With the start of the summer holidays in the UK, we suggest the best places to visit and events to enjoy with little ones in tow. After all, nothing leaves a more lasting impression than coming face to face with interactive living history, genuine historical landmarks, or the crashing din of the clash of arms.

For an overview of Viking attractions, please refer to the following resources: Viking attractions in Britain, Viking attractions in Scotland, Viking attractions in Ireland, Viking attractions on the Isle of Man, and Viking attractions in Sweden.

YEAR-ROUND ATTRACTIONS

The Jorvik Viking Centre is a museum dedicated to telling the millennium-old story of York. Photo: Jeremy Bolwell / CC 2.0

Jorvik Viking Center

The famous Jorvik Viking Festival may take place in the deep and darkest February, but the museum is a great destination for kids in the summer, too.

Visitors can sit back as a memorable ride takes them on a journey through the recreated city of 'Jorvik' (York), most specifically, the central street of Coppergate one late October afternoon in the year 948.

Founder John Sutherland has put his heart and soul into creating an authentic living museum, and it has been enchanting children and adults alike for nearly 40 years.

In addition to the ride section, the center also has a gallery where you can view significant Viking artifacts found in various locations across the United Kingdom.

JORVIK Viking Centre, 19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT, UK. Open daily, 10 am-5 pm.

Relics of history, the ruins of the Benedictine Monastery, remind us of Lindisfarne's storied past. Photo: givi585 / Shutterstock

Lindisfarne

For kids with a taste for scenic wilderness and a true sense of history, we cannot help but recommend the Holy Island. Though there are no major Viking-themed events in Lindisfarne this summer, it is still a must for any young Norse enthusiasts, as the scene of what was the first major incursion on the shores of Great Britain by Viking hordes.

Perhaps the most enthralling experience is simply standing on the island's shores and trying to picture the scene of 793, as fearsome warriors scrambled off unfamiliar ships and waded heavily through the North Sea towards the shoreline.

A recently revamped visitor center contains the Viking Domesday Stone, while the castle and priory are both spectacular.

Lindisfarne Priory, Church Lane, Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 2RX. Access information here. Safe crossing times here. Accommodation is available at the Coastguard's Cottage.

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde offers an intimate look at the world of ancient seafarers. Photo: Viktor Osipenko / Shutterstock

Viking Ship Museum

Moving away from the UK and Ireland towards the lands of the Norse, the spectacular five original ships of the Viking Age held at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde should wow any young history buff.

Kids are also sure to be impressed by the living boatyard, which recreates ships of the past using the same materials and techniques used by the Vikings 1,000 years ago. Throughout the summer, there is also the opportunity to sail on Roskilde Fjord in recreation longboats – indeed, the experience of a lifetime.

Viking Ship Museum, Vindeboder 12, 4000 Roskilde Denmark. Open daily, 10 am-4 pm.

The charming seaside town of Largs in Ayrshire, Scotland, a picturesque backdrop to the Vikingar! event. Photo: David Falconer / Shutterstock

Vikingar!

The Vikingar! hands-on experience is designed especially for younger visitors and features Viking storytellers, a replica eighth-century Norwegian longhouse, and a chance to try out Norse helmets and weaponry.

The center is located in the beautiful seaside resort of Largs in Scotland at the KA Leisure venue, where children can also enjoy swimming and the MultiBall mixed-reality sports gaming platform. The town is also home to a majestic 16-foot-tall statue of Magnus the Viking, a paddle steamer, and a beautiful beach.

Vikingar!, Greenock Road, Largs KA30 8QL, Scotland. Open Tour times July-Aug hourly 10.30 am-3.30 pm (Sat-Sun last tour 2.30 pm). For other times of the year, see here.

SUMMER EVENTS

Join the Vikings at Murton Park and learn about their way of life, from foraging and cooking to textile weaving. Photo: David Pimborough / Shutterstock

Danelaw Villagers

Just down the road from Jorvik, Murton Park's living history Viking display may be designed primarily for school visits, but there is plenty of Norse action during the summer holidays too. 

Highlights include the chance to interact with the Danelaw Villagers on the weekend of 22-23 July and live as a Viking, a living history day held on 1 August, where you can learn about fishing and foraging, textile weaving, and Viking cooking techniques.

In addition to the Viking section, the site also offers a range of other attractions, including the Yorkshire Museum of Farming and the Derwent Valley Light Railway.

Danelaw Villagers, Murton Park, Murton Lane, York YO19 5UF, UK. July 22-23.

Engage with history in a dynamic setting at the Valhalla Viking Festival. Photo: Anna Kepa / Shutterstock

Valhalla Viking Festival

The Viking Valhalla Festival held just outside of Basingstoke in Southern England, takes place in the last week of July and promises fun for all the family. Kids can enjoy archery practice, Viking games, storytelling, battle re-enactments, firewalking, and even a full-scale Viking village.

For a fully immersive experience, book a weekend ticket and camp out for the weekend right next to the Viking hordes. Given the festival-style nature of the event, this one may be more suitable for pre-teens and teenagers than the under-fives.

Valhalla Viking Festival, Dummer Down Farm, Dummer Down Lane, Basingstoke RG25 2AR, UK. July 28-30.

Experience the rich history and tradition of Norway at the Tønsberg Viking Festival. A living history event in the country's oldest town. Photo: AB Photostudio / Shutterstock

Tønsberg Viking Festival

Tønsberg is the oldest town in Norway, with its roots dating back to the ninth century and the Viking Age. Tønsberg Viking Festival in the second week of August is arguably one of the most authentic Norse events in the world.

Visitors can participate in various interactive activities, from Viking games and Norse markets to rowing lessons, rune workshops, archery lessons, and wrestling.

Tønsberg Viking Festival, St Olavs gate 6, 3126 Tønsberg, Norway. 10-13 August

The links above provide general information in English. For the full 2023 schedule in Norwegian, see here. You can also view a full-size replica of the famous Oseberg Ship in Tønsberg. The Midgard Viking Center is a 20-minute drive away.

The ancient Stafford Castle, a site steeped in history, hosts the annual Viking re-enactment. Photo: Lukas.Pernicky / Shutterstock

Stafford Castle Viking Re-enactment

The Vikings will try to scale the sturdy ramparts of Stafford Castle in the West Midlands in the second week of August. The two-day event will see Norse invaders busily carrying out their daily activities, such as cooking, weaving, and leather work, while you might even catch a pitched battle or two.

The castle itself, which is more than 900 years old and was fortified on the orders of William the Conqueror to help quell restless locals in the years after the Battle of Hastings, is also a magnificent sight.

Stafford Castle Viking Re-enactment, Stafford Castle Visitor Centre, Newport Road, Stafford ST16 1DJ, UK. August 12-13.

Dublinia, housed in part of the historic Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, offers an immersive journey through Viking history. Photo: Lauren Orr / Shutterstock

Dublinia Heritage Week

The historical recreation museum Dublinia, located in one section of Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral, is well worth a visit throughout the summer.

Much like the famous Jorvik Museum in York, Dublinia gives children a chance to stroll down a noisy Viking street while they can also see what life was like on a Viking warship, visit an authentic Norse house, and learn about the myths and customs of the Viking Age.

Dublinia will play host to a special Heritage Week in the third week of August, where kids can enjoy a special interactive tour every day at 11 am and discover what Dublin was really like in both the Viking era and the Middle Ages.

Heritage Week, Dublinia, St Michael's Hill Christ Church, Dublin 8, Ireland. August 12-19.

Near the location of the Ushaw Viking Takeover, Durham's Elvet Bridge offers serene summertime views. Photo: Nicola Pulham / Shutterstock

Ushaw Viking Takeover

This brand-new event promises to be one of the biggest Viking re-enactment extravaganzas of the year.

August bank holiday sees hordes of Vikings descend on the gardens of the stunning Ushaw Historic House. The Ushaw Viking Takeover will look to recreate the famous Battle of Brunanburh, fought between Æthelstan, King of England, and allied Norse, Scots, and Strathclyde Britons.

In addition to the battle itself, children can look forward to missile and archery displays, take a stroll through the camps of the two armies, and take part in the 'Kiddie vike,' where younger audience members can practice shield wall drills and attempt to drive the invaders from their lands.

Ushaw Viking Takeover, Ushaw, Durham DH7 7DW, UK. August 26-28.

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