This family got a big surprise today (Tuesday) – when they learned they were the 20 millionth visitors to the Jorvik Viking Centre.
The Logie family from Edinburgh arrived at the globally-renowned York attraction at about 9.30am.
And they were greeted with shield-bashing Vikings and a fountain of sparkles.
James and Nikki Logie and their children Carys, 12, Gregor, nine and five-year-old Millie were presented with a handmade replica of a Viking-age key, giving them the key to a lifetime of return visits to the attraction, a gold commemorative coin and vouchers to spend in the Jorvik gift shop.
Nikki said they booked the visit partly because Gregor had studied the Vikings at school and really enjoyed it.
Did they have any inkling about what was going to happen? “Not really,” Nikki told YorkMix. “It was a bit of a surprise.
“It’s great. It makes it more exciting – more memorable for the children.”
“This is a huge landmark for Jorvik Viking Centre,” said director of attractions, Sarah Maltby.
“Twenty million people have explored York’s Viking heritage with our unique ride through a recreation of this city street as it would have looked over 1,000 years ago.
“This is a real testament to how much interest and enthusiasm there continues to be for the Vikings and the remarkable discoveries that we made during the Coppergate dig.”
The 20 millionth visitor arrived just a few days after the organisation behind the creation of Jorvik, York Archaeological Trust, launched celebrations to mark 50 years since it was founded in 1972.
The Coppergate Dig took place from 1976 to 1981, revealing the remarkably well-preserved remains of Viking-age Coppergate, which inspired the Trust to set up an innovative new visitor attraction that has influenced a host of other museums and attractions around the world.
20 million facts
20 million visitors equates to:
- The population of Romania
- The combined population of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and North Yorkshire!
If each visitor to Jorvik waited on average 30 minutes to get in, the total queueing time would equate to 1,142 years.
A queue of 20 million people in single file would stretch from York to Concepcion, on the coast of Chile in South America – a total of 7,581 miles!
The Jorvik Viking Centre that visitors enjoy today is the fourth incarnation for the attraction.
The original time cars featured narration by Magnus Magnusson and took visitors back through a time tunnel to travel around a flat version of the Coppergate model.
They were replaced in 2001 with the time capsules that visitors use today. A further update took place in 2010 which remained in place until the Boxing Day floods of 2015, when the attraction was inundated with water from the nearby River Foss.
Sarah said: “We now have people who visited during Jorvik’s early days returning with children and even grandchildren of their own.
“We have even more recreated smells now than we did when we first opened, but the sometimes unpleasant aromas of the backyards of the 10th century remain in visitors’ memories for years afterwards!”