What are the best locations in the UK for tourists to learn about the Vikings through interactive exhibits?

The Viking age, a historical period that started around 793 AD and lasted until 1066 AD, is a fascinating part of history that continues to pique the interest of many. The Vikings, originating from Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, made their mark in many parts of the world, including the UK. Today, there are several sites across the country, rich with Viking history and offering interactive exhibits that offer visitors a glimpse into this fascinating period. This article will highlight some of those locations.

Jorvik Viking Centre, York

The Jorvik Viking Centre in York is perhaps one of the most famous Viking-related sites in the UK. Built on the very site of the ancient Viking city of Jorvik, the centre is a must-visit location for anyone wanting to learn about the Vikings.

The Jorvik Viking Centre uses modern technology like VR to recreate the sights, sounds, and even smells of the Viking age. Visitors can explore a reconstructed Viking-age street and experience the everyday life of the Vikings. The centre also houses a rich collection of artefacts discovered on the site, including tools, jewellery, and even a reconstruction of a Viking ship.

The centre also offers an annual Viking festival which attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is an immersive experience that brings the past to life through interactive exhibits and live reenactments, making it a real history treat for any visitor.

The British Museum, London

The next stop in this Viking tour is the British Museum in London. The museum is renowned worldwide for its extensive collection of art and artefacts representing the world's cultures and history.

The Vikings have a special place in the museum's vast collection. One of the most significant pieces is the Lewis Chessmen, a group of 12th-century chess pieces, most likely made in Norway. They are intricately carved from walrus ivory and whales' teeth, depicting Norse warriors, kings, queens, and iconic Viking imagery.

The British Museum also offers interactive exhibits about the Vikings. These include multimedia presentations, interactive panels, and 3D models. Visitors can learn about the Vikings' seafaring skills, their conquests, their gods, and their daily lives, making a visit to the British Museum a comprehensive Viking experience.

The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is another great location for Viking enthusiasts. The museum’s collection includes a number of Viking artefacts discovered in Scotland, reflecting the Vikings' influence in this part of the UK.

Among the Viking objects on display, the most significant is probably the Cuerdale Hoard. This is the largest Viking silver hoard ever found outside Scandinavia. It consists of more than 8,500 items, including silver coins, English and Carolingian jewellery, Byzantine silk, and hack silver.

The museum also offers interactive exhibits about the Vikings, allowing visitors to learn about their culture, their gods, their crafts, and their seafaring skills in a fun and engaging way.

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Finally, no list of museums related to the Vikings would be complete without mentioning the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The Vikings were excellent seafarers, and their ships were a crucial part of their success in exploration, trade, and warfare.

The museum has a special collection dedicated to the Vikings, which includes replicas of Viking ships and interactive exhibits that explain the Vikings' seafaring skills and their influence on naval technology. The exhibits also cover the Vikings' naval routes, their voyages, and their naval battles.

Interactive screens and VR technology allow visitors to experience a virtual sea journey on a Viking ship, offering a unique insight into the Vikings' seafaring life.

These sites offer a wealth of knowledge and an immersive experience into the life and times of the Vikings. They are a must-see for anyone interested in this fascinating period of history. Whether it's the vibrant, bustling streets of Jorvik, the treasure-filled halls of the British Museum, the Scottish hoards in the National Museum of Scotland, or the seafaring sagas at the National Maritime Museum, the UK offers a multitude of ways to step back in time and walk in the footsteps of the Vikings.

The Galloway Hoard at the National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh

Among the various Viking artefacts distributed in museums across the UK, one that stands out is the Galloway Hoard. Discovered in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, in 2014 and currently housed in the National Museum of Scotland, this hoard brings a fresh perspective to our understanding of the Viking era.

The Galloway Hoard is the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland. Comprising over 100 gold, silver and jewelled items, the hoard offers an unparalleled insight into the Viking age. It includes artefacts from Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and as far afield as Central Asia, revealing the extraordinary reach of the Viking seafarers.

The artefacts are not merely treasures; they also tell tales of the Vikings' interactions with various cultures, their religious beliefs, their artistry and their varied ways of life. The museum presents these stories through interactive displays, 3D models and multimedia presentations. Visitors can virtually handle the artefacts, explore the stories behind them, and immerse themselves in the rich and diverse world of the Viking age.

The Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark

While the United Kingdom is rich in Viking history, a trip to Denmark, the Vikings' homeland, promises an even more immersive experience. The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, just 30 minutes from Copenhagen, is a must-visit site for anyone wanting to delve deeper into Viking history.

The museum houses five original Viking ships, discovered in Roskilde Fjord. These ships, which range from warships to cargo vessels, offer a vivid glimpse into the Vikings' seafaring skills. Visitors can get up close to the ships, appreciate their construction, and understand the crucial role they played in the Vikings' conquests.

Additionally, the museum offers an open-air section, where visitors can see reconstructed Viking ships and even participate in building one. There's also a Viking Shipyard, where traditional Nordic boat-building techniques are kept alive.

Interactivity is a key feature of the museum. For instance, visitors can embark on a virtual journey in a Viking ship, battling the wind and the waves, just like the Vikings did over a thousand years ago. Through these and other interactive exhibits, the Viking Ship Museum brings the Viking era to life in a way few other places can.


Exploring the Viking age is an exciting journey into the past, and the UK offers a wealth of sites for this exploration. The Jorvik Viking Centre, the British Museum, the National Museum of Scotland, and the National Maritime Museum all house unique Viking artefacts and offer interactive exhibits for a hands-on experience of Viking history. For a glimpse into the Viking world beyond the UK, the Viking Ship Museum in Denmark is an excellent choice.

Visiting these places is not just about viewing artefacts; it's about immersing oneself in the Viking era, understanding the Vikings' culture, appreciating their skills and realising their impact on history. So, whether you're a history buff, a Viking enthusiast or just a curious tourist, make sure to add these destinations to your travel itinerary. The journey will take you a thousand years back, but the memories will stay with you for a lifetime.

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