Free fun at JORVIK Viking Festival in York


Hundreds of Norse warriors due to start their annual invasion of York between 12-18 February. The team behind JORVIK Viking Festival have revealed the best places to explore Viking culture, completely free of charge.

“The recreations of Viking-age York have been enthralling visitors to JORVIK Viking Centre for over 30 years, and the Festival is a superb way of introducing visitors young and old to the story of the Viking city,” said marketing manager, Paul Whiting. “During the Festival, we welcome experts from every corner of the globe to demonstrate their skills to visitors to the city – with an encampment in Parliament Street and saga storytelling in Coppergate throughout the week.”

crowd at viking festival

The top five free events to see at this year’s JORVIK Viking Festival include:

* The Parliament Street Viking Encampment, which runs from Monday 12 – Saturday 17 February. A chance to see how Vikings on the move would have lived, with an encampment and opportunities to talk to re-enactors and craftsmen, and see weaponry and armour up close.

* Stories and saga-telling in Coppergate (Mon 12 – Sat 17 February). A special stage will be set up in the square outside JORVIK Viking Centre with regular tales of invasion, battle and heroic deeds. Sessions daily from 10am to 4pm.

* The annual Strongest Viking Competition (Saturday 17 February, 10am) in Coppergate Square. There’s more to being a warrior than brute strength – watch as the competitors use bragging and occasionally underhanded techniques to put off their opponents in a bid to take home the coveted Strongest Viking trophy!

* March to Coppergate (Saturday 17 February, starting at Dean’s Park at 1pm). Hundreds of Viking warriors muster in the shadow of York Minster before processing through the city streets to Coppergate – a column of Vikings that stretches as far as the eye can see. The route passes through Petergate, Stonegate, Davygate and Coney Street before crossing Coppergate into the Coppergate Centre.

* The Best Beard Competition (Saturday 17 February, 3pm in Coppergate). The audience is the star of the show at the Best Beard Competition, with genuine facial hair competing against novelty hand-crafted beards – previous entrants have been made from cardboard, wool, fake fair and even human hair! Compete or spectate – the choice is yours!

viking crowd york

“Of course, we have a host of other events taking place, too – with daily have-a-go archery and sword combat in our Parliament Street marquee, a Viking animal steading with birds of prey at DIG in St Saviourgate, and a host of other interactive events and talks,” adds Paul. “Anyone wanting tickets to our finale event will need to hurry, though – we’re expecting to sell out soon, so no tickets will be available to purchase on the day.”

For more information on all of the events in this year’s JORVIK Viking Festival, please visit

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