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Entrance to the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The museum was opened in 1996 and displays England's National Collection of Arms and Armor.
Entrance to the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The museum was opened in 1996 and displays England's National Collection of Arms and Armor. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
Entrance to the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The museum was opened in 1996 and displays England's National Collection of Arms and Armor.
Entrance to the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The museum was opened in 1996 and displays England's National Collection of Arms and Armor. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
The Hall of Steel located inside the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The architectural centerpiece displays 2,700 pieces of military equipment from the 17th- and 19th-century.
The Hall of Steel located inside the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The architectural centerpiece displays 2,700 pieces of military equipment from the 17th- and 19th-century. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
A pair of English flintlock pistols on display in the Hunting gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. They were designed in a French style by Huguenot maker Pierre Monlong, who moved to London in 1684.
A pair of English flintlock pistols on display in the Hunting gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. They were designed in a French style by Huguenot maker Pierre Monlong, who moved to London in 1684. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
An Armat M41A Pulse Rifle on display in the Self-Defense gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The iconic sci-fi weapon was designed by director James Cameron for his classic 1986 film "Aliens."
An Armat M41A Pulse Rifle on display in the Self-Defense gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The iconic sci-fi weapon was designed by director James Cameron for his classic 1986 film "Aliens." (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
Samurai armor from the 18th century on display in the Self-Defense gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. During the second half of the 18th century, it became fashionable for Japanese nobles to have armor made in ancient styles.
Samurai armor from the 18th century on display in the Self-Defense gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. During the second half of the 18th century, it became fashionable for Japanese nobles to have armor made in ancient styles. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
A scaled model of the decisive Battle of Agincourt in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The English and Welsh victory against an overwhelming force of French troops in 1415 essentially ended the Hundred Years War.
A scaled model of the decisive Battle of Agincourt in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The English and Welsh victory against an overwhelming force of French troops in 1415 essentially ended the Hundred Years War. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
North Italian knight and calvary armor from about 1570 on display in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. Full horse armor was mostly used for parades instead of battles toward the end of the 16th century.
North Italian knight and calvary armor from about 1570 on display in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. Full horse armor was mostly used for parades instead of battles toward the end of the 16th century. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
A partial set of Italian Milanese armor from the late 15th century on display in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. This type of armor was made in Italy for export to Germany and western Europe.
A partial set of Italian Milanese armor from the late 15th century on display in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. This type of armor was made in Italy for export to Germany and western Europe. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
A British Mark VI revolver with a Greener bayonet from about 1917 on display in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The bayonet wasn't officially issued, but was sold as an addition to the revolver for trench raiding parties in the World War I.
A British Mark VI revolver with a Greener bayonet from about 1917 on display in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The bayonet wasn't officially issued, but was sold as an addition to the revolver for trench raiding parties in the World War I. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)
A German Mauser C96 "Broomhandle" from about 1899 on display in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The automatic pistol had a magazine capacity of 10 rounds and a range of more than 500 meters.
A German Mauser C96 "Broomhandle" from about 1899 on display in the War gallery at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England. The automatic pistol had a magazine capacity of 10 rounds and a range of more than 500 meters. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

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.

howard.william@stripes.com Twitter @Howard_stripes

Royal Armouries MuseumAddress: 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.Admission: FreeFood: 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 1999Website:royalarmouries.org

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