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local News

JORVIK Group attractions prepare to welcome back visitors!

todayMay 13, 2021 16

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The countdown is now on, with just a few days until visitors can once again visit JORVIK Viking Centre, Barley Hall and DIG to explore York’s colourful past.

Credit – Charlotte Graham

“This last lockdown has been incredibly hard for everyone in the visitor attraction economy, but we are hopeful that public confidence in venturing back out into towns and cities will bode well for attractions like ours, as well as the hotels, restaurants and cafés that makes a day trip or a short break so enjoyable,” comments Beth Dawes, marketing manager for the JORVIK Group.

Visitors can expect to see a few changes to the visitor experience, particularly at JORVIK, where changes to support social distancing last summer proved incredibly popular and have prompted more permanent changes to how visitors travel through the attraction.

“At JORVIK, our first gallery really set the scene for what is to follow, with a glass floor highlighting the archaeological remains that we found on this very site – the preserved timbers that gave us an insight into how Viking-age Coppergate would have been laid out, for example – but many rushed through this area in their eagerness to experience the ride,” explains Beth.  “When we reopen, rather than video presentations, we’ll have a member of our Viking interpretation team explaining the context for the rest of the experience, giving our visitors a true insight into just how unusual the archaeology that we discovered here was, and making them far more receptive to the recreation and museum gallery that follows.”

Credit – Charlotte Graham

One other aspect that will change will be the queue outside the attraction, which has circled around the shopping centre during peak times since it first opened in 1984.  Prebooking has been an essential part of the re-opening since July last year, and will be continued as the primary way of buying a ticket.  “Whilst queuing has always been seen as a typically British trait, prebooking time slots so that you spend far less time waiting to visit has been a fantastic improvement to the visitor experience, as well as helping us to plan for busier and quieter times.  Over peak times, for example, we can extend opening in the early evening hour-by-hour to cater for demand when it is there – helping visitors to pack even more into their day during a visit to the city,” adds Beth.

As part of the new Covid-19 protection procedures, staff across the JORVIK Group will be provided with lateral flow tests, whilst enhanced cleaning and sanitising regimen will be in place in each of the attractions.

JORVIK’s sister attraction, DIG: An Archaeological Adventure, will also re-open, with extra sanitisation in place for its most popular feature, the digging pits.  Two new initiatives, piloted last summer, are set to continue, too: Tiny Diggers, which offers parents, babies and toddlers the chance to meet and play (with an archaeological theme) will continue throughout term time, whilst the final tour of the day will host Dig Deeper, an archaeologist-led session for adult visitors exploring different aspects of York Archaeological Trust’s work.

“DIG has a fantastic reputation as an attraction for primary-age children, but these two initiatives really extend that to cover visitors of every age.  You can never be too young to start exploring, or old to continue learning, and our team is phenomenally well versed in so many different aspects of archaeology, it is wonderful to see their skills and knowledge used on this broader basis,” comments manager, Chantelle Williams.

Meanwhile, the run of the popular Magic & Mystery exhibition has been extended to run throughout the summer at Barley Hall, the wonderfully preserved medieval townhouse hidden in a snickleway between Grape Lane and Stonegate.

All of the JORVIK Group attractions are open daily from 17 May.  For more details, and to prebooked timed tickets, visit or call 01904 615505.

Written by: YO1 Radio Web Team

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todayMay 13, 2021 11