I love the Jorvik Viking Centre but it is a bit like marmite. You know what I’m going to say next right? You either love it or you hate it. We have visited a few times since my son was born and we have enjoyed every visit.
The entrance fee is pricy for what it is but let’s put things into perspective. This place suffered a devastating flood back in 2015 (this was after a major investment of money in 2001 and 2010). It didn’t reopen its doors until 2017 and that was after a multi-million-pound investment.
For that reason alone I don’t feel it is fair to criticise the place. The second thing to consider is that once you have purchased your tickets you can return as much as you like for FREE over the next 12 months. What a great way of breaking up a visit to York shopping with your kids. It is also all indoors so great for a bit of relief from a rainy day.
Jorvik Viking Centre York Things To Do Review
The Jorvik Viking Centre is located in the centre of Coppergate in York. It is a short walk from shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and plenty of other family-friendly attractions. I first visited the centre as a small child on a school trip and the memories of that visit have stayed with me. The attraction is now very much up-to-date and although similar to how it used to be it is now much much better.
Right where the centre sits well-preserved remains of some of the timber buildings of the Viking city of York were discovered. These included workshops, fences, animal pens, privies, pits and wells. Plus materials such as pottery, metalwork and bones, even wood, leather, textiles, plant and animal remains were found which is very unusual. These were preserved in oxygen-deprived wet clay. There were over 40,000 objects that were recovered and many of these can be seen at the Jorvik Viking centre.
You won’t even spend an hour at the centre but your memories will last and I am sure your kids will love their visit as much as I did when I was young. You start your visit in a room with Viking York beneath your feet. Some of the remains are still visible through a glass floor which is a nice touch and sets the scene for the ride into historic York.
You then queue, although we’ve always walked straight on, for the ride around Viking York. The ride takes around 12 minutes and it is a slow journey through some fantastically recreated Viking streets. There is audio with some text and pictures on small screens in front of you.
You can choose your language and kids can opt for a child-friendly version (although be warned that you will hear this as well as your own commentary). Just about every aspect of Viking life is covered and it feels like what they once found on the site has been brought back to life. There are not only sights and sounds but smells as well. The smells aren’t as pungent as they used to be and they really add to the atmosphere.
The journey on the ride is slow and you change direction according to what there is to see. You will see inside Viking houses, markets/shops, backyards, workshops and more. There’s even a man sitting on a Viking toilet!
You feel at times like you are disturbing them as everything feels so life-like. Once the ride has finished you can then walk around their museum with many artefacts, kids will love the Viking poo. There may even be some friendly Viking hosts to play you some music or help you hammer out a coin to take home with you. There is also a lovely shop full of souvenirs.
Jorvik Viking Centre York Review FAQ & Further Information
Address: 19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT, North Yorkshire
Category – Historic Attraction – Indoors – Suitable for all ages.
What are the ticket prices?
An adult ticket costs £12.50. You can also purchase combined tickets that include 1-2 other attractions. A child ticket 5-16 costs £8.50. This then entitles you to return for free as much as you please over the next 12 months.
What are the main facilities and things to do?
Historic attraction based around Viking York and discovered artefacts etc. from the time with a ride around Viking York and a museum. There are toilets.
When are they open?
Jorvik is open for most of the year. They close on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. For up to date information please visit their website.
Is there food available?
There is nothing on-site but there are plenty of cafes nearby.
Is there parking?
There is no parking. There is pay and display parking nearby although this is limited. It is easier to take the park and ride into York and there are a few options for this.
Are they dog friendly?
Only assistance dogs are permitted.
Are they accessible?
Here are some more photos from our visits.