THE final days of the infamous Viking king Eric Bloodaxe will feature in Europe’s largest Viking Festival in York next month.

Eric Bloodaxe was murdered on the moors of Stainmore, near the border of County Durham and Cumbria and his death signalled the end of northern independence, with Yorkshire and the North-East falling under the rule of English kings in the south.

His dramatic last few days will be part of the Jorvik Viking Festival in York, which runs from February 20 to February 26.

This year it will feature new venues for larger events, including a dramatic retelling of the battle of Stainmore at the festival’s finale on Saturday, February 25.

The story of Eric Bloodaxe’s last stand will be hosted at Rawcliffe Country Park, a natural arena where larger crowds can watch the finale. There will be living history displays with hundreds of warriors taking to the field, ending in the Viking king’s murder by an agent of Oswulf Ealdulfing, the Earl of Bamburgh, who was also a supporter of Eadred, the King of Wessex and Eng land.

Alongside the paid-for events, there will be a host of free activities for visitors to enjoy, including the annual Strongest Viking Competition, which returns to the Coppergate Centre and the Best Beard Competition, all on Saturday, February 25.

For those visiting York during the half-term week there will be a free encampment in Coppergate and the Festival Hub will be located in Parliament Street with hands-on craft activities.

The archaeological centre DIG, in St Saviourgate, will play host to this year’s Viking steading, with a wide range of domesticated animals to see and pet.

The festival will come ahead of the Jorvik Viking Centre’s reopening in April, following a multi-million pound redesign.

Marketing manager at the museum, Paul Whiting, said: “For the last three years, the JORVIK Viking Festival has grown and now draws even larger audiences from across the world, so with JORVIK Viking Centre’s re-opening set for April, we want to make sure that this year’s event is an epic prequel to the story we will tell in the re-imagined JORVIK."

“Eric Bloodaxe’s face has featured in the festival logo for over 30 years, and as his time in York was just before the new timeline for the Viking city recreation we’ll be revealing in April, this seems the perfect time for a new generation to learn about the famous king.”

People can also hear the latest Viking research and lectures from leading researchers. A full list of events are available online at;