Days out in Yorkshire: Royal Armouries, Leeds

Henry Yallop handles a two-handed sword, probably German from circa 1400 at the Royal Artmouries in Leeds. PIC: Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian

Henry Yallop handles a two-handed sword, probably German from circa 1400 at the Royal Artmouries in Leeds. PIC: Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian

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IF you see Gandalf this winter, tell that wizard we know where his sword is – but he can’t have it back.

That’s because it, along with a handful of others from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, are on display at the magnificent Royal Armouries in Leeds. And that’s just the tip of their warcraft exhibits.

Set across five floors, the national collection of arms and armour tracks the history, craft, magic and links to sport that these artefacts have had – and still do now.

Armoured elephants, warhorses and even a rhino help bring history to life and show how animals were part and parcel of an army as well as sport for hunters.

After an initial stand-off, our daughter Liv fell in love with the rhino and the several knights in armour on show, who she dubbed Mike of course.

The war room is excellent, giant images and interactive displays provoking thoughts on how to settle war and achieve peace.

The tournament gallery is particularly impressive with shining armour, lances and swords alongside stunning helmets sporting moustaches and horns to name a few.

If you fancy testing your eye and aim, there’s even a crossbow gallery at the top of the building for budding bulls eyes.

Given the prominence of swords and steel in hit series like Game of Thrones and of course the forthcoming second installation of The Hobbit trilogy, now is a great time to visit.

And come summer, you can grab a ticket to see a real joust.

There are also regular and enthralling special lectures and events on topics like vampire hunting and gangsters. Epic.

FACTFILE

Prices: Free

Opening Times: 10am to 5pm

Address: New Dock, Leeds

Car Parking: Paid for nearby

Attraction Website: www.royalarmouries.org

Telephone: 0113 220 1999

For more days out see: www.yorkshire.com

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