10th July 2009 at 01:00

During term time, schools from as far away as Gretna travel to the Ayrshire coast to experience the Vikingar! visitor attraction in Largs, scene of the battle between the Vikings and the Scots in 1263. In the summer, "civilians" have the unique edutainment facility to themselves.

Opened some 15 years ago, within a redeveloped 1930s arts and leisure centre (it also features a theatre and swimming pool), Vikingar! looks pretty unpromising on the outside but the high-quality exhibition about the Vikings in Scotland is well worth a visit.

The experience begins in a recreated Viking long house, where a costumed guide invites visitors to take a seat on wooden benches covered in animal skins which, at night, would have served as beds for the adults. Here, you learn about Viking life - what they ate and drank, and how they seemed to spend most of their time fighting. Visitors can try their hand at grinding grain for flour; use the wooden paddles that turned dough into flat bread and find out how difficult it is to wield a sword and shield while wearing a helmet and chain mail.

In a second dimly-lit long house, lined with hand-carved wooden panels, the great Norse god Odin greets visitors from a movie screen (in a scene reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz) to deliver a brief history of Viking beliefs. Then it's on to the comfortable Vikingar! cinema for a rather gory 20-minute film about Scotland's Viking history, followed by a look around the final part of the experience - the Viking Hall of Knowledge, which offers a mix of information in a variety of forms designed to appeal to all ages.


T 01475 689777.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today