The Jorvik Viking Festival, the showcase of all things Norse in York, is underway for 2024.
And the team behind the festival are keen to ensure that everyone can access the Vikings this half term, even though the cost of living crisis continues.
Organised and funded by York Archaeology, an educational charity, there are some paid-for festival events. But there’s a lot that is free of charge too.
Events manager Abigail Judge said: “This year, we’ve got living history displays, live performances and entertainment, competitions and online events for people of all ages and interests that are free for everyone.”
Here’s a selection of free fun for all the family. The Jorvik Viking Festival runs from Monday 12 to Sunday 18 of February 2024 – more on the website.
Living history camp
Out on Parliament Street every day from 10.30am to 4.30pm, the encampment is the place to meet the Vikings. Watch as they recreate traditional crafts, from woodworking and nalebinding (a form of Viking knitting) to jewellery making. And make sure to get a selfie or two.
For performances and displays, head to St Sampson’s Square. Gather around the arena for shows (daily, usually on the hour from 11am to 3pm, but timings may vary), musical performances, weapons displays and storytelling.
A unique exhibition hosted at DIG on St Saviourgate with free admission. A sound and art exhibition inspired by York Archaeology’s Roman York: Beneath the Streets. Open daily.
March To Coppergate
A spectacular parade of Vikings marching through the city centre, from York Minster through to Coppergate on Saturday 17 February. Visitors can enjoy views of the march along the parade route, which includes York Minster’s South Piazza (past the Constantine statue), Parliament Street from St Helen’s Square right down to Coppergate, before finishing outside Jorvik Viking Centre in the Coppergate Centre. The march starts at 1.30pm.
Best Beard competition
The Best Beard competition is even better in 2024 with the addition of the Best Dressed Viking competition! Hosted on Sunday 18 February in the St Sampson’s Square arena, this fan-favourite event is free to watch or join in. Also includes the Best Beast for the pet that looks most like a Viking, and Best Cosplay.
On Sunday 18 February at 2pm, performing arts group Stagecoach will perform a short community theatre piece surrounding the Vikings in St Sampson’s Square.