YORK’S Viking heritage will be celebrated over half term, with a week of activities.

The annual Jorvik Viking Festival is to return to York on Friday, February 16. There will be events throughout the city, including the chance for children to try sword fighting with Viking warriors at York’s Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, talks with Time Team’s Mick Aston at York Guildhall and Viking-themed craft activities at St Sampson’s Square.

As part of the festival, York Minster will host several events looking at why the Norse raiders were originally drawn to the city.

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It will be hosting a Scandinavian evening of music, songs and poetry by candlelight on Wednesday (February 20).

There will be Viking-themed family activities on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday when young visitors can hear Viking tales, including the story of the Horn of Ulf, a drinking vessel which sealed a very important deal.

“One Viking fact many people do not realise is that the Chapter of York, which remains the guardian of York Minster, was given the land on which the Minster and its precincts stand by a Viking nobleman called Ulf, who owned a significant estate around York,” said the Minster’s director of marketing, Nicola Bexon.

“As a symbolic deed of trust, he presented the chapter with a large and ornate ivory horn, the Horn of Ulf, still held today in the Minster’s archives and which will go on permanent display later this year when the new Undercroft exhibitions open to the public.”

The celebration will culminate in a Viking battle at the Eye of York following a torchlit march on Saturday, February 23.