We take our children to Jorvik Viking Centre as part of a trip to York
What is it?
Jorvik Viking Centre is a recreation of life in York – or Jorvik as it was known then – when the Vikings were in charge nearly 1,000 years ago. It was re-opened following a major investment and renovation in 2017. It features a gentle ride through a recreation of 10th century York. Plus you can see its collection of artefacts.
Where is it?
Right in the middle of York on Coppergate, one of the city’s busiest shopping streets. The centre is on the exact site where archaeologists unearthed remains of houses and workshops.
What did we think
The recreation is very well done and the museum is clean, shiny and new but it is a fairly short attraction. Apart from the ride there isn’t a lot for little ones to see and do. Some children would be more interested, particularly if they are interested in the Vikings. But it may be more suitable for older children.
*The clever glass floor as you enter the building shows where the archaeologists unearthed their information and explains how it happened in the 1970s.
*The new ride is the main attraction. A 10-minute journey through Viking York complete with 22 animatronic characters detailing all aspects of Viking life. It is very well done, very interesting and gives children a real insight into life in the 10th century. You travel past houses, workshops and street scenes from Jorvik in a ‘time capsule’ – a machine on rails which sits three passengers in the front and three in the back, each with their own TV screen and commentary of their choice coming through speakers in their seats.
*There are enthusiastic talks which are suitable for children in a room holding all the artefacts discovered here. The collection is interesting but a bit dull and formal for youngsters with everything (understandably) safely behind glass.
Our top tips
*Queues can be long. Head here first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon. Once you are inside there isn’t more than a five to 10 minute wait to get on the ride.
*When you enter into the first room and see the excavated ground under glass beneath your feet, send one adult into the queue to join the ride straight away while the other adult entertains and shows the children around. This will save you time.
*Parts of the ride are dark and some bits quite smelly, which is extremely authentic but may put off some children with sensory issues.
*The ride itself is slow and gentle with a child’s commentary option available through speakers in the seat. There is also French, German, Japanese and Spanish commentary available.
Jorvik Viking Centre information
Food: No food outlets at the site but it is in the town centre with cafes and restaurants nearby.
Opening hours: April to October 10am to 5pm, November to March 10am to 4pm.
Cost: Adult £12, child (5-16) £8, under 5s free. Family of four £32, family of five £36 or buy a York Pass*
Best for: Ages six and above.
Time needed: one hour.
Access and restrictions:
Wheelchair users: Wheelchair users must pre-book. Access is restricted to one wheelchair user at a time. There are lifts and one of the ride capsules is modified to suit a wheelchair.
Austism: A visual story is available from the Jorvik website to explain the attraction in advance to visitors with autism.
Address: Coppergate Shopping Centre, 19 Coppergate, York, YO1 9WT.
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*A York Pass is the city’s official sightseeing card. Once you buy one, you have access to over 40 attractions in York and beyond.
We were given York Passes for review purposes all views are our own.