Jorvik Viking Centre was first opened back in the 1980s and my trip at the weekend was just as enjoyable as the first time I visited back when I was in primary school...a very long time ago!
View the original Coppergate dig
After descending the stairs, the first room you enter has a glass floor allowing you to walk over and look down into the original Coppergate dig site. This dig in the 1970s unearthed many of the fabulous finds you can see in the museum.
A video tells you more about the dig while a couple of interactive display stations are a great way for children to learn more about archaeology.
More realistic than ever
After a short queue for the ride – we set off! A multi-million-pound renovation over the last couple of years (Jorvik was badly damaged in the 2015 floods) means that the houses and their inhabitants are more realistic than ever. You can peer into the various dwellings and see the figures, including dogs, cats and chickens, move as they carry out their daily business.
Travel back in time
The ‘time capsules’ that you travel in are state of the art so you feel like you have been transported back to Viking times. I still remember the smells from when I visited the first time and it was good to see they are all still there! The commentary provides useful information with the narrator of the English version sounding just like Sean Bean and you can choose from several different languages or a child-friendly version.
See and touch Viking artefacts!
Following the ride you can also see lots of original Viking artefacts and even a couple of skeletons on display. The condition of things such as shoes, combs and jewellery is just remarkable considering they are over 1,000 years old.
You can even handle genuine artefacts from the digs such as Viking ice skates - yes they really did skate - during one of the regular talks taking place in here.
Stories brought to life
The staff were helpful throughout and really wanted everyone to enjoy their experience. Those giving talks on Viking life were especially good – bringing the stories to life for children and making sure all of them were involved. The kids were absolutely engrossed and were in a race to put their hands up as soon as a question was asked.
Well worth a visit – pre-booking recommended!
It’s definitely well worth a visit the next time you are in York and is a good way to spend a couple of hours. I highly recommend pre-booking a fast pass ticket with a designated time. You can walk straight past the long queues and get straight into the museum with no waiting.
Where to stay
The lovely Pear Tree House has two bedrooms, five-star interiors and five-star exteriors. The perfect base for a family visit to York!
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