans Park (behind York Minster) to St Helen’s Square, Parliament Street and Coppergate – 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. Please do not follow the march to the Eye of York. The Viking Games is a ticketed event this year. You can buy your tickets here to make sure you don’t miss out! Recommended viewing areas are St Helen’s Square, Parliament Street and The Coppergate Centre. Free entry.
– Best Dressed (Featuring the Best Beard Competition) (18th February 2024, 12:30pm to 1:15pm, Parliament Street) – A new event for 2024! Take part in the Best Dressed competition! It will celebrate 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 – they’re looking for the most glorious beard in York, whether it’s natural or homemade. Free entry.
– Activity at the Arena (12th to 18th February) – Come along to Parliament Street for saga-themed storytelling sessions, exciting combat displays and live music performances throughout the day! Entry is free.
– Poo Day (12th Feb 11am to 3pm), 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.
– 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
– Festival Finale: The Realms of Yggdrasil, 17th February, 7pm to 8pm, Eye of York – Prepare for the Festival finale as you journey through the realms of Yggdrasil! The world tree is a giant ash supporting the universe in Norse mythology. It connects the nine worlds, including Valhalla (home to Odin and heroes of the battlefield), Niflheim (the cold and dark land of the dead, ruled by the goddess Hel), Asgard (the realm of the gods) and even Jötunheimr (the mountainous frozen land of ice giants). In this story-telling spectacular, listen to familiar tales of these Viking realms connected by Yggdrasil – a great end to your Norse-filled week at JORVIK Viking Festival. £20 adult; £15 concession; children under 3 go free. Pre-booking required.