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todayDecember 4, 2020 111

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15-20 February 2021

With uncertainly surrounding what Covid-19 restrictions may be in place in the new year, the team behind JORVIK Viking Festival has revealed plans for something new and different for February half term – That JORVIK Viking Thing, a hybrid of online activity, including livestreamed Viking-themed events, storytelling and an online version of its annual JORVIK Viking Symposium, with smaller scale tours and a traders’ market in the city centre.

In Viking times, a ‘thing’ was a public assembly – a gathering of leaders to solve disputes and discuss key issues from religion to politics – and the term is used now across the world when academics and enthusiasts on Viking history gather to discuss the latest archaeological discoveries and theories.  For 2021, That JORVIK Viking Thing will expand the discussion further to create an accessible programme of activity to suit the widest possible audience across the globe.

Photo by Charlotte Graham

“Throughout the first lockdown over the summer, we were tremendously pleased with the number of people using our ‘discover from home’ resources, so we will be building and expanding on those for our Thing – we’ve already done a huge amount of filming to create brand new content, and we’re working on an ambitious programme of live-streamed activity which will bring together our York-based experts with experts around the world to showcase traditional skills and knowledge in a way that has never been done before,” comments JORVIK Viking Centre’s events manager, Gareth Henry.  “We might not be able to parade through the city centre and draw huge crowds to the streets of York as we normally do every February, but we’re confident that there will be plenty to give Viking enthusiasts their Norse fix until we’re able to bring the Festival back in 2022.”

Details of the headline livestreamed events are being finalised at the moment, with tickets going on sale for key performances and virtual tours before Christmas, but most of the events and video content will be completely free to view with no tickets required.  Visitors can sign up to receive news of the latest announcements and ticket releases at

“2021 will be the first time in over 35 years that we haven’t organised our Viking Festival, but as a charity, we can’t take the risk that key events will not be able to take place, or indeed, that people will not be able to travel to get to events we host.  The team has worked incredibly hard to come up with a programme of activities that will entertain, engage and inform – and indeed, spread York’s Viking message further afield than ever before – whether lockdown is lifted entirely or we have further restrictions in place,” comments director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, Sarah Maltby.  “That JORVIK Viking Thing will be so different to our traditional Festival that we decided to give it a new name – and indeed, our plan is that we’ll continue to develop the online resources that form part of the Thing for many years to come as part of the Trust’s educational remit.”

Needless to say, restrictions permitting, JORVIK Viking Centre and its sister attractions, Barley Hall and DIG: An Archaeological Adventure, will remain open to welcome visitors throughout half term week.  Tickets to all three can be booked in advance at

Written by: YO1 Radio Web Team

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