The Vikings are marauding on York’s streets – and on our phones!

22nd February 2019

The Vikings are marauding on York’s streets – and on our phones!

Norse to see you, to see you Norse!

The 35th Jorvik Viking Festival started today, filling Parliament Street with giant, bearded figures brandishing swords and shields – or perhaps doing a spot of wood turning.

And for the first time you can not only encounter Vikings on the streets, but on your phone too.

York-based New Moon Studios has created an augmented reality app that brings the characters to life at different venues around the city.


The free Jorvik Unleashed app will see six inhabitants of Viking-age York recreated digitally in venues including Coppergate, Davygate, Shambles Market and the Visit York Visitor Information Centre.

Users can see, photograph, video and interact with the characters using phones or tablets, then share their experiences on social media.

Cartoon versions of some of the Jorvik Centre’s most famous residents are available – including the famous man straining on a Viking toilet. The other characters are:

  • the hunter and his dog
  • the storyteller
  • a pregnant lady
  • a girl with a cat
  • and a market trader

“We’ve used this app in cities around the world before, but this is the first time we’ve recreated animals and humans together, and it will be great to see it in action on our home turf,” said Andy Nye of New Moon Studios.

“For any fan of games like Pokémon Go, this is a great new way of interacting with the city – especially as the streets are likely to be thronged with real Vikings at the same time,” said Jorvik Viking Centre’s Nathan Waddell.

Gareth Henry, Viking Festival event manager, said: “We’re hoping that this milder weather will encourage more people than ever before to venture out and explore our Viking encampment in Parliament Street, watch the entertainment on the stage in St Sampson’s Square, or even have a go at sword-fighting in our workshops at Spark:York.”

Tickets have sold out for a number of events, including Freya’s Banquet on Friday evening and the son-et-lumière ‘Battle Spectacular at Folkvangr Fields’.

But tickets will be available each day for have-a-go activities. “The encampment has free admission and, of course, everyone is welcome to come and see the awesome March To Coppergate on Saturday 23rd, when over 200 Vikings will once again fill the city streets,” adds Gareth.

A few places remain at the Richard Hall Symposium, featuring top academics discussing women and power in the Viking world, which takes place at York St John University on Sunday 24 February, from 9am.

Symposium attendees will also enjoy a talk by Dr Steve Ashby of the University of York at York Explore Library on Monday 25 February (10.30am), celebrating the launch of his latest popular history title, Pocket Museum: Vikings.

Younger visitors can also meet creators of the Histronauts series of historical adventures, author Frances Furkin and illustrator Grace Cooke, at 2pm at York Explore on Monday 25th , imagining their own stories and even trying out historical illustration.

To read the full story, please visit the YorkMix website.