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York prepares for its 30th (modern) Viking invasion!

15 - 23 February 2014

It may be nearly 1150 years since the Vikings first sailed up the river Ouse to first conquer and then settle in the area now known as the city of York, but 2014 will mark a significant landmark in the modern Viking story, with the JORVIK Viking Centre launching its ‘pearl’ anniversary year with the 30th annual JORVIK Viking Festival!

Taking place across nine days from 15 – 23 February 2014, the 30thJORVIK Viking Festival takes its theme from the oldest of Viking myths and legends, bringing together the Norse gods, magical creatures from generations of sagas and a horde of Viking warriors.

“The JORVIK Viking Festival is one of the most successful historical festivals in York, and indeed the country, regularly welcoming 40,000 visitors to join the celebrations, and this year, we are planning some spectacular events to launch JORVIK’s 30thanniversary year with firey style,” comments Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, which has organised the festival since its conception. “Visitors can expect to see Vikings wandering around just about every street in the city, including a parade from York Minster to Coppergate, learn about Viking combat, continue the tradition of telling ancient sagas, and then join us for a spectacular night-time Festival finale at the Eye of York on Saturday 22 February.”

Festival highlights will include:

Beowulf by Candlelight (Thursday 20 February 2014), a retelling of the classic Norse saga performed by Peter Carrington-Porter. Hosted in the atmospheric settings of St Helen’s Church, and lit entirely by candles, this promises to be a spell-binding evening transporting those attending back to the mysterious world of Norse monsters and myths

Viking Banquet at York Minster (Friday 21 February 2014). The Vikings knew how to throw a feast, but this evening will surely rival those hosted by even the most powerful Viking lords! Taking place within the North Transept of the gothic cathedral – the site of which was gifted to the Dean & Chapter of York by the Viking Jarl Ulph – this is an unforgettable evening of live music and entertainment, hosted by fearsome Viking warriors.

The Strongest Viking Competition (Saturday 22 February 2014). The leaders of the Vikings, like their gods, shared two characteristics – strength and determination. This competition will put modern pretenders to the test, with competitors invited from around the world to prove their might!

Throughout the week (from 15 February) – which co-incides with the school half term holidays – there will be plenty of other activities to see and join in, from sword fighting workshops to create a new generation of warriors, to lectures and tours, based on the rich Viking heritage of the city of York – then known as Jorvik – of which a large area was discovered beneath Coppergate during excavations during the late 1970s and early 1980s. 2014 will mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of the JORVIK Viking Centre, which many believe to have changed the way history was brought to life for museums and attractions across the world. Authentic recreations of the Viking streets on the very site – and at the same level below ground that the archaeological remains of the Viking city were found – have drawn over 16 million visitors to JORVIK, with many parents who visited during the early years now returning with their own children to share the magic.

More details about the 2014 JORVIK Viking Festival will be published online from mid-November at There will also be dedicated social media feeds from @JorvikViking


Notes to editors:

Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend all parts of the Festival, but need to register for a media pass. Please email if you would like to attend.

Filming within JORVIK Viking Centre can be accommodated with prior agreement on request; this needs to be completed before the attraction opens.

We also have a limited number of places at the media table available for the Viking Banquet in York Minster; if you would be interested in joining the ballot for places, please email

High resolution photographs are available for download from

For further media information, please contact:

Jay Commins or Samantha Orange – Pyper York Limited

Tel: 01904 500698
Mob: 07810 546567
Email: or