A family watch on as a woman in traditional dress demonstrating stitching at the Jorvik Viking Centre in York.

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Jorvik Viking Centre

Top choice in York

Interactive multimedia exhibits aimed at bringing history to life often achieve exactly the opposite, but the much-hyped Jorvik manages to pull it off with aplomb. It's a smells-and-all reconstruction of the Viking settlement unearthed here during excavations in the late 1970s, experienced via a 'time-car' monorail that transports you through 9th-century Jorvik (the Viking name for York). You can reduce time waiting in line by booking timed-entry tickets online; there is almost always a queue to get in.

While some of the 'you will now travel back in time' malarkey might seem a bit annoying, it's all done with a sense of humour tied to historical authenticity that will give you a pretty good idea of what life must have been like in Viking-era York. The museum exhibition at the end of the monorail includes items on loan from the British Museum. Look out for the Lloyds Bank coprolite, a fossilised human stool that measures an eye-watering 9in long and half a pound in weight, and might be the only turd in the world to have its own Wikipedia entry.

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