VOYAGING Vikings will be making a nine day stop in York next month - as the city welcomes its 36th annual celebration of all things Norse at the Jorvik Viking Festival.

This year’s festival, from Saturday, February 15 to Sunday, February 23, incorporates two weekends.

It is hoped the move will allow more visitors a chance to explore the lives of those who settled in the city, while also taking a look at how Vikings were perceived by other cultures around the world during their travels – sometimes trading, sometimes raiding.

The mainstay living history encampment in Parliament Street will provide a constant presence, with the smell of wood smoke and fresh timber filling the air from demonstrations of Viking woodturning and metal work.

Event manager Gareth Henry, of festival organiser Jorvik Viking Centre, which is owned and operated by York Archaeological Trust, said: “Weekends are by far the busiest time for the Jorvik Viking Festival, and incorporating two weekends makes the festival accessible to any families whose half term holidays don’t align with those of York and North Yorkshire. We’re hoping that more people than ever before come along to experience a slice of our proud Norse heritage and enjoy the vast range of events on offer this year.”

Across the nine days, a host of events, activities, demonstrations and talks are being held, many of which are free of charge as part of the trust’s educational goals.

Marketing manager Beth Dawes added: “Being surrounded by all things Viking is a superb and fun way of learning about this remarkable culture. Whether you spend time chatting to the re-enactors who repopulate the Viking city for us, attending lectures and expert talks, trying out new skills in a hands-on workshop, or even just watching the magnificent March To Coppergate through the city streets, everyone takes away something new when they visit.”

New for 2020 will be a Viking costume competition, looking to find the best-dressed Viking in York on February 15 at 3pm on the stage in St Sampson’s Square, and a Trichinopoly workshop, teaching the art of Viking wire weaving, on February 18, which has already sold out.

A new route is set to be announced for the parade through the city centre, March to Coppergate, on February 22, featuring around 200 costumed re-enactors.

Full details of all the events in the 2020 Jorvik Viking Festival are now available online at www.jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk, where visitors can also pre-book tickets for key events.

Some events, including the Viking Banquet on February 15 and the night time son-et-lumiere Battle Spectacular in the Land of Darkness, have already sold out. As a result, organisers say reservations for other activities and the lecture programme are strongly recommended.