The Viking horde is preparing to invade York once again, as the 25th annual Jorvik Viking Festival brings Scandinavian mayhem to the historic city for the whole of next week.
I always look forward to this event, it’s always fun when things happen on your doorstep after all – it’s celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and showing no signs of losing momentum. The Viking festival truly offers something for everyone and isn’t just for kids or history buffs – if you don’t believe me, check out the packed events calendar and you’ll see the huge variety of events taking place across the city every day, from Monday 15 to Sunday 21 February.
There are craft and memorabilia stalls for the casual Viking fan as well as detailed demonstrations of how the people of the past built their houses and boats, but it’s the battle re-enactments and longboat burnings that everyone is really waiting for, and trust me when I say it’s a sight you don’t want to miss! Pre-booking is essential for the grand finale beginning at 5pm on Saturday night, and it always proves to be a popular event, whether the weather holds up or not.
If you’ve ever visited the excellent Jorvik Viking Centre in York, you should have some idea what to expect from many of these activities, which bring Britain’s historic Viking past to life without holding anything back. While this Yorkshire city’s other famous invaders – the noble Romans – are also celebrated at places across York, it seems to be the Vikings that people are most eternally fascinated by – and who can blame them?
York’s Viking Festival seems to get bigger every year and always has something new to offer, with a number of this year’s events being dedicated to the Viking-based book How to Train Your Dragon, which is soon to be released as an animated film by Pixar. Young readers can meet the book’s author and get their copies signed, as well as design their own dragon in a competition that will be judged as part of Saturday night’s event, which includes fireworks, special effects and a real Viking funeral and is guaranteed to be a smash event for all the family.