The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, is a national museum which displays the National Collection of Arms and Armour. It is part of the Royal Armouries family of museums, the other sites being the Tower of London, its traditional home, Fort Nelson, Hampshire, for the display of its National Collection of Artillery, and permanent galleries within the Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. There are a number of different galleries and ares to peruse. The War gallery is on the second and third floor of the Royal Armouries museum. It presents the development of weapons and the art of warfare from early history to World War II and beyond. Farewell to Arms? has been created in conjunction with The Peace Museum, Bradford. It focuses on the idea of CONVERSION: from war to peace; from weapons and armour to useful tools or symbolic images. The display explores the positive changes that have been – and are still being – made by individuals, groups and whole nations that choose to replace conflict with peace. The Tournament Gallery introduces the contests in which knights once competed, and shows some of their fearsome weapons and special armours. Visitors will also discover some important historical characters.
The Oriental gallery concentrates upon the great civilisations of Asia, and its purpose is to show how arms and armour can provide a key to understanding Asian history. The cultures of Asia are far more diverse than those of Europe, and the gallery is divided into a number of distinct zones: Central Asia, Turkey, Persia, Islam, Indian sub-continent, China, Japan and South East Asia. There is one theme that unites all these diverse cultures and has dominated the way in which war was waged in most of them until the 19th century: the use of the mounted archer. Many objects in the Royal Armouries collection have a social relevance today. Perhaps none more so than those in the Self-Defence gallery. The Hunting gallery presents the history and evolution of hunting, from prehistoric times to present day Olympic sports. The Hall of Steel is the architectural centrepiece of the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds. The elegant steel and glass tower can be seen from every floor, from where it offers views of Leeds, Clarence Dock and the Aire/Calder navigation canal. The displays around and inside the stairwell consist of mainly 17th century armour and 19th century military equipment. There are over 2,500 objects and they represent the largest mass display of arms and armour since the 19th century. At the base of the stair is an area filled with mortars and cannon around the walls.
Running alongside the River Aire for 150 metres, with seating on the landward side, is the Tiltyard. Here, weather permitting, they put on exhibitions of military and sporting skill at arms, including jousting. Though they no longer have their own horses, they still host two important jousting contests each year with competitors from all over the world. Five heroic swords based on weapons used in the epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, as well as Thorin Oakenshield’s sword Orcrist from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, are on display at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Originally exhibited as part of The Swords of Middle Earth event in 2013, they are now on permanent display on the fourth floor. There is a drop-off point near to the Museum entrance, which is located 100 metres away, across a level paved area. There are automatic doors which lead into the Museum, with an accessible adapted toilet facility on your right. At the far end of the entrance hall is the Information Desk where you will be greeted by a member of the Front of House team ready to help with any requests. There are four manual wheelchairs in the Museum and these are available for the duration of your visit. These are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Visitors are permitted to use their motorised scooters within the Museum and access to all galleries can be gained via the lifts. Each gallery has a number of portable folding seats for use by visitors who find standing difficult.There are accessible adapted toilet facilities at the main entrance to the Museum on the right side, and on floors 1 and 4. There are also accessible adapted toilet facilities in the Nelson Bistro which is located on the ground floor to the left of the entrance. There are also baby-changing facilities available.
Location : Armouries Drive, Leeds LS10 1LT
Transport: Leeds (National Rail) 0.6 miles. Bus Routes : Geldard Coaches – 28B, Yorkshire Tiger – 92 and First Leeds – 70, 28 stop outside.
Opening Times : Daily - 10:00 to 17:00.
Tickets : Free.
Tel: 0113 220 1999