Burning longship among highlights of Viking festival

Fierce battles and a burning longship on the beach gave visitors a glimpse of what life might have been like in Viking Hemsby at the weekend.

It was the second year the village, near Great Yarmouth, has hosted its two-day Viking festival and many people braved the damp weather to visit and find out more about the area's historic Danish links.

Re-enactment group the Vikings of Middle England set up their living history tented encampment, which portrays a Viking settlement that has just landed on the Norfolk Coast having sailed over from Denmark.

The group, who come from Leicester, gave dramatic battle displays and provided an insight into daily life for the invaders with costumed characters taking part in activities such as weapons demonstrations, cooking, and even how grisly Viking surgery and dentistry was performed.

There was a reconstruction of the 'Battle of Hemsby,' a fight that is believed to have taken place between settlers in the Hemsby and Somerton areas around the time that the Vikings were settling in England.

Also on display was a full-size working replica trebuchet, a type of catapult that was used in battle in the Middle Ages, and visitors were able to try their hand at archery.

James Gray, one of the organisers of the festival, said: 'It is a great family event and there really is something for everyone. The Viking surgery is always popular as it is very gruesome and the kids and even the adults love it.'

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