Whitby set for Viking invasion over Jubilee weekend

Site manager Sarah Bedlington and events manager Jon Hogan channel their inner Vikings at Whitby Abbey

Site manager Sarah Bedlington and events manager Jon Hogan channel their inner Vikings at Whitby Abbey

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If you are looking for a Jubilee celebration without any bunting, mugs or Union flags, Whitby Abbey has just the thing as it turns back the clock 1,100 years for a regal celebration with a distinctly Viking theme!

Over the Jubilee weekend, visitors can leave the 21st Century behind, returning to a time in Whitby’s history before the English monarchy was established to celebrate the marriage of an English princess.

The event is set in the late 9th Century, a generation after the original wooden abbey was sacked and destroyed by Viking raiders, when the local nobles are determined to use the venerated site for their celebration.

However, everything may not go according to plan when the Vikings are spotted approaching from the North.

Event manager Jon Hogan said: “The Vikings landed on the Yorkshire coast in 866, making their way inland, sacking and pillaging as they went.

“Although some eventually settled here, coastal locations were particularly vulnerable to attacks from invaders crossing the North Sea – indeed, that’s what happened to Lindisfarne and Whitby Abbey.

“But life had to go on for the local people, and this wedding would be a clear statement of defiance against the raiders, so when the Vikings are spotted, it is not surprising that a vicious clash will follow soon afterwards.”

Each day throughout the long bank holiday weekend, visitors can see the story unfold, with dramatic skirmishes throughout the day, culminating in a bitter battle between the locals and the invading Vikings riding in on horseback at 3pm each day.

On Bank Holiday Monday, the story continues into the evening, as the site re-opens at 7.30pm for a special dusk continuation of the story as the Vikings return to gate-crash the ceremony – wearing armour, banging shields and with swords drawn.

The daytime events run on Sunday 3, Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 June from 11am to 5pm, with the site additionally open from 10am to 6pm.

Admission prices are £7 adults, £6 concessions and £4 for children or free for English Heritage members.

An extra £1 will be charged per child to cover the Time Traveller activities.

The Vikings! Fire, Fear and Foes event on Monday runs from 7.30pm to 9.00pm, with tickets priced at £6 adults, £5 concessions and £4 for children, or £5, £4 and £3 respectively for English Heritage members.

Pre-booking for the evening event is strongly recommended; call 0870 333 1183 for details.

For more information on all of the events, contact Whitby Abbey on (01947) 603568 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/whitby