Head to the Royal Armouries in Leeds this May Bank Holiday and half-term (May 24 to June 1) for a free, fun-packed day out – including authentic gun shoot-outs, sword-fighting displays and combat demonstrations.

See authentic techniques as practised by King Henry VIII as he showcased his talents during the 16th century tournaments with a variety of weapons, including a poleaxe, two-handed sword, dagger and rapier.

The Leeds museum will also ring to the sound of “gunfire” during gun fight displays, aiming to dispel the myths of the Wild West shoot out.

The museum’s Visitor Experience Team will bring history to life, with a series of free daily talks and tours of the museum’s five galleries – War, Tournament, Oriental, Self-Defence, and Hunting. Visitors will have the chance to get up close and handle weapons and military equipment spanning several historic periods, with six free presentations a day.

Daily themes range from Second World War spies to the Battle of Agincourt, and Henry VIII to Trench warfare. Highlights include:

Introduction to Firearms – Learn how rifle technology has adapted to the challenges of the ever-changing battlefield, from the 17th century to modern times. This Introduction to Firearms talk and interactive handling session examines some of the most iconic firearms in history, from the Martini Henry to the self-loading rifle.

Visitor Experience Manager Rachael Bevan said, “A visit to the Royal Armouries in Leeds offers a great day out for all the family – whatever the weather. We aim to bring history to life in an exciting, informative and relevant way for visitors of all ages, and across a number of periods of history.”

Meanwhile, ‘big kids’ and wannabe hot shots can try their hand at archery in the Crossbow shooting gallery – open daily. Price: 8 bolts for £3. Height restriction: 122cm/4ft.

To keep younger visitors entertained there is Jester’s Yard – a special play area where children can transform themselves into knights and princesses, learn to juggle and even make their own swords, shields and crowns to take home. There’s also a soft play area for babies and toddlers, a storybook corner plus a mini crossbow range. Price: £2.50, suitable for under 10s.

Royal Armouries is home to the national collection of arms and armour.

Daily programmes vary throughout half-term and activities are subject to change – please contact the museum for more information or visit:
Royal Armouries website
Royal Armouries newsletter
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Notes to editors

Download the PDF press release.