Before 1996, much of this national collection was in storage at the Tower of London with only a small fraction open to the public. This museum alongside the River Aire in Leeds has made available a greater portion of the collection for the public, which is said to have been started by Henry VIII. The collection also incorporates several other important weapons collections.
The arms and armor on display are dominated by British-produced items, but there is a large contribution from other European countries and other nations. There are galleries entirely devoted to self-defense weapons and another dedicated to hunting weaponry.
Next to the museum is an arena with a traditional tiltyard, where jousting exhibitions and other horse-based military displays are regularly held. The museum also has sites at the Tower of London and Fort Nelson near Portsmouth.
Know Before You Go
Admission is free. The nearest parking can be found at Clarence Dock, but cheaper locations are available nearby.
It is less than a 20-minute walk from the center of town. Highly recommended taking the pedestrian path along the River Aire. Less mechanized traffic and more scenic.