And so, yesterday I set out to strike another place off my embarrassingly comprehensive list of ‘Leeds attractions’ I have not visited in my 6 years of living here:
* Ice skating on Millenium Square
* Royal Armouries
* Tropical World
* Lotherton Hall
* Temple Newsam House
* Abbey House Museum
* Golden Acre Park
* … I’m pretty certain there are others! – suggestions taken in ‘Comments’ below!
I set off into town around midday (I didn’t walk this time, but had every intention of walking home. Not that that happened either..!) and from Briggate I wandered down to Brewery Wharf and along the canal to The Royal Armouries.
I have walked this way before a few times, but like the proper Home Tourist I am, I got my camera out, and snapped the solitary swan who was enjoying his little swim on the water..
The Armouries are somewhere I have intended to go many times, but to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.. I guessed there would be weaponry and armour, and I’d heard about an elephant.. but other than that, I had no real expectations about what it was I was going to see.
Having approached the museum from the canal, I walked (slightly confused, if I’m honest) right round until I found the main entrance, and entered the atrium. A little more confusion followed as the ground floor is just a series of meeting rooms and event spaces, and I didn’t really know where I was heading. So I kept my eyes open, my headphones in and wandered towards some swords I could see..!
The museum is set over 5 floors and covers many aspects of battle and war. I started with Jousting, which was very interesting, and rather calm until a young school party came tearing down the room toward the interactive wall where I happened to situated. Thank goodness they weren’t all wielding lances!
After an hour and a half of wandering through means of violence and making sure I was covering every corner, I started to get that horrible sinking feeling that mankind wasn’t a particularly nice bunch really. But then I happened across the small exhibit (associated with the Bradford Peace Museum, I think..) where old arms were made into new art – including a chair made of guns. This made me feel much better, and, having learned about the origins of the Nobel Peace Prize, I set off in search of the fabled Elephant.
I found a little corner overlooking Clarence Dock where I learned about the museum itself, and then decided I was really hungry and so headed off to lunch at Pin Bar.
On my way, I got intrigued by a little reed-filled lock with a bridge just opposite Calls Landing, so I followed the path round, and found… it lead only to people’s flats. Disappointed, (though it was quite a pretty little wander) I admitted defeat and retraced my steps to rejoin Dock Street.
Having arrived just as the kitchen was closing at Pin, they very kindly served us lunch – including the long-awaited (and extremely kindly, free!) sticky toffee pudding. Which, I can confirm, is really good. Indeed – they do not lie on their twitter feed when they boast about it!
Rob and I chatted all through the post-lunch lull, and by the time I turned round to put on my coat, the place was filling up nicely. Off I skipped to the bus, for a quick change at home and then back in for the unbeatable fun that is Lindy Fridays. After some great dances, (and one or two where I was not so good – sorry Mike!) I jumped in the car and drove to Bradford to catch the end of a retro birthday party that my lovely friend Alicia was throwing (in part) for me.
I had missed the pizza, pass-the-parcel, and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. But I hadn’t missed the birthday cake (cake number 4! yey!) or the party bags. AMAZING!
All in all, I had an absolutely wonderful day, for which I am very grateful.
Please do suggest places you think I should visit below, and here is my favourite Armouries wall quote (second one down):
Great advice, indeed.