We recently had an amazing day trip to York. We visited three attractions and learnt about the Vikings, the history of magic and archaeology in one adventure filled day.
We had a Jorvik Group triple ticket, which gives you access to Jorvik Viking Centre, DIG: An Archaeological Adventure and Barley Hall over the course of a year. You can take your time and visit one attraction at a time, or like us, you can visit them all in one day.
Jorvik Viking Centre
Jorvik Viking centre blew us away. It’s like a museum, in that there’s artefacts and you learn about a particular topic, but unlike any museum we’ve ever been to, it includes a ride! The experience starts with seeing a replica archaeological dig, where tour guides in costume (or “real life Vikings”, as our four year old referred to them) tell you about what a recent archaeological dig revealed about Viking York. The tour guides were fantastic. They were knowledgeable, approachable and child-friendly. After this you can experience the ride.
The ride has seats for 6 people (only one household at a time at the moment), with a TV screen and stereo system for each person. Children are well catered for, with booster seats adding height so that they can see and hear well (perfect for our 2 and 4 year olds), and they could even listen to the audio in “children’s English” which interpreted everything they were seeing in a really engaging way.
The ride takes you round a Viking village – you feel completely immersed in the experience, with moving mannequins, detailed scenery and even authentic smells of the Viking period. It was such and interactive and memorable way to learn history.
Next you go to a gallery where you can see the artefacts that were found during the York excavation. Our favourite item was a sock; it has been so well preserved you can still see the stitching!
DIG: An Archaeological Adventure
DIG is a perfect all-age activity. At the beginning there is a short talk by a tour guide, and then each family takes their trowels and kneeling mats to their allocated pit. There are four pits, a Roman, Viking, Medieval and Victorian pit, and you get an opportunity to dig in each. Everyone from our toddler right up to daddy (but I noticed some other families with grandparents too) were getting stuck in to investigating. Using your trowel you can uncover replica artifacts that have been discovered in York from the different time periods. The tour guide helps you identify what you are discovering and answers any questions that you have. For any budding archaeologist in your family it’s an absolute must, in fact, it’s probably a dream come true.
At the end there is another talk by the tour guide and a chance to see the world’s largest coprolite (fossilied human poo). Of course, our boys found this absolutely brilliant!
Barley Hall is a medieval town house dating back to 1360. It’s “Magic and Mystery” exhibition investigates how science, religion and magic were often interwoven in the middle ages. Our eldest found it very interesting, given that he’s just getting into Harry Potter at the moment. Barley Hall is better suited to older children who can read as it mainly explores the topic through information boards and artifacts.
Pricing for the Jorvik Group triple ticket
It is possible to buy tickets to the individual attractions, but the triple ticket offers a discounted price and it’s valid for a whole calendar year. So it’s definitely great value for money.
Here’s the prices for the triple ticket:
We’d highly recommend Jorvik, DIG and Barley Hall to any families visiting York. They are memorable, educational and brilliantly fun attractions; visiting them makes for a great adventure with your kids.