Places to visit in Europe

The Royal Armouries Museum

The Royal Armouries Museum, an outstanding museum, was opened in Leeds in 1996, exhibiting a collection of weapons and armour famous throughout the world: that of the Tower of London. The Tower, however, was able to display barely 10% of all there was to show. Designed for visitors of all ages, the creation of the Leeds Royal Armouries means that most of the collection can now be seen.

The Royal Armouries Museum presents, war, hunting, self-defence, and tournaments, and covers 3,000 years of human development, from prehistoric times to today’s advanced technology. It is the first of its kind in Great Britain.

Each of the five galleries is a real Aladin’s cave filled with surprises. Visitors can see a Medieval tower and enter into the world of castles and sieges, then slip into an Edwardian arms room and listen to the incredible stories of the big-game hunters. But they can also climb up into the ring and have a boxing lesson, practice on the firing range and discover how crossbows and guns really work, and visit an eastern gymnasium to watch a martial arts demonstration.

Outside, by the water, the splendour of medieval tournaments can once again be seen on the first authentic jousting ring built in Great Britain for 400 years! You can watch a demonstration of hunting dogs, see falcons in flight, hear the thundering of horses’ hooves when they charge, and smell the gunpowder during a perfectly rehearsed military exercise. Nearby, in the menagerie yard, you can approach the birds of prey, dogs, and horses, talk to their keepers and learn how these animals are cared for and trained.

One thing is certain - visitors will never before have wanted to know so much about the Middle Ages!
Preparing for your visit

The Museum has an Educational Centre with teachers and an education team to take charge of the pupils. Visitors can hold real objects and replicas, watch the slide shows, try on the armour and handle the weapons. Museum staff show visitors of all ages that by looking carefully at the objects, sometimes by drawing them, and certainly by handling them, they can discover and learn whilst having fun at the same time.

Topics for preliminary study: how do people protect themselves in daily life? What do we protect, and how ? Topics for discussion during the visit: where does the idea of complete protection come from? How did people protect themselves in the past? After the visit: animals and protection. Defend oneself against what, and why? Teacher’s packs and pupil worksheets are available, of course.

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