From March 2014, the British Museum will enable modern-day visitors to discover the Viking world in its new major exhibition, Vikings: life and legend.
At the centre of the exhibition will be the surviving timbers of a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found. This year also marks another significant landmark in England’s Viking story, with the JORVIK Viking Festival celebrating its ‘pearl’ anniversary year in February.
In celebration of all things Norse, VisitEngland rounds up the year’s best exhibitions, events and activities that that best illustrate Viking culture on English soil.
Vikings: life and legend, British Museum
6 March – 22 June 2014
The Viking Age (800 AD – 1050 AD) was a period of major change across Europe. The Vikings expanded from their Scandinavian homelands to create an international network across four continents, where artistic, religious and political ideas met. The Vikings’ skill in shipbuilding and seafaring were central to their culture and success, and at the heart of this British Museum exhibition will be a 37-metre-long warship, which is the longest Viking ship ever discovered. Several new discoveries, including part of a mass grave of Viking warriors, will be on display for the first time as well as personal objects, including jewellery, amulets and idols. Tickets cost £16.50 for adults. For more information or to book, visit www.britishmuseum.org.
30 Years of York’s JORVIK Viking Festival & Jorvik Viking Centre
15 – 23 February 2014
The Norse gods themselves would be proud of the programme in store for visitors to the JORVIK Viking Festival, which explores Norse myths and legends. This year sees the 30th anniversary of the festival and the event, which runs 15 – 23 February 2014, will be bigger and better than ever. Incorporating the two weekends of the school half-term break, the JORVIK Group of Attractions has organised Viking themed events throughout the city, with Coppergate – the home of the JORVIK Viking Centre – and the Eye of York providing a focus for living history, combat skills and, on Saturday 22 February, the ultimate event for any celebrations of Norse mythology – Ragnarok, the live battle spectacular, complete with nearly 300 Viking warriors, a host of Norse gods, and fireworks set to a contemporary musical score, which tells the story of the fall of the gods. Other highlights include JORVIK Alive! on Tuesday 18 February – a unique experience when the state-of-the art animatronic characters which populate JORVIK Viking Centre’s recreation of the 10th century Viking city will be joined by live actors to truly bring history to life! For more information, or to book events and activities, visit www.jorvik-viking-festival.co.uk.
The Jorvik Viking Centre, which also celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2014, brings Viking England to life using sights, smells, sounds, heat, cold and damp. The popular attraction is open throughout the year and costs £9.75 for adults and £6.75 for children. For more information or to book, visit www.jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk.
The Silverdale Hoard: The Story So Far, Museum of Lancashire
From 15 February 2014
A collection of Viking treasure, valued at £110,000, is to go on permanent display at the Museum of Lancashire from 15 February 2014. Known as the Silverdale Hoard, the collection is made up of more than 200 items believed to date from around 900 AD. This makes it the third largest Viking silver hoard that has been found in the country so far. With coins, spectacular arm-rings, ingots (metal bars) and lots of fragments – known as 'hacksilver' – the Silverdale Hoard provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Vikings in Lancashire. The hoard had been buried in a lead pouch discovered under a field in Silverdale by a local metal detector enthusiast in September 2011. Free admission. For more information, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/museums.
Cycle The Viking Coastal Trail, Kent
One of the most attractive leisure cycle routes in Kent, covering 32 miles (51.4km), the Viking Coastal Trail takes in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate before heading inland through the surrounding villages. Offering family friendly cycling on level, traffic-free promenades, broad sea walls and leisurely country lanes, the route passes an array of popular attractions, including the Viking Ship Hugin at Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate Maritime Museum, Dickens House Museum in Broadstairs and the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Along the route there are plenty of places to enjoy a post-pedalling pit stop. Click here to download the Viking Coastal Trail leaflet.
Hike The Viking Way
The Viking Way is a long distance footpath which starts on the banks of the Humber in North Lincolnshire and winds its way through Lincolnshire to finish on the shores of Rutland Water, a total of 147 miles (235km). The route passes through the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the market town of Horncastle, the Lincolnshire Limewoods and the City of Lincoln, before entering Leicestershire and Rutland. Established in 1976, the name of the route was suggested by the Ramblers Association to reflect the influence of the Vikings in England’s eastern counties, where Danelaw held sway. The route is way-marked throughout its length with distinctive Viking helmet symbols to keep you on track. Click here, to download The Viking Way guidebook, providing detailed directions, maps and information on local points of interest.
To discover more about England’s unique history and heritage, visit www.visitengland.com.