Royal Armouries Museum Review

Finally! we made it to the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds. We keep meaning to go but we never seem to make it. I think driving into Leeds was putting us off but it’s super easy to get to for us from the M1. We all really enjoyed our visit and we’d certainly return. Plus it’s FREE which is always a bonus.

Royal Armouries Museum Things To Do

As mentioned above the Royal Armouries was quite easy to get to for us by car. There is also a large multi-storey car park very close to the museum. We were there for 4 hours which cost us £6.50, which I didn’t mind paying as the museum is free.

The Royal Armouries is situated on the waterfront in the centre of Leeds, West Yorkshire. The lift and stairs area enjoy some of the best views of the canals and the barges. There is also a water taxi that departs from outside the museum and takes you to the main shopping area for just £1 per person each way (it used to be free!).

We started our visit with a drink in the cafe. It’s not massive but it has a nice view and there is a huge shop next to it. Then we headed for the stairs and the incredibly impressive Hall of Steel. You can take the lift up but we chose to use the stairs to go up as they enjoy glimpses of all the weapons and armour. Its true impressiveness comes by standing right at the bottom of it.

Royal Armouries Museum Review

The Royal Armouries has five galleries over a number of floors. We were there for 2.5 hours and we only missed out on floor 3. The museum is home to the UK’s national collection of arms and armour. They have over 4,5000 objects on display and they cover the history and culture of armour and weapons through history.

If you take the lift you can easily choose which floor you want to visit first. As we were walking up we started on the 1st floor and made our way up and started in the War Gallery.

There were some really impressive displays in here. As well as all the armour and weapons they also had some large displays that brought history to life.

Royal Armouries Museum Review
Royal Armouries Museum Review

We also found a few interactive exhibits. The large battle scene below was really intriguing. All around it, there are glass windows that you look through and parts of the scene are reflected using mirrors. They highlight the key stages of the battle so you understand what is happening. It was really well done.

Royal Armouries Museum Review

On the same floor, there is also the Tournament gallery. This is where they have live-action combat demonstrations regularly every day. If you listen out for the tannoys they announce where the next demonstrations will be taking place. It is a bit difficult to hear but we managed to work it out for the display here. It was very good and worth watching.

Royal Armouries Museum

Next, we headed up to the Oriental Gallery. The armour in here was much more lavish but at the same time felt totally impractical and mostly for display rather than protection. There is some rather amusing head armour in here.

Royal Armouries Museum Review

There is also a full-size replica of an elephant that is wearing the most complete set of armour. Elephants were used a lot in battle in Asia.

Royal Armouries Museum Review

Next to this gallery, there is the Self-defence gallery. My son found this really interesting especially looking at all the different types and sizes of guns. They also have some weapons from movies in this area including Aliens and Star Wars.

We then went up a floor to the Hunting Gallery. We liked how they’d displayed many of their items here especially in the recreated gun room.

Royal Armouries Museum

There was then a floor above with little to see but there were some interesting displays from the Hunting gallery that you could only see from above. You also get a good view of the Oriental gallery.

Royal Armouries Museum

As well as daily demonstrations inside the museum they also have a Tiltyard where visitors can experience live displays of military and sporting skill-at-arms. These include jousting, archery, falconry and horse shows. These usually take place in the summer.

The museum also holds a number of annual events. It is worth visiting their website before you plan to visit to see what events may be on. Another bonus is that there are some restaurants very close to the museum. We had a lovely meal at Pizza Express.

Royal Armouries FAQ & Further Information

Address: Armouries Dr, Leeds LS10 1LT, West Yorkshire. Phone: 0113 220 1916

Category: Museum – Indoors – Suitable for all ages

What are the ticket prices?

FREE – the museum and even the event days are free to visit.

What are the main facilities and things to do?

Large museum across a number of floors which is home to the biggest collection of arms and armour in the UK. There is a cafe and plenty of toilets.

When are they open?

The Royal Armouries Leeds is open almost all year round. Please visit their website for up-to-date opening times.

Is there food available?

There is a cafe serving hot and cold food and drinks.

Is there parking?

There is parking nearby, charges apply.

Are they dog friendly?

Only assistance dogs are permitted.

Are they accessible?

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