Help Us Re-Imagine JORVIK Viking Centre with Campaign Canute

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JORVIK Viking Centre was one of the many homes and businesses in York that suffered substantial flood damage in December 2015. The centre remains closed and aims to re-open by spring 2017.

As we look to the future and re-opening this world-famous attraction we need your help to re-imagine the Viking story in York for the 21st Century. Your donation to #CampaignCanute will help York Archaeological Trust,  an independent, educational charity and the owners and operators of JORVIK, to continue its charitable mission and create a new interactive, heritage experience at the home of the Vikings in York for generations to come!

Since opening on 14th April 1984 JORVIK has:

  • Welcomed over 18 million visitors.
  • Educated over 60,000 school children a year.
  • Preserved the city’s rich Viking heritage.

Show your support to help re-imagine JORVIK Viking Centre for the 21st Century


Help us further by donating through Gift Aid which allows us to claim from the Government, an extra 25p for every £1 you spend.

Before / AfterTestimonials

“I’ve been privileged to be involved in various JORVIK incarnations, and have been fascinated to discover our county’s Viking past through JORVIK’s distinctive mix of archaeological rigour and dramatic reconstructions. Being a big bloke with a big beard, I’m especially drawn to the stories of other big blokes with big beards, together with all the other people who made up the extraordinary Viking society which flourished in York over 1,000 years ago. These are big stories to tell, and the new JORVIK  will use new technologies to tell them in the most impactful ways: definitely something to shout about!”

- Brian Blessed


Dan Snow“As one of many millions of visitors inspired by JORVIK, I was shocked to hear of JORVIK’s closure in the wake of the damage wrought by the winter floods in York.   So I am delighted to support their plans to reopen a ‘re-imagined’ JORVIK in Spring 2017, seizing the opportunity to incorporate new research, scientific discovery and technology to enrich even further the iconic, memorable JORVIK visitor experiences: the time travel trip through the Viking cityscape, discovering surprising facts about our ancestors.

JORVIK has always been an amazing introduction to history and archaeology, built on authenticity, with a focus on the latest scientific thinking, exciting and interactive environment that makes the past accessible to everyone, as well as a great day out, and these new developments will make it even more unforgettable.

York Archaeological Trust, who run JORVIK, have launched Campaign Canute to raise funds to deliver the re-imagined JORVIK – I sincerely hope you will support them to help make it happen. I, for one, can’t wait to experience the new JORVIK in Spring 2017.”

- Dan Snow


Terry Deary“JORVIK  is an exciting place that fires children’s (and adult’s) imaginations and makes learning fun.  Vikings have often had a bad press (and a particularly horrible history) so it’s important that JORVIK  explores all sides of Viking life.  The ‘re-imagined’ JORVIK will build on its strengths incorporating the new research discovered since JORVIK first opened its doors over 30 years ago. I’ve been a fan for at least 25 of those years. That entertaining approach to learning will be presented again in its distinctive and  innovative way. A rejuvenated JORVIK will make Viking York even more vibrant and memorable for a whole new generation of young visitors (and rather older one like myself too).”

- Terry Deary


What was the extent of the flood damage?

More information on the flooding at JORVIK Viking Centre can be found on the JORVIK Viking Centre’s flood page.

What is #CampaignCanute?

It is the name we have given to our fundraising initiative to generate additional funds to the re-imagining of JORVIK. All donations will be put towards creating new, cutting edge technological experiences within JORVIK Viking Centre. This fundraising campaign is to complement the money our insurers are putting forward to help us  re-open JORVIK Viking Centre.

For detailed information for the media on #CampaignCanute please click here

So, JORVIK is going to re-open?

Yes, JORVIK Viking Centre will re-open, and with #CampaignCanute fundraising we aim to make the JORVIK experience bigger and better.

What will my donation be put towards?

All donations to #CampaignCanute will be used to develop new displays, exhibition material and technology to help us showcase York’s rich Anglo-Scandinavian heritage at JORVIK Viking Centre. This includes, but not limited to;

  • Animatronics and models on the ride experience
  • New immersive experiences
  • Interactive digital applications within the galleries
  • New, bespoke displays for our priceless Viking-Age artefacts

What’s behind the name of the campaign?

Canute the Great is one of the most important pre-conquest monarchs you may have never heard of…

A fierce warrior and a Viking King of England, Canute is perhaps most famous for the story of him trying and failing to hold back the waves of the sea. It is for this, and 2016 being the 1,000th anniversary of his accession to the English throne, something that we were already exploring at the 32nd JORVIK Viking Festival, that we have chosen Canute as our champion for the re-imagining of JORVIK for the 21st Century!

What is the target amount?

As insurance discussions approach completion, we now know that the #CampaignCanute fundraising target to deliver a ‘re-imagined’ JORVIK Viking Centre is £1.5m.  This will enable York Archaeological Trust to create a new, immersive, and inspirational JORVIK, which highlights new research and discoveries, and incorporates cutting-edge interpretative and display technologies.

It is a challenging timescale:  the target is to raise £0.5m by September 2016, which will enable delivery of the core re-imagined JORVIK to open Spring 2017.

From September 2016 onwards fundraising will continue to raise the balance of the #CampaignCanute target, which will enable development of further enhanced digital and interpretative technologies, both onsite and virtual, to extend access to JORVIK to the widest audiences.

Every amount donated will be greatly appreciated.

Can I Gift Aid my donation?

Yes, if you are a UK taxpayer you can opt to Gift Aid your donation. For every £1 you donate the government will give 25p towards the campaign.

For more information on the Gift Aid scheme visit the UK Government website



Find Out More… further FAQs

Why does JORVIK need to fundraise? After all, with all those visitors and income, it must be a profitable attraction?

JORVIK is owned and run by York Archaeological Trust (YAT), Registered Charity No 509060 (England & Wales) and SCO42846 (Scotland), which receives no regular funding or financial support from external parties.

Income generated supports JORVIK itself and enables YAT to sustain its extensive range of archaeological and educational activities, for the widest public benefit, including its other attractions in York (DIG, Barley Hall, Richard III and Henry VII experiences), as well as the UK’s biggest Viking Festival in February, other pop up exhibitions in York and around the country; and archaeology research and community projects out of offices in York, Glasgow, Sheffield and Nottingham.

YAT reaches more than half a million people every year, and delivers a multi-million impact on the regional economy employing around 200 people across all of the Trust’s activities and generating significant economic value for local and regional businesses .

If replacement is covered by insurance, why does JORVIK want to raise even more?

Insurance will allow us to reinstate JORVIK to its condition ‘one minute before the flood’.

JORVIK has been renowned since it opened for its innovative presentation and interpretation, and the inspiring and memorable experience it offers visitors. Over its lifetime, a number of updates have kept JORVIK at the vanguard of visitor attractions.

With visitors evermore familiar with the advances of visual imagery, extreme experiences, and digital technology, a major challenge is to keep the JORVIK experience current, relevant, and surprising for its various audiences, meeting and exceeding expectations.

Whilst clearly it would not have been our choice to have to close for a year, given these extreme circumstances it is sensible and responsible to seize the opportunity of closure to comprehensively refresh and rebuild JORVIK incorporating new research, technology, and interpretation.

We can then relaunch JORVIK anew in 2017 to increasingly sophisticated, visually and technology literate, and demanding audiences. In essence we want to re-imagine JORVIK for the 21st century, thus ensuring that JORVIK can resume its place as a lead attraction at the cutting edge of visitor attractions, attracting return visits and building new audiences.

What does JORVIK contribute to the City economy?

  • Is one of York’s premier, flagship heritage tourist attractions
  • Since it opened in 1984, JORVIK has welcomed over 18 million visitors from across the world
  • Welcomes around 400,000 visitors every year, plus around 70,000 schoolchildren
  • Runs the UK’s biggest annual Viking Festival
  • Has a gross economic impact on the City of around £27m per annum (including accommodation and associated visitor spending*)
  • Employs 69 staff (full and part-time) plus seasonal and event staff.
*Association of Independent Museums (AIM) Economic Value of the Independent Museum Sector Toolkit


What does YAT (York Archaeological Trust) contribute to the City economy?

  • Operates 4 other York heritage attractions: Barley Hall, DIG, Richard III Experience, and Henry VII Experience, in addition to JORVIK
  • Welcomes around 500,000 visitors in total to YAT activities
  • Ran 490 events in 2014/15, attended by 14,700 participants
  • Employs over 150 people
  • Is supported by nearly 100 volunteers, giving over 2,000 hours of support time
  • Has engaged over 3,000 people since 2001 in ‘Archaeology Live’ excavations
  • Runs archaeological and community research programmes from offices in Nottingham, Sheffield and Glasgow, as well as York.

For full details see ‘Hidden Depths, YAT 2014-2015 Annual Review’ at


What will the new JORVIK aim to do?

  1. To continue to attract and inspire a wide range of visitors and enhance their understanding of the Viking Age.
  2. To re-display the artefact galleries incorporating our collection of objects and new research generated since our last major refurbishment of 2000.
  3. To enhance digital access to JORVIK. Making it accessible globally and provide educational tools as well as access to cutting edge research for all.
  4. To ensure financial resilience for YAT.
  5. To continue to make a wider contribution to the Yorkshire tourism economy.
  6. To continue to contribute to improving the quality of archaeological exploration and study, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Who will benefit?

  • Visitors of all ages and backgrounds through general visits and educational activities, including: adults; children; families; students and concessions
  • The City of York including: residents; local businesses in Coppergate and city-wide; the York tourism ‘offer’
  • The local and regional economy
  • The JORVIK and YAT teams including: staff, volunteers, interns, students
  • Archaeological and historical research and interpretation, inspiring future generations of historians, archaeologists and cultural scholars
  • Viking Studies worldwide

How does this fundraising sit with other York fundraising campaigns running at the moment?
We are working closely with our colleagues at York Theatre Royal, and the Mansion House to support each other in our respective campaigns. All are extremely worthy of support and we appreciate that some people will prefer to donate to one campaign and not another – it depends where your personal interests lie. So far we have been overwhelmed by the support people have expressed for our own campaign, and are hugely appreciative of donations to date, in challenging and competitive circumstances.


With Thanks To:

york common good trustJoseph Rowntree Foundation