The JORVIK Viking Festival 2018: The best bits for kids

Winner of Best Festival in the Little Vikings Awards once more, it’s no surprise that this year’s JORVIK Viking Festival has a programme packed with great activities for children. The Festival takes place from 12th to 18th February and there’ll be events across the city. Many are free, all are fun. This year’s festival explores the invasion of the Great Viking Army by the three brothers, sons of the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, in AD 866 and the dawn of Viking York! Here are a few of our highlights –  be sure to pre-book where required.

Parliament Street Viking Encampment Get up close to real Norsemen and women and discover how they lived, what they traded and what they wore. See Viking-age crafting in action as the resident blacksmith works all week produces authentic arrowheads. You might even hear a saga or two. Monday 12th to Saturday 17th February 2018 – 10am to 4pm – Parliament Street – Free

Viking Age Crafting – New for 2018! Try your hand at a selection of Norse-inspired crafts, including pottery, pole-lathe, necklace making, willow weaving, textile workshops and drop spindle bracelets. Monday 12th to Thursday 15th February 2018 – 10 am to 4pm – St Sampson’s Square Yurt – £2 per craft or 3 for £5

Viking Animal Steading: Birds of Prey New for 2018! Get up close to the magnificent birds of prey the Vikings would have reared at the special Viking steading, only at DIG. With themed talks and activities around DIG, you’ll discover the importance of the birds like the red kite and raven in Viking society. Monday 12th to Saturday 17th February 2018 – 10am to 4pm – DIG, St Saviourgate, York – Included in Admission

Return of the Vikings to Coppergate! Viking storytellers, known as skälds, will take centre stage in Coppergate, regaling you with tales from the sagas. There’ll be real Vikings-age objects to look at and other chances to mingle with the Vikings. Monday 12th to Saturday 17th February 2018  – 10am to 4pm – Coppergate Square (outside JORVIK) – Free

Watlington Hoard Comes to JORVIK One of the most important Viking-age hoards to be discovered in England, the Watlington Hoard, will be on display at JORVIK during the festival. Explore a tumultuous period in our history: the invasion of England by the Great Viking Army. Monday 12th to Sunday 18th February 2018  – 10am to 5pm (last admission) – JORVIK Viking Centre – Included in admission – Pre-book to beat the queues

Have-a-Go Archery (8 to 12 years) A unique opportunity for kids to learn the skills of 10th-century archery! Instructed by JORVIK’s skilled instructors participants will learn how to use a bow and arrow with hawk-like efficiency! Monday 12th to Thursday 16th February 2018 – 10am to 4pm – Parliament Street Marquee – £5 per child

Have-a-Go Sword Combat (5 to 12 years) Prepare for battle with the warriors of the Great Viking Army as they put young foot soldiers through their paces to train to become a true Norse hero. A fun and light-hearted workshop of battle skills. Monday 12th to Thursday 16th February 2018 – 10am to 4pm – Parliament Street Marquee – £5 per child

Poo Day! Back by popular demand! Have a go at making your very own replica Lloyds Bank Turd, a genuine Viking-age object, and discover how poo is really used to solve ancient mysteries. Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th February  2018 – 10am to 4pm – Barley Hall – Included in Admission

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! There’s a different theme each day – visit the website for full details and pre-book. Monday 12th to Saturday 17th February 2018 – 10am to 11am – DIG, St Saviourgate, York  – £3.50 per child (with one accompanying adult per ticket)

March to Coppergate Camera phones at the ready! See the rival armies of Vikings and Anglo-Saxons muster and march through York’s ancient streets to Coppergate in a spectacular show of strength. Saturday 17th February 2018 – From 1pm –  Dean’s Park, by York Minster – Free

Best Beard Competition Now in its 10th year, the annual Best Beard Competition is a highlight of JORVIK Viking Festival finale weekend! Make your own beard at home and bring it along, or craft one in Coppergate (£2 for crafting materials from Coppergate, from 10am). Saturday 17th February – From 3pm – Coppergate Square (outside JORVIK) – Free

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