HUNDREDS of Vikings are expected to gather in York today to welcome Ragnarok – the end of the world.

The Vikings believed Ragnarok would see the destruction of the nine worlds which made up the cosmos as they knew it, after Fenrir, son of Loki, broke out of his prison.

To mark the event, thousands of visitors are expected to celebrate the end of the 2014 Viking Festival, which has run this week with record attendance.

Sarah Maltby, director of Attractions for York Archaeological Trust, said this year’s event had been a big success.

She said: “We’ve had about 40,000 people we think in terms of ticket sales. It’s been our highest ever, and really busy, but it’s hard to tell at the moment.

“We were selling out way before the festival so a lot of our events have been sold out beforehand and the finale is already sold out. In terms people coming to the festival and to the city and Jorvik, it’s been a great success.”

Tonight, a re-enactment of a fierce battle will be held at the Eye of York, with men, gods and other creatures fighting amongst pyrotechnics, sound and light effects, and there will be a Viking march through the city with hundreds of people expected to take part in costume.

Ms Maltby said: “Saturday is our big day, with most of the big set pieces with the Viking march in the middle of the day and the strongman competition in the morning which is another sellout event in the Guildhall. Hundreds of re-enactors will be coming in and fighting as usual on the Eye of York.

“There’s a new audience coming through from Marvel and the Thor films, and having done our Heroes exhibition last year, looking at that whole side of Norse mythology, there’s a huge interest and we’ve got a slightly different audience.”