The Royal Armouries Leeds is located at Clarence dock, alongside the River Aire. It displays a large portion of the United Kingdom’s collection of armour and includes items from the present day as well as previous ages, including artifacts from the English civil war, and royal armours belonging to Tudor and Stuart kings. As well as armour, it hosts a collection of fine art, and a special collection dedicated to the Tower of London.
Walking around the exhibits was awkward and the displays seemed incoherent, with very little guidance as to where to start and it was difficult to see how some displays were related to the next one, with each gallery seeming to end rather abruptly. There was very little to experience ‘hands-on’ in the museum which I think let it down slightly. There lots to see but not enough to do. I felt the museum was geared more towards arms enthusiasts with a deep understanding of armoury, rather than those with a casual interest, or those looking for something to do for a day out. It really didn’t feel like the kind of place you’d take your family for a day out, I think a lot of people would get bored with seeing too much of the same thing and they wouldn’t appreciate the artifacts.
The most interesting aspect of the actual building housing the armouries is the glass tower containing a spiraling staircase displaying a variety of spears and swords on both sides of the walls, so that artifacts are visible to people inside the building and outside it. Oddly enough however, it somewhat resembles a watchtower and puts me in mind of a prison. One clever feature I really did like was the benches outside. They were black marble and bordered with the names of different armours and weapons quite stylishly. It also included the word 'brigandine' which is one of my favourites.