Anglo Saxon and Viking School Trips
Life in the Dark Ages
Following the departure of the Romans and before the arrival of the Normans, our island was attacked, settled and attacked some more by numerous tribes from North Western Europe. School children will likely know the Anglo Saxons as being our long ago ancestors and the Vikings as being their pesky neighbours, but the reality is rather more complicated.
Learning about the Saxons and the Vikings for a school topic can be greatly enhanced by a visit to, or from, some of the truly enlightening museums and living history exhibits that specialise in information and resources from this fascinating period of our history. Scroll down for a quick overview of the Anglo Saxon and Viking periods and to find our school trip recommendations for places to visit to bring the subject to life.
The Dark Ages
Following the demise of the Roman period in Britain, the country gradually splintered into tribal areas. With no central control, the country was a patchwork of administrative centres, clinging to forms of political structure. Boundaries were fast moving as warrior tribes from the continent arrived to settle. They expanded their territory and established small kindgdoms in order to control the local population, land and trade. The period lasted from around 450AD until the arrival of the Normans in 1066, and is known as the Dark Ages as society did not really progress from where it had been during the Roman period and record keeping declined, so there isn't as much information about daily life as we would expect. There was plenty going on in the Dark Ages, but some historians see it as a time where Britain was, for various reasons, treading water.
The Saxons (the name for the Angles, Saxons and Jutes of Germanic Europe) landed in the South East of Britain, before spreading north and west. As well as warriors, they were farmers and settlers and quickly established one of the earliest European legal codes, which sought to bring order to the British lands that they now controlled.
By 800, a new group of invaders were viewing Britain as a useful asset and began to raid and later settle. These were the Danes, Vikings or Norsemen from Scandinavia. The Viking raids were so successful that their power and influence almost completely took over from the Saxons and large swathes of the country were under the control of the Danelaw. It was not until 1066 with the arrival of the Normans that the Viking influence eventually ceased.