The Vikings get ready to return to York

The Vikings are returning to York

The Vikings are returning to York - Credit: Archant

JORVIK Viking Centre is all set for a multi-million relaunch this spring after over a year of extensive renovation.

JORVIK Viking Centre

JORVIK Viking Centre - Credit: Archant

The popular Viking themed tourist attraction closed its doors in late 2015 after extensive damage in the Boxing Day floods that devastated York.

In the immediate aftermath of the flood, the staff managed to create a makeshift flood barrier which held the water back long enough for a team of curators and volunteers to remove all of the valuable artefacts, which number over a thousand, from the underground galleries.

Sarah Maltby, Director of Attractions for York Archaeological Trust recalls the day: ‘The most important thing was to save the artefacts. These items are irreplaceable and were all moved to safety’.

With the rebuilding estimated to take over a year, the group decided that the upheaval wasn’t going to stop them spreading the word about the Viking history of York.

In 2016, JORVIK set up a series of special local pop-up events, JORVIK on Tour was comprised of three exhibitions at various venues across the city that used many of the artefacts from JORVIK Viking Centre.

‘It was important to us that the JORVIK brand didn’t disappear for a year Sarah said. ‘All of the team were kept on and we were determined to keep the JORVIK Viking presence alive in York whilst we were re-imagining the centre’.

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Work was underway to make plans for the ‘Reimagining of JORVIK’, with a view to create an experience that would enable the centre to continue to be one of the most significant visitor locations in York.

‘We listened to previous customer feedback and aimed to make the new JORVIK Viking Centre appeal to that. We now have bigger artefact galleries with improved lighting allowing visitors to view beautiful artefacts up close as well as integrating the latest in cutting edge interpretative technology offering a more immersive experience’.

The new JORVIK Viking Centre will continue to highlight the many facets of life in this period, including trade, industry and look at new aspects including music, storytelling and religion. Sarah went on to add: ‘We’ve also lengthened the ride experience by an extra three minutes and with 22 new animatronics across the ride experience you are sure to see something new around every corner of JORVIK!’.

Now, after an extensive renovation that cost £4.3 million, JORVIK Viking Centre is ready to reopen its doors to the public. The Reimagining of JORVIK coincides with a three year collaboration with the British Museum that will see a number of significant Viking artefacts come to York.

The first items to be featured include treasures from the Halton Moor Hoard, coins of Canute as king of both England and Denmark, and a unique die, used to strike coins towards the end of his reign. Weaponry, including spearheads and a ‘pattern-welded’ sword found near Windsor will also be on display, with axe heads and stirrups of the kind used by Vikings when travelling over land on horseback.

Other exciting item on display including the exquisite jewelry discovered in Gotland, off the coast of Sweden.

The York Helmet, an Anglo-Saxon helmet that was found on the Coppergate site in 1982 will also be on loan from the Yorkshire Museum until May 7th .

The new ride experience will reflect the diversity of York at the time, with Viking & Anglo Saxon figures, along with an Arab trader and even a priest. There are also a number of differing languages featured, including Norse and Old English which illustrates the rich multiculturalism of York at the time.

The relaunch event on the weekend of April 8th and 9th, sees the Vikings take over York’s Coppergate Square with Norse music, battle re-enactments, fun Viking games and craft activities. The Jorvik Centre will be open from 10 am with last entry at 6.30pm.

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For all the latest news on the Jorvik Reimagining event follow the #ReturnoftheVikings hashtag on social media.