Fascinating free museum with almost 700,000 war-related artefacts on display. It regularly features talks, as well as events such as jousting and movie nights.
If you ever needed a fascinating but damning reminder of mankind’s propensity for war, look no further than Leeds’ Royal Armouries. The huge museum in the Clarence Dock area of the city is contemporary in its presentation of exhibits, and hands-on (well, as much as it can be with objects that are designed to maim, kill and obliterate). You won’t need a strong interest in history to find the Armouries captivating and enjoyable, or to be bowled over by the 70,000 artefacts on display.
A globally diverse collection of arms, armour and artillery dates from antiquity to the present day, and includes royal armour for kings and horses with swords and helmets through the centuries, before charting the invention and rapid evolution of guns as we know them today. Bullets, uniforms, knives, chainmail, pistols and cannons are meticulously laid out in immersive exhibitions alongside painted portraits and drawings depicting war or those involved in it.
The museum is free to wander but tickets need to be bought for the Armouries’ regular, popular and topical lectures, ‘Hands on History’ seminars or curators’ talks. There are fun extra events laid on all year round, such as jousting, movie nights, themed suppers, and Sunday gun-firings.
It’s advisable to leave at least two hours for a full visit, including time for a stop at the gift shop to browse the toys, replica armour books and gadgets (even if you’re not accompanied by the kids). The bistro, coffee shop and picnic area offer plenty of opportunities to refuel during the day.
|Venue name:||Royal Armouries|
|Opening hours:||Daily 10am-5pm (last admission 4.30pm)|