For this week, when the schools are on holiday in Denmark, the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde is offering a variety of seasonal, family-friendly activities that reflect the autumn season as it was 1,000 years ago.

Almost all the hands-on attractions have an English-language version, with activities scheduled every day until Sunday, October 22.

Autumn in the Viking Age was a period when crops were harvested, warriors returned from expeditions, and boats had to be maintained for the upcoming winter months.

As the days shortened and darker times loomed, people gathered around fires in the evenings. Here, stories of gods and heroes were shared to help pass the time. 

Storytelling on Strandengen

The half-term activities at the Viking Ship Museum take place around the Viking tents on Strandengen, a beach meadow, where the lit bonfires create a cozy atmosphere, and you can immerse yourself in life as it was lived here 1,000 years ago. 

The longship Sea Stallion from Glendalough is moored near a low bridge at Strandengen, ensuring easy boarding for all.

The Sea Stallion stands as the world's longest Viking ship reconstruction, measuring a full 30 meters. Once on board, one can truly envision the experience of traversing the seas as the Norsemen once did. 

In the tent camp at Strandengen, you can practice the skills a Viking would need when spring arrived: throwing a mooring line, fighting with a sword, or testing your strength in a game of tug-of-war. 

Over the flame of an open fire, you can bake Birka biscuits, a flatbread made according to a recipe from the Viking Age, ideal for a day by the sea or in the countryside. 

If you're in the mood for a quiet moment with a captivating story, take a seat in the storytelling tent and listen to exciting tales about the fantastic ships from Nordic mythology.

Hear about Frej's remarkable ship, Skibladner, which always had the wind in its sails and could be folded to fit in the palm of your hand. 

Tales from Norse mythology 

Time: Every day in English at 1.30 pm.
Duration: 30 minutes 

A school tour at the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum. Photo: Viking Ship Museum

Tours and combat

Twice a day, children and adults can participate in the family tour, Tyr's Lost Courage, based on Nordic mythology. 

The children must help the god Tyr to regain his lost courage by solving a series of tasks that require guile, courage, and cooperation. 

The tasks to be solved are all based on maritime life in the Viking Age and the fantastic stories from Nordic mythology. 

Tyr's Lost Courage

Time: Every day in English at 2.30 pm. 
Duration: 30 minutes 

Could you have survived in the Viking Age? A Viking warrior will demonstrate his impressive weapons and their usage.

Most Viking warriors were equipped with axes and shields, while the more elite members could afford swords, helmets, and chain mail.

The best warriors trained in martial arts to excel in combat, hoping to return safely to their families after expeditions.

With the fjord and the Viking Ship Hall as a backdrop, this week's Viking warriors will demonstrate combat with swords, spears, axes, and shields on Strandegen. 

Weapons demonstration 

Time: You can meet the Viking warrior from 10 am-4 pm. At noon and 2 pm, he will give a special demonstration of the weapons' strength.
Duration: 30 minutes. 

The boatyard at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde offers a unique glimpse into the art of Viking shipbuilding, from observing the reconstruction of the Skuldelev 5 to hands-on workshops where visitors can craft their own vessels. Photo: nektofadeev / Shutterstock

Boat activities

At the boatyard, you can observe the initial work on the Skuldelev 5 reconstruction progress

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde is built around the five Viking ships uncovered at the nearby Roskilde Fjord in 1962. 

The ships were deliberately sunk just north of Roskilde in 1070 in order to block the passage of the Peberrenden waterway and defend against potential invasion. 

Each different in character and purpose, the vessels have given up a wealth of information from several points of view. 

An initiative to reconstruct them using traditional methods, supplemented at times with contemporary techniques, offers family-friendly entertainment at the boatyard as the team works in the open.

Over time, this will unveil deeper insights into the construction of these vessels. The reconstruction is anticipated to span four years. 

At the waterfront, you can observe skilled boatbuilders as they reconstruct a Danish warship from the Viking Age's conclusion and inquire about tools and clinker-building techniques

You're also invited to test your boatbuilding skills in the open workshop, adding a touch of your own creativity. 

A well-crafted boat should float, remain stable in water, and be capable of sailing. For those interested, crayons and paper are available! 

Furthermore, the Skuldelev 5 tour delves into the history of Skuldelev 5 and its ongoing reconstruction, set to continue over the next few years. 

The tour showcases the original Skuldelev 5 ship in the Viking Ship Hall, the reconstruction of Skuldelev 5, named Helge Ask, in the Museum Harbor, and the new reconstruction at the boatyard that began this year. 

Here, you can learn about the construction project, the importance of experimental archeology, and the work at the boatyard. 

Why is the Roskilde team reconstructing Skuldelev 5 again? What changes are they implementing now? And why weren't these changes made 30 years ago? Discover the answers on the tour! 

Skuldelev 5 tour

Time: Every day in English at 11.30 am.
Duration: One hour. 

The ships on display at the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum. Photo: Viking Ship Museum

Explore the museum on your own 

There's plenty to explore if you prefer to experience the museum on your own.

In the Viking Ship Hall, you can engage with the MuseumMystery, a digital game available for play on personal phones.

Tune into the museum's audio guide, which offers narratives for both children and adults. It includes expert versions for those seeking comprehensive insights.

One narrative recounts the journey of a ship's boy from Northern Norway, visiting the bustling trade town of Hedeby, located on the border of the kingdom of the Danes, for the first time. 

Another tale follows a boy's transformation into a warrior while a princess embarks on a longship, journeying to distant lands to ascend as the queen of a far-off Viking realm.

Within the museum's interactive exhibition on Viking sea voyages, visitors can dress up in Viking attire and step aboard two grand ships, enveloped by dynamic walls that create the illusion of sailing the vast seas. 

The view from Roskilde harbor. Photo: nektofadeev / Shutterstock

Autumn holiday program at Roskilde 

Tours and storytelling in English:

11.30 am: Tour of Skuldelev 5 and the reconstructions
Noon: Warrior talk on Strandengen
1 pm: Stories for children
2 pm: Warrior talk on Strandengen
2.30 pm: Family tour - Tyr's Lost Courage

Activities:

 • Bake Birka biscuits over an open fire
 • Meet a Viking Warrior and admire his weapons
 • Fight with sword and shield
 • Build a boat in the workshop
 • Board Viking ships
 • Dress like a Viking
 • Compete in Viking games
 • Solve the MuseumMystery – a digital game on personal phones
 • Audio guide on personal phones 

Location: Viking Ship Museum, Vindeboder 12, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark. 
Opening hours: Activities until October 22, 10.30 am-4.30 pm. Museum daily 10 am-5 pm. Admission: Admission costs Dkr 160. Entry is free for those under 18. A family ticket, which includes 2 adults and 2 children under 18, costs Dkr 300. 

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