Jorvik Viking Festival

Explore the Jorvik Group


The full plans for an invasion of York have now been revealed, and promise that hordes of Viking warriors will be joined by musicians, birds of prey, archaeologists and even 1000 year old treasure.  The Norse raids starts on Monday 12 February 2018 culminating in a live-action battle with pyrotechnics in the Eye of York on Saturday 17 February recreating the first invasion of the Great Viking Army in AD866.

The 2018 JORVIK Viking Festival will be the first since the reimagined JORVIK Viking Centre opened at Easter 2017, and takes York’s Norse history right back to its ‘origin’ story – the invasion of the Anglo Saxon city of Eoforwic by the Great Viking Army on 1 November 866.

“The Vikings appeal to such a wide audience, young and old, and this year visitors will see both sides of these fearsome Scandinavians: the strategic and formidable warriors who cut a swathe across the country, who you can see parading through the streets of York and facing their Anglo-Saxon foes on the battlefield, and the peaceful settlers who made York into their home and a hub of international trade for the next 200 years within JORVIK Viking Centre itself,” comments marketing manager, Paul Whiting.  “These two sides show a real contrast – a people just as capable of farming and trade as pillage and plunder.”

Indeed, some of the spoils of pillage will be on display within a new exhibit in JORVIK Viking Centre, when a collection from the Watlington Hoard comes to JORVIK.  This is one of the most important Viking-age hoards ever found in England, and during the Festival, one of the world’s leading experts on the Vikings, Gareth Williams from the British Museum, will host an after-hours tour of the attraction, with a talk about the hoard (Thursday 15 February, 6.30pm, £20 per person).

For those more interesting in seeing some of the military prowess that led to the hoard’s collection, there will be Vikings a-plenty around the city, with have-a-go archery and sword-fighting workshopsthroughout the week in Parliament Street alongside a Viking encampment, the annual parade of Vikings through the city of York – including a column of warriors stretching from one end of the city to the other on Saturday 17 February (departs 1pm from Dean’s Park, adjacent to York Minster).

New for 2018 will be an animal steading (Viking farm) with birds of prey at JORVIK’s sister site, DIG in St Saviourgate running daily (Mon – Sat) from 10am to 4pm (DIG admission prices apply), an evening of mead tasting with the Lancashire Mead Company on Wednesday 14 February (7pm at Barley Hall, tickets £25 per person), and Viking Age Crafting in the Festival Yurt on Parliament Street.  Here, visitors will try their hands at a range of Norse-inspired crafts, from pottery to pole-lathe necklace making each day from 10am – 4pm in St Sampson’s Square (£2 per craft or three for £5).

Popular favourites such as the annual Strongest Viking Competition and the Best Beard Competition return to Coppergate Square (outside JORVIK) to entertain the crowds (free activity, no tickets required) with cheeky Viking humour (Saturday 17 February, 10am and 3pm respectively).  Back by popular demand will be Poo Day at Barley Hall (Mon 12 February, 10am-4pm), a chance to explore the messier side of archaeology by recreating your own Lloyds Bank Turd, to discover how poo helps archaeologists solve historical mysteries.

“We’ve already had a huge response to some of our very special events, including the Viking banquet and acoustic performance by world-renowned musician Einar Selik, and tickets are selling fast for the Fiery Finale on Saturday night, so we are hoping that this will be our best-attended Festival ever,” adds Paul.  “Time slots for visits to JORVIK Viking Centre are also booking up, as people plan their visits around some of the must-see events.”

Those fascinated by the academic side of York Archaeological Trust’s Viking work will hear from top experts at the Richard Hall Symposium on Sunday 18 February, looking at beliefs and rituals in the Viking World (De Grey Court Lecture Theatre at York St John University, 9am to 5pm.  Adults £30, concessions and friends of YAT £25).

The full programme for the 2018 JORVIK Viking Festival is available at, where you can also book tickets for many of the main events.


For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698