A world of war crafts awaits at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds
By WILLIAM HOWARD | Stars and Stripes | Published: March 14, 2019
It’s easy to lose a day while immersed in the history of the world’s arms and armor at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England.
Even after two visits I was unable to see the 70,000 examples of weapons, armor, and artillery on display in five floors of galleries.
I learned about the history of hunting, ranging from simple spears to high-powered hunting rifles, in the hunting gallery.
I saw the progression of firearms in China, weapons from the Ming dynasty and several sets of samurai armor in the Oriental gallery.
The Self-Defense gallery explored the history of personal protection from the middle-ages to modern day. The “vampire killing kit” included a mallet and stakes, crucifix, rosary beads, Book of Common Prayer, garlic paste and bottles, percussion pocket pistol and bullet mold.
From jousting to foot combat, the Tournament gallery showed how warfare training evolved into a significant social and political event. British King Henry VIII’s combat armor, horned helmet and weathered jousting lances are on display next to Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I’s jousting armor.
My personal favorite, the War gallery, highlights the weapons and defenses utilized from ancient Greece to the 20th century. Weaponry and model displays go into great detail about some of the most epic confrontations in British history like the Battle of Agincourt and Battle of Waterloo.
The museum also hosts daily exhibitions and live demonstrations in each gallery.
The upcoming Wars of the Roses living history event on April 6-7 will let you experience life in a battlefield encampment, fire a bow and watch battles from the bloody conflict free of charge.
The Royal Armouries Museum also has its own jousting arena and is scheduled to host an international tournament, with teams of knights from the UK, Poland, USA and Canada, on April 19-22. The event sold out last year and tickets must be booked in advance. They range in price from 10.50 to 14.50 pounds ($13.79 to $19.05).
I hope to see the tournament shows, knight-arming demonstrations and sword combat. But I must first devise a strategy how to convince my spouse to attend.
Royal Armouries Museum
Address: Armouries Dr, Leeds LS10 1LT
It’s about a three-hour drive from RAF Mildenhall and there’s a large paid parking lot next to the museum. From RAF Mildenhall, take A11 and Newmarket Bypass to A14 in Cambridgeshire, follow A14 and take the A1(M) to A61 in Leeds, and then follow Clarence Rd to Armouries Dr.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Food: There’s a large cafe near the entrance for lunch, snacks available on each floor and a couple of restaurants just outside of the museum.
Phone: +44 (0) 113 220 1999