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After what has felt like a life long wait, Jorvik Viking Centre has eventually re-opened its doors to the public.

On the 8th April, Coppergate was lost to a sea of eager bodies and excited faces as York finally got to experience the return of the Vikings.

Opening was a huge success. Photograph: press release.

Flood ruined almost everything

The centre was closed from December 2015, due to horrific flood damage caused by the River Foss, that destroyed almost everything.

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions, states that the flooding “was pretty bad, up to about a metre, so it took out all the reconstruction of the Viking set, meaning we had to remove all the objects”. Luckily, all the famous thousand-year-old artefacts were saved and unharmed.

The flood caused a long six months of cleaning and drying out of the building, causing work on re-imaging to only start in June 2016.

And now, just under 18 months later, the centre is back open for business.

Finally back open

The opening was a huge success. With Sarah claiming that “The Norse gods are clearly smiling on us today – a fantastic reception from the first visitors, a lovely queue of people waiting to come and be amongst the first around, and plenty of Viking entertainment in the square outside to keep them in high spirits whilst they wait.”

Watch interview with Sarah Maltby here!

New and improved areas

The refurbishment of the centre, includes many new and improved features, with three different areas for visitors to explore.

First, Discover Coppergate holds the archaeologists’ stories who used to dig in Coppergate during the 1970’s and 80’s.

Following this, visitors then make their way through to the next part of the exhibition, where they enjoy a 16-minute ride which allows them to experience real life sounds, sights and smells of the Viking period. “There’s lots of new stuff” Sarah claims, “there’s 22 new animatronics, 12 new animal animatronics, there’s a new house, a new boat.”

The last section is the artefact gallery which is all completely new and includes new displays and cases for all the century year old objects. It encourages visitors to really dig deep and find out what was unearthed during that period.

Viking helmet in artefacts display. Photograph: YorkMix

Brilliant day

Overall, it couldn’t have been a better day for the opening. The huge amount of support and excitement by everyone involved, including the visitors made it a perfect day.

If you still haven’t had the chance to appreciate the Vikings return, it’s time to head down there and soak up the experience!

Open daily from 10:00am-6:30pm during the Easter Holidays. Admission prices are £10.25 for adults, £8.25 for concessions and £7.25 for children, with a family ticket available for £30.95 (two adults and two children) or £32.95 (two adults and three children). Find out more here!

Georgia Simcock

Georgia Simcock

Georgia is an English Language and Linguistics student at York St John University. She likes a wide selection of music and going to gigs, has a soft spot for animals and loves Italian food

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