Góðan daginn is a phrase you would have heard echoing through the streets of York some 1,200 years ago as the Viking inhabitants of York bade one another ‘Good day’. Evidence of York’s Viking past is prevalent throughout the streets of York, yet there is also a way to get truly up-close and personal with this Viking heritage in the Jorvik Viking Centre. First opening its doors 34 years ago, the centre has undergone recent renovations following flood damage in 2015. It opened again on 8th April 2017.
An all-time favourite destination for school trips during my primary school years, I have also visited this fabulous ‘time-machine’ with my family on numerous occasions. ‘Time-machine’ rather than museum, I feel is the correct term because the Jorvik Viking Centre truly does bring history to life.
Up-close and Personal with the Vikings
The main feature of the centre is a ‘time warp machine’. This is, in essence, a marvellous ride that takes you on a tour of Viking York. This is a slow-moving carriage which can seat up to 6 people (ideal for families). The carriage takes visitors on a journey through the streets of Viking York, complete with extremely human-like moving and talking mannequins. This truly is an experience with all the sights, sounds and smells of Viking York. An auditory explanation is given through the carriage speakers regarding each individual scene. (One of these mannequins was a dead ringer for Bruce Willis!)
Disembarking from the carriage, visitors then have the opportunity to view some of the many Viking artefacts recovered from York, including a frying pan and a box lid.
There are demonstrations, such as coin-making, however, the centre was extremely busy on our visit and these exhibitions were too crowded.
Visitors then exit the centre through the gift shop.
The whole experience lasted for approximately 1 hour. Had the centre been quieter, we probably would have stayed for a little longer.
There are only one ladies and one gent’s toilet in the whole building, as well as one disabled toilet. These are located close to the entrance.
I would strongly recommend booking in advance, as we did. There were huge queues on the day we visited and some people had been queuing for over an hour. Having booked in advance we joined a much shorter queue and waited only 5 minutes to enter.
Booking in advance costs an additional £2 per booking. Below are the prices for advanced bookings only.
Children (5-16) £8.00
Under 5’s Free
Family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) £32.00
*Prices correct as of April 2018, please click here to book and for current ticket prices.
Once purchased, these tickets can be used to gain entry to the centre for 12 months.
If in York, the Jorvik Viking Centre is an absolute must on any to-see list. It is a fantastic family experience, excellent value for money and is an experience you won’t soon forget.