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York prepares for Viking invasion at the JORVIK Viking Festival 2018

PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 December 2017

The Ragnarsson brothers prepare for York's next Viking invasion

The Ragnarsson brothers prepare for York's next Viking invasion

©2017 Charlotte Graham

Festival goes back to the beginnings of an era that changed a city’s history.

Vikings parade along Coppergate Walk, York Photo Anthony Chappell-RossVikings parade along Coppergate Walk, York Photo Anthony Chappell-Ross

The countdown has begun to the next Viking invasion – that is the JORVIK Viking Festival 2018 – the largest Norse-themed festival in Europe, regularly attracting over 40,000 visitors to the historic city of York.

This time the festival returns to the roots of the Vikings, telling the story of how their fearsome warriors first arrived in the Anglo-Saxon town, before settling and creating the city of Jorvik, the capital of Viking-age England.

Leading the charge in 2018 as in AD866 will be three warrior brothers – Halfdan and Ubba Ragnarsson and Ivarr the Boneless.

‘This is the first festival since the JORVIK Viking Centre re-opened last April,’ said marketing manager, Paul Whiting. ‘Whilst the story we tell within the attraction focuses on the peaceful trading hub that Jorvik had become nearly a century after they first invaded, our hordes of Viking warriors will face off against the established Anglo-Saxons as we tell the “origin” story of Viking York.’

Conquering Vikings arrive Photo Anthony Chappel-RossConquering Vikings arrive Photo Anthony Chappel-Ross

Invasion: The Dawn of Viking York,(February 12th-18th) features many of the festival’s trademark events, including the call to battle as the Viking hordes march from York Minster to Coppergate, a column of fearsome warriors stretching from one end of the city centre to the other (Saturday, February 17th from 1pm). An encampment will run for the duration of the festival in Parliament Street, enabling visitors to get up close with the Vikings on the move, learning what they traded, the clothes that they wore and the sagas they shared around the fire.

The ultimate search for a Viking warrior also returns to Coppergate Square (February 17th) with the annual Strongest Viking Competition – a mix of brute strength, bravado and bluster that thrills and entertains the crowds.

For those seeking to mix drama with a full belly, visitors can join the Great Viking Army Banquet (February 16th) a celebration that marks the conquering the North.

World-renowned musician, Einar Selvik-Wardruna, whose music features in the TV series, The Vikings, returns for a concert in York’s Tempest Anderson Hall (February 16th).

Young warrior ready for battleYoung warrior ready for battle

The festival closes with a thrilling live-action battle when a cast of over 100 warriors takes to the Eye of York, in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower, to commemorate the Viking invasion which lay the foundations for the next 200 years of prosperity for the city.

Full details of all of the events at the JORVIK Viking Festival go to

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