27 February 2017
Thousands of visitors to York gathered in the streets, at the end of February, to see Viking hordes take over the city.
The busiest day during JORVIK Viking Festival 2017 saw visitors line the streets to watch the March to Coppergate, hundreds watch the Strongest Viking and Best Beard competitions and Coppergate, and a capacity crowd at the Eye of York for the spectacular fiery finale.
“2017 is York’s Year of the Viking, with the Festival opening a year of celebrations, and marking just six weeks until JORVIK Viking Centre itself re-opens on 8 April, and I think it is fair to say that the Norse warriors were welcomed back to the city with every bit of warmth and enthusiasm that we could hope for,” said Festival Co-ordinator, Nicola Harkess.
All of the Viking-themed activities, from have-a-go archery and sword fighting sessions to finale itself sold out this year, as did many of the talks and workshops covering subjects as diverse as nalebinding (Viking knitting) to writing your own historical novel.
“The crowds lining the streets for the March to Coppergate were amazing – it certainly felt like there were more people cheering them on than we’ve ever had before, with many of them following the Vikings to the Eye of York to watch an impromptu battle. With the Spanish drumming troop, Troula Group, taking to the stage in Coppergate as the Vikings marched past JORVIK Viking Centre, there was an incredible sense of anticipation for what is to come when JORVIK returns,” added Nicola.
The fiery finale told the story of the fall of Eric Bloodaxe, the last Viking king of York, recreating the Battle of Stainmore in 954 – a turning point in York’s history. After the king had fallen, a funeral procession around the Eye of York, including the carrying of an 8ft wicker stag, culminated in a flaming display of torches, pyrotechnics and fire blowing on the battlefield, and fireworks from Clifford’s Tower.
“Over the next six weeks, York’s Viking timeline will move on six years to 960 – the recreation of Viking-age Coppergate that visitors will fly around in JORVIK’s time capsules is set at this date, when the city was once again a bustling hub of trade and commerce,” said JORVIK Viking Centre’s Marketing Manager, Paul Whiting. “We’ve had a surge of advance tickets sales during the Festival, so anyone wishing to visit during the opening weekend should book their tickets soon, as many time slots have already sold out.”
Tickets for JORVIK Viking Centre are £10.25 for adults, £8.25 for concessions and £7.25 for children, with family tickets available for four at £30.95 or five at £32.95. For more details, please visit www.jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk