HUNDREDS of people gathered in York to count down to the end of the world this weekend.

The Norse apocalypse Ragnarok was interpreted in a spectacular light and sound show and battle re-enactment at the Eye of York on Saturday, as the grand finale of the annual Jorvik Viking Festival.

Danielle Daglan, festival director, said the city could breathe a sigh of relief that the world did not end.

She said: “It goes without saying that we are delighted that our prediction of Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse, did not actually occur, although given the pyrotechnics and screams of delight this evening at the finale of the Jorvik Viking Festival, people around York might have momentarily believed it did.”

Tickets for many of the activities during the festival sold out in advance of the events, with about 40,000 people descending on York for the week.

The final weekend saw events including the Strongest Viking competition at York’s Guildhall, and a parade through the centre of the city.

Yesterday, the final events of the festival saw members of the public take part in have-a-go sword combat and a trading post in St Sampson’s Square, but plans are already under way for next year’s festival.

Danielle said: “It is fantastic that Ragnarok will not stop us from celebrating the 30th anniversary of the opening of the centre.

“Now that we have the cloud of the apocalypse firmly behind us, we can turn our focus to how we celebrate three decades of changing the way that archaeology and history is presented, and start our plans for next year’s spectacular festival which will fittingly be on the theme of a Brave New Viking World.”