York, or should I say Jórvík, has a vivid history as a Viking city. York still carries traces of its past as a bustling Viking city and it is a big part of the city’s identity. Keep on reading for ideas on how you can experience the vivid past of Jórvík.
Visit the Jorvik Viking Centre
The Jorvik Viking Centre is a must if you’re interested in York’s Viking past, and it is also a great place to take parents or visitors!
The museum features a realistic reconstruction of the Viking streets of York which you get to experience while on a fun ride! The experience is handily available in a range of languages too. The reconstruction is based on the archaeological finds from the Coppergate excavations.
Furthermore, the museum also displays a unique collection of Viking artifacts such as jewellery, tools and a surprising amount of combs (fun fact: the Vikings liked to keep clean!). The museum is in the centre of town, right where the archaeological digs were, and it’s wheelchair accessible too.
Take a Viking wander
You can take a look around the city centre from a Viking perspective. Many of the street names in York have Scandinavic origins. There are many streets ending in ‘gate’ (such as the iconic Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate) which comes from the Old Norse word ‘gata’ meaning street.
Coney Street, the busy shopping street, also has its name from Viking times. The street used to be called ‘Cuningstreta’. ‘Konungr’ (Old Norse for king), became ‘Cuning’ and then later ‘Coney’, and ‘streta’ came from ‘straet’ meaning street. So Coney Street becomes ‘King’s Street’.
Eat and drink like a Viking at Valhalla
As York’s only Viking pub, try out Valhalla if you want to get a taste of the Viking diet. Valhalla does food and drinks including mead, a bit of an acquired taste but have a try! It also has a cosy atmosphere and a really good classic rock playlist. There’s indoor and outdoor seating and vegetarian options too.
Valhalla is perfect for a cheeky pint after a shopping trip or as a place to bring parents or visitors who want to get into that Viking spirit. You can also often snap up a few Viking themed souvenirs or snacks at the nearby Shambles Market.
Viking markets and festivals
The markets in York often feature something Viking inspired, such as stalls with Scandinavian inspired food or mead.
For the annual Christmas market, Thor’s Tipi Bar is always a big hit. It’s a Viking themed pop-up bar with lots of space for you to meet up with friends and have a drink. Sometimes, there are also stalls outside of the Viking Centre with Viking inspired food.
There is also the annual Jorvik Viking Festival which takes place in February. The festival includes stalls with things like mead and Viking crafts, but also includes activities such as crafts workshops and reenactments. It is definitely one to go to if you want to further immerse yourself in the Viking experience at York.