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News release - Issued by York Minster

Vikings visit York Minster this half term

Visitors to York Minster will be able to ‘Meet the Vikings’ this half term when historical reenactors visit the cathedral’s Chapter House.

The actors will help participants handle authentic and replica Viking artefacts, learn how to play a Viking board game, and discover more about the mystery that is York Minster during the Viking period.

The drop-in sessions will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (21-23 February) from 10am to 3pm and are free with a standard admission ticket.

In addition, family visitors can discover Viking stories at two daily storytelling sessions at 11am and 1pm or find out more about the Vikings and their relationship with Christianity at our short spotlight talks, at 12noon and 2pm (suitable for adults and children aged 7+).

Both the storytelling sessions and spotlight talks will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (21-23 February) and are free with a standard admission ticket.

Children visiting on Wednesday (22 February) can also try their hand at creating a Viking long boat and then launch their vessel on its maiden voyage in a mini pool inside the Chapter House. The drop-in craft workshop runs from 10am-3pm, is suitable children aged 5+ and costs £2.50 per participant. Standard admission charges apply.

The activities are being run as part of the city-wide Jorvik Viking Festival, the largest festival of its kind in Europe, which runs from 20-26 February and celebrates York’s Viking heritage.

Alex O’Donnell, Learning Officer at York Minster, said: “York Minster is well known as a site of religious worship dating back centuries, but less well known is our connection to the Viking history of York.

“Archaeological digs carried out over recent decades have unearthed lots of interesting finds, including that the current Minster was actually built over a Viking burial site. We also know a Viking Lord, Lord Ulf, gifted land to the Chapter of York around 1,000 years ago using an elaborately carved elephant tusk as a deed of transfer.

“We hope the half-term activities will help bring some of this rich history to life and help visitors explore York Minster’s connection to an important time in the city’s past.”

The 1,000-year-old Horn of Ulf is on display in York Minster’s Undercroft, which explores 2,000 years of history at the cathedral site. Access to the Undercroft is included with a standard admission ticket. For further details including opening times and prices visit


For media enquiries contact:

Leanne Woodhurst – Communications Manager – t: 01904 559534 m: 07824 017585

Sharon Atkinson – Director of Communications – t: 01904 557248 m: 07785 615457