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Royal Armouries Museum

The Vikings are coming!

The adventures of Harald Hardrada
25th September

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Back in September 1066, Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, attempted to claim the English throne by invading northern England with an army of 10,000 men and 300 longships. Although initially successful in his quest, Harald was killed in a surprise attack by Harold Godwinson’s forces at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066, which wiped out almost his entire army. Harald’s death is considered by many historians as the end of the Viking age and a prelude to the Norman conquest of England.

To mark the 955th anniversary of Harald’s death we are delighted to have teamed up with experts from the History and Games Lab at Edinburgh University to bring you a day packed full of Viking history. 

History & Games Lab at Edinburgh University are releasing a brand-new wargame – Lion Rampant: A Viking in the Sun. The Mediterranean Adventures of Harald Hardrada.

This miniature wargame is inspired by international research into Harald’s formative years as a commander in missions in Upper Mesopotamia, Palestine, the Aegean Sea, Southern Italy and the Balkans.

Meet members of the team and find out about the process of turning history into a wargame, watch it being played and have a go yourself. Plus see a short animation inspired by Harald Hardrada’s exile from Norway to Byzantium.

Throughout this Viking-themed weekend, history will be brought to life by the Royal Armouries Live Interpretation Team in thrilling live combat demonstrations and engaging character-led performances based on Harald’s life and adventures.  


Book your Viking visit now 
To help us manage visitor numbers please pre-book your visit on 25 September. Museum admission is FREE. You will need to book an arrival time but once in the museum you can stay as long as you wish. 

To find out more and see discussion of the work in progress, visit the History & Games Lab Facebook page.

Programme changes and cancellations
Please be aware that due to the continued impact of COVID-19, our staff team may have to self-isolate at short notice. Unfortunately, this may affect our ability keep the museum fully open and to deliver our live events programme. We will only close the museum as a last resort if we cannot open safely. All updates will be communicated on our Facebook and Twitter pages as well as here on our website.