Vikingar Viking visitor centre

Vikingar Viking visitor centre This is an exciting, interactive, hands on Viking experience, brought to life by sights and sounds. Real Viking storytellers will invite you into their Longhouse and as you sit under the flickering lights, they will relive a day in the life of a Viking.

Viking Visitor Attraction

Operating as usual

North Ayrshire Heritage and Cultural Services

North Ayrshire Heritage and Cultural Services

On this day in 1263 the Battle of Largs was fought along the coast between King Haakon IV of Norway and Alexander III of Scotland.

In the early medieval period, the Cumbraes and Bute were Norwegian-controlled islands. They were part of the Sundrays, Southern Islands (Súðreyjar), contained in the kingdom of Man and the Western Isles. Scotland's young king, Alexander wanted this kingdom to be part of Scotland. He began a series of raids in Skye and other islands to provoke a response.

In the autumn of 1263, King Haakon led an armada of up to 200 ships and 20,000 men to challenge Alexander. Scotland's knights would have watched from Ardrossan as the fleet moved up the Clyde to shelter in Lamlash Bay. Then from Ardneil they watched Haakon sail up to anchor off the Cumbrae Isles.
Battle was engaged on the shores of Kelburn. Due to bad weather the Norwegians couldn't land all their men and were overcome by Alexander's 500 knights and 7,000 foot soldiers.

Haakon withdrew with the intent to return next year after the winter with a larger force but died at Kirkwall in the Orkneys. His son, Magnus IV, was a peacemaker with his neighbours and in 3 years Scotland regained the Western Isles by the Treaty of Perth. There are various nods to the battle throughout Largs – Haco Street is named after King Haakon and Danefield Avenue after the Viking language Danish. There is also the following:

Battle of Largs Monument

This was built at Bowen Craig in 1912 to a design by James Sandford Kay. It was constructed by local builder John Hunter and cost £298 which was raised by public subscription. Soon it became known as the Pencil due to its shape – originally it was meant to look like a broch (an Iron-Age drystone structure.) Some thought this nickname vulgar but it has remained and is how the monument is universally referred as.

Walking out to the Pencil from Largs became very popular and in 1949 Largs Town Council bought the pathway and surrounding land. Over the winter the Parks Department landscaped the area at the Pencil and built the four stone seats and rustic pathway using stone from the shore.


Built in 1995 the Vikingar! leisure centre includes the Viking Experience – an interactive exhibit where storytellers tell Viking tales and myths.

Viking Festival

Between August and September the town of Largs remembers the battle with their annual festival. A 13th century Viking Village is created and festival goers get an insight into life in those times.

Viking Statue

It would be hard to miss the giant metal statue of Magnus the Viking on Largs promenade. He stands at 16 feet tall (5 metres) and was presented to the town in 2013 by North Ayrshire Council to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the battle. He was created by David Ogilvie Engineering of Kilmarnock.

Science and the Vikings

As there was no Hakon Hakonsson lecture last night, here is one from 2016

This video demonstrates the importance of scientific research in the study of Viking history. The Hakon Hakonsson Lecture was given at the annual Largs Vikin...


The Largs Viking festival should be in full swing this week and celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Covid had other ideas.........
We are being optimistic that the Vikings will be back with vengeance next year and we will celebrate its 40th anniversary then (albeit a bit late).

The Largs Viking Festival - 40th Anniversary in 2020

We're sorry that the Largs Viking festival has been cancelled this year, as so many other events. If any of you have been, you will know it's one of the biggest and longest running festivals in Scotland. It also would have been it's 40th anniversary this year. Here is a short film to pay tribute to it.

2020 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Largs Viking Festival, which was founded in 1980 to celebrate the famous Battle of Largs in 1263 in which the Scots re...


Hope everyone is keeping safe. As we slowly make our way out of lockdown, we would like to give you an update on the visitor centre. Unfortunately, there are still no plans as yet to reopen. As it is part of a leisure centre, with joining swimming pool and gym, they will be the company's first priority with other indoor activities including the visitor attraction being looked at to reopen at a later stage. We will keep everyone updated as to when that will be. Thanks for your patience.

As promised a comprehensive project pack for those who are home schooling children that are doing their Viking projects....

As promised a comprehensive project pack for those who are home schooling children that are doing their Viking projects. Please feel free to share.


Anyone who has a child at home that is doing a Viking project, I will be posting worksheets in the next day or two that can be done at home and any questions you have please don't hesitate to ask. Although Vikingar is closed we will still try and continue to bring history to you and help with home schooling.


Sorry to announce that Vikingar is closed until further notice. Everyone stay safe in these unprecedented times.


From Sun 1st March, Vikingar is open daily 11.30am - 1.30pm (last tour), however please call ahead during the week (Mon - Fri), as we are very busy with school groups. Just to be on the safe side if you do want to visit during the week, please aim for the 1.30 tour as the school groups will be finished by then.


Vikingar Visitors Centre re-opens tomorrow. First tour at 11.30 then every hour in the half hour, with the last at 2.30pm


After a well deserved winter break from raiding and pillaging last year, we are more than ready to charge back into battle. We reopen our doors on Sat 1st and Sun 2nd Feb. Come and meet the Vikings. Tours are 11.30am, 12.30, 1.30 and 2.30pm. (Only open at weekends in Feb).

This Saturday will be the last opportunity to visit the Viking centre before it closes for the winter. It will reopen th...

This Saturday will be the last opportunity to visit the Viking centre before it closes for the winter. It will reopen the first weekend of Feb 2020.


Have to share our good news. Today Visit Scotland tourist board upgraded us from 3 stars to 4!


Back to normal again. Open daily as usual. If you are going to visit mid week please phone ahead and double check times as we are busy with school groups again (who usually make their visits in the morning). 01475689777


Sorry for the inconvenience. Vikingar will be closed on Fri 20/9.


This week during the Viking festival, we are extremely busy with school trips, meaning that some days public tours are limited or not happening at all.
Today Thurs 5/9 There are no public tours.
Fri 6/9 the only public tours are at 1.30 and 2.30.
Normal service will resume from Sat 7/9, with tours from 10.30am then every hour on the half hour with the last one at 2.30pm.

Coincide your visit to Vikingar with the Viking Village during the Viking festival, Sat 31Aug - Sun 8th Sept. A great ed...

Coincide your visit to Vikingar with the Viking Village during the Viking festival, Sat 31Aug - Sun 8th Sept. A great educational experience for schools and public alike.

The living history 13th Century Viking Village is very educational and school visits during weekdays are particularly welcomed. School visits are normally in conjunction with a visit to Vikingar! and the award winning historical and action packed Viking Experience which is a short walk from the Village. To book a visit please contact Vikingar! on 01475 689777.


School trips to Vikingar are finished for this season, meaning there are no restictions to the tours and we are now fully open to the public. Tours start at 10.30 daily every hour on the half hour with the last at 2.30, until July when the last tour is at 3.30 (except at weekends, when in July the first tour Sat and Sun is at 11.30am). Hope to see you there 😊


We are very busy with school groups right up till the end of June. If you wish to visit during the week come later in the day, either 1.30 or 2.30 tours.
At weekend's, public tours are 10.30 - 2.30 every hour on the half hour.


This weekend's tours are 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30.


Public tours today at 1:30 and 2:30


There is a school group in this morning. Public tours will be at 1.30 & 2.30 today.


Tours this weekend 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30.


Tomorrow (Tues 23/4), tours are: 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 13.30 and 14,30.
Wed 24/4 and Thurs 25/4 we have school visits and the only public tour will be at 14.30.
Fri 26/4 public tours are at 13.30 and 14.30.


Tour times over the Easter break and throughout April, May and June are: 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 13.30 and 14.30. Lasting approx 45 minutes to an hour.


Tomorrow (17/4), is an extremely busy day with 3 schools coming to visit. Please note the only public tour will be at 2.30pm. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience.


Please be aware there is refurbishing work going on during the Easter holidays, however we can assure you that it will not lessen the experience in anyway. Thank you


What a great start to the new season, usually February is quite a quiet month but everyone is desperate to get their inner Viking out!
Now were into March we are very busy with school groups during the week and they take up the first 2 tours. So if you wish to come mid-week, the best time would be the 1:30pm tour, by then the mini Vikings will be finished.
At the weekend public tours are 11:30, 12:30 and 1:30. No need to book just pop in. Hope to see you there.

Thora the Red.


The visitors center will re-open their doors on Sat 2nd Feb. Tours will run every hour (on the half hour) from 11.30 - 2.30 Saturdays and Sundays during February.


This weekend is the last chance this year to visit us, as the attraction closes for the winter and does not reopen till February. Tours Sat and Sun (24&25th Nov) 11.30, 12.30, 1.30 and 2.30.


Last chance to visit the center before it closes for the winter break. Weekends only in November. Tours 11.30, 12.30, 13.30 and the last tour of the day 14.30

Largs Viking Festival

Largs Viking Festival

“Best Ever” Largs Viking Festival

Is it possible that this year's Largs Viking Festival was the best Viking Festival ever? The Festival ran for nine days, from 1st - 9th September and there were certainly record numbers, with visitors from all over the UK, Europe and further afield.

Alex Gallagher, Chair of the Viking Festival Board, said:

“I have been associated with the Festival for nine years. This is the best Festival in that time for attendance numbers, spectacular events, for the depth and breadth of the programme and for the unique family-friendly atmosphere that prevailed the whole time”.

“We were blessed with good weather this year which meant that all of our special events went ahead as planned, including a daredevil air display by Lauren Richardson and a truly breathtaking parachute jump by the Red Devils parachute team”.

Crowds were up on the rain-affected Festival of last year, with the Viking Festival of Fire entertaining a huge crowd for the torch-lit procession and fireworks on the second Saturday. Estimates put the crowd for the Festival of Fire at around 10,000, with an equivalent number on the Prom on the following day for the Red Devils.

Ray Young, Viking Festival Director estimated that total visitor numbers were, at a conservative estimate, in the region of 75,000 with tourists from every part of the UK and indeed every continent. Survey results were overwhelmingly positive and allowed us to estimate that the visitors spent around £450,000, a tremendous addition to the local economy at the end of the tourist season. This is a fantastic outcome for what was, a few years ago, a small local event.

The Patron of the Festival, Norwegian Professor Magnus Fladmark, is ill and his presence was hugely missed.

This year the Festival was officially opened by Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston.

A large vote of thanks is due to the Festival Board, who work tirelessly throughout the year to plan and deliver the Festival and without whom none of these things would take place. Special thanks are due to the people of Largs for turning out in such great numbers to support the Festival. We were especially delighted by the increased number of local groups joining the opening parade.It is the aim of the Festival Board to provide a Festival which is truly community based and which delivers for the local community. We believe that we have succeeded in that aim.

The Festival could not have happened this year without the financial support and in-kind support of North Ayrshire Council, MalinWaters, Magnox Socio-economic Scheme and a host of other contributors. We are also extremely grateful for the support of the Largs Community Resilience Team who kindly assisted throughout the Festival.

This list is not exhaustive and we regret our inability to thank all supporting groups and individuals, but it serves to illustrate how many local and national people and organisations come together to provide the Largs Viking Festival. The Board is now looking forward to similar success in 2019.


Largs Viking festival in full swing. With authentic Viking village and huge continental market. On till Sunday 9th September.

Largs Viking Festival

Only a week to go to the Festival opening day on 1 September.This year the re-enactment group Swords of Dalriada will be in the Viking Village with Viking traders from Germany, Poland, Sweden and Ireland. Come and see how the Vikings lived in our extended living history 13th Century Viking Village. Entry fee of £5 Adults, £2 children, students and Concessions (over 60s) with Under 5s FREE gives admission throughout the day of purchase. The Village opens at 11 a.m. every day with last admission at 4.30 pm. but will close for the Opening Parade on 1 September and for skirmishes.


40 Greenock Rd
KA30 8QL


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