Royal Armouries exterior, Leeds Dock

©Lorna Parkes/Lonely Planet

Royal Armouries

Top choice in Leeds

Leeds' most interesting museum was originally built in 1996 to house armour and weapons from the Tower of London, but subsequently expanded to cover 3000 years of combat and self-defence, becoming home to the national collections. The exhibits are as varied as they are fascinating, covering subjects such as jousting, fencing and Indian elephant armour. To get here, walk east along the river from Centenary Footbridge (approx 10 minutes), or take the free boat from Granary Wharf outside Leeds train station's southern entrance.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Leeds attractions

1. Tetley

0.29 MILES

Tetley Brewery's defunct 1930s offices have been converted into a contemporary-arts venue with a restaurant and pub on the ground floor, spilling out onto…

2. Thornton's Arcade

0.62 MILES

Though not the grandest, Thornton’s Arcade was the first Victorian shopping arcade to be built in Leeds and remains one of the most interesting. Its sky…

3. Henry Moore Institute

0.82 MILES

Housed in a converted Victorian warehouse in the city centre, this gallery showcases the work of 20th-century sculptors, but not, despite the name,…

4. Leeds Art Gallery

0.85 MILES

This major gallery is packed with 19th- and 20th-century British heavyweights – Turner, Constable, Stanley Spencer, Wyndham Lewis et al – along with…

5. Leeds Industrial Museum

2.13 MILES

One of the world's largest textile mills has been transformed into a museum telling the story of Leeds' industrial past, both glorious and ignominious…

6. Kirkstall Abbey

3.64 MILES

Leeds' most impressive medieval structure is beautiful Kirkstall Abbey, founded in 1152 by Cistercian monks from Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. These…

7. Abbey House Museum

3.71 MILES

The Abbey House Museum, once the Great Gate House to Kirkstall Abbey, contains meticulously reconstructed shops and houses that evoke Victorian Leeds,…

8. Hepworth Wakefield


West Yorkshire's standing in the international arts scene got a boost in 2011 when the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was joined by this award-winning gallery…