Visitor numbers to The Royal Armouries at Leeds Dock surge by 16% in just one year
Visitor numbers to The Royal Armouries at Leeds Dock have surged by 16% in just one year.
The national museum of arms and armour received 120,000 visits in the first six months of the year - 16% more than the previous year and on course to exceed 240,000 for the first time since 2010-11.
Events including Special Monarchs weekends, sell-out international jousting events, new restaurants and cafes and an outdoor summer maze helped drive visitor numbers over the first half of the year.
Royal Armouries Director-General Dr Edward Impey said: “It has been an excellent year so far for our Leeds museum, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff and volunteers and of course our visitors.
"They are drawn by our fantastic collection and headline events, but we also offer live performances and combat demonstrations every single day free of charge, something we have worked tirelessly to develop and which is a central part of our USP.
"We have a packed schedule planned from now into 2020 which we feel really embodies the dynamic and creative approach we are striving for.”
Visitor numbers at the number one attraction in Leeds - according to TripAdvisor - were previously reported to have plummeted from 301,809 in 2014/15 to 193,254 in 2018/19.Dr Edward Impey, Director General and Master of the Armouries, said the museum experienced major reductions in funding through the 2000s - peaking in 2010/11 which lead to a drop of 21% in visitor numbers in just one year.
However, Dr Impey said following major recent investment by the treasury, the museum is expected to grow visitor numbers significantly year on year.
Dr Impey said: "The Royal Armouries experienced well documented major reductions in funding through the 2000s which in 2010-11 led to drastic changes in our signature live programme as interpretation and education staff were laid off, and a drop in visitor figures of 21% from 2010-11 to 2011-12.
"Since then visitor numbers have held steady at around 220,000 per year as we have stabilised and looked to rebuild our offering.
"We did see a drop in visitor numbers at our Leeds museum last year of approimately 10%, which was challenging, but as a largely indoor attraction we weren't alone in this, with factors including an exceptionally hot summer as well as the World Cup playing a part.
"Following major recent investment by HM Treasury and DCMS, we have now begun an exciting period of phased capital investment and programme renewal which we are confident will allow us to grow visitor numbers significantly year on year.
"We are already seeing a positive impact.
"Visitor numbers for 2019-20 are 17% up on last year, thanks in part to that investment, as well as our popular live programme of events and newly refurbished café (and this August we even have an a-maze-ing outdoor maze to ensure we have something for everyone no matter what the weather!)"
The Royal Armouries group of museums as a whole have seen year on year growth since 2016.
Figures for the Leeds site from March 2019, the latest available figures, also show an increase in visitors in the same month for the past three years.