5 Ways To... Follow the Vikings
Will the new British Museum exhibition inspire your travels?
Wednesday 05 March 2014
The new British Museum exhibition, “Vikings: Life and Legend” brings new archaeological finds from Denmark and Berlin together with the museum’s own collection (020 7323 8299; britishmuseum.org; £16.50). From the 8th to the 12th century, Vikings traded across four continents, and the evidence can be found in Europe and beyond
In the New World
Discovered in Canada in 1960, L’Anse aux Meadows (parkscanada.gc.ca/meadows) is the only known Norse site in North America. Audley Travel (01993 838000; audleytravel.com) offers a 10-night self-drive holiday in Newfoundland from £2,280pp including accommodation, car hire and flights.
On a longship
You can live like a Viking in Denmark aboard Aslak, a reconstruction of a 10th-century warship. Become part of the crew by sailing and rowing the 24-metre ship on the fjords of Zealand. A four-night voyage for 16-20 guests departs on 11 August. The cost of £435pp includes full board and airport transfers from Copenhagen with Viking Tours; flights not included (00 45 409 10336; vikingtours.dk).
In the Arctic Circle
Fragments of glass turned up by a farmer ploughing in 1981 led to the discovery of the largest Viking building yet found in Scandinavia, near the village of Borg on Vestvagoy in Norway’s Lofoten Islands. The 9th-century chieftain’s house has been recreated with its living quarters and displays jewellery, religious and household artefacts . At the annual Viking festival (6-10 August; lofotr.no) costumed Vikings show off their fighting skills.
Inntravel (01653 617001; inntravel.co.uk) offers a week’s self-catering in a “robu” (fisherman’s hut) on Vestvagoy from £749pp, including car hire and walking maps. Flights are extra.
On a city break
Take a day trip by boat (stromma.se; Skr345/£32) from Stockholm’s City Hall to Bjorko, an island in Lake Malaren, to visit Birka, a fortified Viking city founded in about 800. Tickets include a tour through a recreation of the village and the burial grounds. Then, wander through quiet meadows and have a swim in the lake. Back in the city, go to The Swedish History Museum (historiska.se) to see finds from Birka including the skeleton of a girl with a gold coin and pearls in her grave. Ebookers (020 3147 9327; ebookers.com) offers three nights’ B&B at the four-star Best Western Premier Hotell Kung Carl and return flights from Gatwick to Stockholm from £342pp.
Closer to home
The Vikings first invaded England at Lindisfarne in 793, but didn’t settle permanently until 876 – they stayed nearly 200 years. You can see the Silverdale Hoard, found in a field in 2011, at the Museum of Lancashire in Preston (lancashire.gov.uk/museums; free) where it went on display last month. The stash of more than 200 items includes coins, arm rings, ingots and silver fragments.
Head to York to visit the Jorvik Viking Centre, constructed on the site of a Viking city uncovered in the late 1970s. Walk on a
glass floor over the remains of 1,000-year-old houses, feel the blast from a blacksmith’s furnace and come face-to-face with
Norse speakers (jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk; £9.95).
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