The Vikings were a group of seafaring warriors who invaded and colonised many areas of Europe from the eighth to the 11th century. They travelled in longboats to regions where they could trade and raid, settling in places including Britain, Iceland and North America. Although the Vikings were called 'Danes' by the people of Britain, they originated from Norway and Sweden as well as Denmark. Their kings and warlords - including Svein Forkbeard, Edmund Ironside, Ivar the Boneless, Alfred the Great, Erik Bloodaxe and Edgar the Pacifier - are today known for their remarkable names and matching reputations. Find out everything you need to know about the Vikings here…
The Vikings developed a fearsome reputation for raiding and colonising throughout Europe. Some of them even became known, in legend, as Viking berserkers - fierce warriors who were said to have fought in a trance-like fury. But how much is known about the realities of Viking warfare? What weapons did the Vikings use? Who were their leaders? And did Viking women participate in fighting and raiding?

Viking Britain

Viking raids in Britain began towards the end of the eighth century. The first recorded raid by the Vikings took place in 793, when an armed group of raiders attacked a defenceless monastery on Lindisfarne, a tidal island off the northeast coast of England. By the end of the ninth century there were large-scale Scandinavian settlements in various parts of Britain. But what was Viking Britain really like?