York, a well-preserved medi­eval city in northeastern Eng­land, makes a scenic backdrop to one of Europe’s largest festivals of Viking culture.

The Jorvik Viking Festival, which opened Monday and runs through Tuesday, Feb. 23, is a fam­ily-friendly festival made up of battle re-enactments, historic walks and lectures that trace Viking connections to the pres­ent day. It’s timed to coincide with England’s half-term school vacation period.

Highlights of the festival, which wears the city’s name in Norse, include a historical encampment that is free to visit; battle re-enactments at the Combat Arena at York Guildhall (tickets begin at 3.50 pounds for adults; 2.50 pounds for children); and walking tours of the city (4.50 adults; 3.50 children). The final weekend includes a war­rior’s march, best beard contest and a sound and light show at the Eye of York, replete with battles, pyrotechnics and music.

From Feb. 15 through 21, the millennial anniversary of King Canute, a Viking warrior who rose to become king of England and leader of a vast North Sea empire, is celebrated through historical encampments and dramatic combat performances. For additional information or to book tickets, see

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