Wax Vikings: A Trip to Jorvik Viking centre

By | 17:43 Leave a Comment

Did everyone enjoy this week's viking-filled Doctor Who episode?

What really stuck out to me was the set design as they created a very realistic viking village., with it's longhouses and willow fences. And the costume design really felt spot on (putting aside the ever-present controversy of whether vikings wore horned helmets or not).

From the Doctor Who episode The Girl Who Died

Seeing it all in the flesh got be thinking back to my visit to York, where I took in it's perhaps most famous attraction: Jorvik Viking Centre.

Jorvik Viking Centre should perhaps be labelled more of an experience than a traditional museum.

Overall it's quite small and while it does have quite a number of interesting exhibits in it's glass cases, it's primary purpose is to help you experience the viking past of York in the flesh, and it does this through a disneyland-esque ride through a creative ancient village.

Manned by friendly staff members in very authentic looking viking clothing, you're bundled onto what looks like a rollercoaster seat suspended from the ceiling where you can relax and select which audio tour you would like to take you around the place. As well as foreign language options, they have a nice touch in that you can have an adult voiceover or a child-friendly voiceover. Then you're off, pulled gently through into a gloom of timber and odd smells as the authentic experience begins.

Builders taking a break

A fair bit is touched on here, such as the architecture of the longhouses and the ingenuity involved in building them on multiple floors, and as you move through the village they have taken the care to include some of the older buildings too, to show how viking technology improved over time. You are guided through a village that is set out in a layout based on actual excavations found in York. The most interesting aspect is the wax people, who are animated and always at work and play as the tour shows you viking markets, what people did for a living, and even what they argued about! An attention to detail that I really loved was that the audio tour-guide was presented as a real person who would interact with each wax-person in their native Nordic language. Hearing the ancient language spoken out loud by multiple people really gave you a sense of reality and a fondness for the people in this small but carefully realised village.

The whole exhibit has a sense of humor that is certainly great fun for kids, and there's even a silly bit of toilet humor towards the end to keep them (and grown-ups) giggling.

Over all the Jorvik Centre is a fun way of spending an hour or so. In my opinion, while it can't compare to the York Castle Museum for a traditional museum experience, it is trying something completely different by offering you a step back in time. If you have young children or an appreciation for the craftsmanship involved in creating this experience it's definitely worth checking out.

For My Reviews on More Interesting Museums and Historical Landmarks...

-Osborne House (The Isle of Wright)
-Stonehenge (Wiltshire)
-The General Cemetery (Sheffield)
-Chatsworth House (Bakewell, Derbeyshire)
-Bishop's House (Sheffield)

Newer Post Older Post Home