HUNDREDS of people turned out to Knutsford Heritage Centre at the weekend to celebrate its Big Viking event.

The festivities, which attracted ‘record numbers’ to the centre, were opened on Saturday morning by Knutsford’s new town mayor, Cllr Jan Nicholson.

Commemorating King Canute’s Millennial, the heritage centre hosted two days of Viking-related activities and there was a Father's Day table football tournament put on by neighbouring restaurant, Jack Rabbits.

Val Bryant, Knutsford Heritage Centre director and trustee, said: “Interest in the Big Viking Weekend and the activities we put on was such that the centre literally reached capacity. We attracted close to four hundred people over the two days, chiefly in family groups.

“All in all, it was a record weekend, in terms of both overall visitor numbers and gift shop sales. The centre was buzzing from top to bottom.

Cllr Nicholson, accompanied by her consort and avid heritage centre supporter, Cllr Christine Gray, was presented with a specially struck silver commemorative coin which replicates the style in circulation during the reign of King Canute.

The coin was struck by Viking and medieval educator and re-enactor Russ Scott. It is inscribed with the word ‘Cunetesford’, the town’s name as it was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

“We were specially honoured by Russ creating the special commemorative coin,” added Val. “It was a complete surprise. We knew he’d be striking coins in the way they were made in medieval times, but until Russ arrived he kept it secret that one side would bear the inscription.

Activities over the two days included presentations by Russ and his wife Liz of Traders, Invaders and Raiders, demonstrating how the Vikings lived and fought.

He also struck coins, which visitors were able to buy.

Children enjoyed dressing up in Viking costume, face painting, making Viking models in Lego and making decorative shields.

Knutsford’s Real Fruit Creamery, located in Malt Street, created a salted liquorice flavour ice cream for the occasion, which is a popular delicacy in Denmark.

Val said: “Our object was to stage an event for families. The response was hugely gratifying. Indeed, the success of the weekend in boosting visitor numbers is such that it has given us ideas for organising themed events in future for children and their parents.”