Technical glitch prompts exciting change to visits to JORVIK Viking Centre this half term

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“Leave the car at home” is normally a message associated with green transport initiatives, but for the half term week, that’s what visitors to JORVIK Viking Centre will be doing as they leave the time capsules behind for an exclusive chance to walk around York’s 10th century streets.

A technical issue has meant that the time capsules that normally transport visitors around the backstreets of Viking-age York are temporarily out of operation. To ensure that visitors during JORVIK Viking Festival week are not disappointed, walking tours – normally reserved for exclusive VIP tours – are set to be introduced for a limited time. Guided by members of JORVIK’s interpretation team, visitors will be able to walk in the footsteps of their Norse ancestors as they explore 10th century York.

“We are expecting the repairs to take more than a day or two, and with thousands of people planning to descend on York for the JORVIK Viking Festival during half term, we will create a very exclusive opportunity for visitors to actually walk around the houses and backyards to get an up-close view of life in the Viking age,” comments head of operations, Gareth Henry.

“The commentary will be provided by our expert team rather than being pre-recorded, and visitors will continue to get the sights and sounds of the 10th century. The system that pipes smells – from freshly turned wood and leather to rotting meat and cesspits – is still fully functional, so we can predict the areas of the set where visitors will want to linger, and those from which they will be keen to move on!” adds Gareth.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the Herefordshire Hoard, which is now on display in the artefact gallery on loan from Herefordshire Council. The 29 remaining items – it is believed about 90% of the hoard uncovered was sold by the metal detectorists who uncovered it – include coins, a silver ingot and jewellery believed to have been buried around AD 878 by the Great Viking Army.

Prebooking will be essential, as the JORVIK team is anticipating extra high demand for this unique experience.

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In the meantime, visitors will be able to enjoy the many other Viking-themed experiences around York as part of the JORVIK Viking Festival, which runs from Monday 12 to Sunday 18 February, including a living history encampment in Parliament Street, Arena displays in St Sampson’s Square, and of course, the March to Coppergate which takes place on Saturday, leaving York Minster at 1.30pm.

The full programme of events is available at

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