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Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds: Looking up the main stairwell
Horse armour in Leeds

The Royal Armouries Museum is a national museum in Leedsmarker, West Yorkshire, Englandmarker. It is located in Clarence Dockmarker and was opened in 1996 to display items belonging to the Royal Armouries collection. The collection is an overflow of that held for many years in the Tower of Londonmarker. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Like all UKmarker National Museums, entry is free, though certain attractions in any given UK National Museum may still be charged for as an extra to the main exhibits.

The Museum incorporates the traditional glass cabinets with live presentations throughout the day. The interpretations vary throughout the year and a list of the daily interpretations can be obtained on entry.


The museum is housed in a new building designed by Derek Walker and Buro Happold and built by Alfred McAlpine.


The rear of the museum.
Situated close to the city centre on the bank of the River Airemarker the museum is among many buildings built in the same era that saw a rejuvenation of the Leeds waterfront. It is located on Armouries Square, in Clarence Dockmarker. Road access is by Armouries Drive and Chadwick Street. Clarence Dock for the Royal Armouries is served by First line 28. Originally the museum had its own car park, however this has been paved into a square following the redevelopment of Clarence Dock. There is a large multi-storey car park adjacent to the museum. There is also a new footbridge, facilitating pedestrians coming from the city centremarker. The museum can be easily accessed from the M621. Clarence Dock was to be connected by the Leeds Supertram until the schemes cancellation, however it may yet be connected by the Leeds Trolleybus


Main building

The museum is divided into six galleries in the main building:


With displays dedicated to:

Peace - farewell to arms?

A new feature in partnership with the Peace Museum in nearby Bradfordmarker.


With displays dedicated to:
  • Hunting through the ages
  • Hunting as sport


With displays dedicated to:


There are two large galleries showing a variety of arms and armour from the days of jousting.

Self defence

With displays dedicated to:
  • Arms and armour as art
  • The armed civilian


Outside there is a courtyard featuring:

Craft court

A number of workshops where the trades and skills of armourers, armoursmiths and leatherworkers can be seen.


Equestrian display in the Tiltyard
Undoubtedly the most popular attraction of the Museum. There is an entrance fee for some performances in the Tiltyard.

There are twice daily displays of falconry involving several different birds of prey. The falconer always introduces the birds he is displaying by name on the day. The history of Falconry is explained as are the natural habitat and habits of the bird. Some audience participation is encouraged, especially when the Falconer asks the audience to put away any food in case the large birds are hungry.

There are also daily displays of horsemanship through the years. Different displays are seasonal and include the art of hunting by horseback in the Tudor Times and Medieval Jousting.

Easter is the height of the Jousting calendar when the Tiltyard hosts a four day international competition between four jousting teams, one being the home team drawn from the cast of Interpreters. The four teams compete from Good Friday to Easter Sunday against each other with the tournament final on Easter Monday. The winning combatant is awarded the Sword of Honour at the end of the competition.


The horses and birds of the museum are available to be seen in the menagerie but not handled. The handlers are sometimes on hand to speak about the daily care of the animals.


The flags flown by the canal at the Royal Armouries are the:


  1. Architectural review
  2. National Audit Office Report on the Royal Armouries museum: paragraph 1.26
  3. Flags flown by the canal

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