Top 8 accessible museums and historical sites in Leeds

Leeds is one of England’s more ancient cities, with a history stretching back to the Iron Ages. Today Leeds is host to several museums, historical sites and buildings.

It’s never too late to learn, and there’s always a chance to discover some new unexpected fact from the most unexpected places. Today we’re going to go through the more popular examples that the city holds.

Discover the city at Leeds City Museum

Found on the Millennium Square, the Leeds City Museum is the centre of all things historical in the city. Its collection includes pieces from across millions of years of history, whether it’s ancient fossils, Egyptian mummies, or pieces from Leeds’ own history. There are six galleries and a constantly adapting programme of activities, ensuring there’s always something new to see or do no matter how often you visit.

The building is fully accessible and provides additional materials for the visually and hearing impaired. Guide dogs are also welcome.

See the power at Leeds Industrial Museum

Back in the day, Leeds was one of Britain’s industrial centres, with its factories and workshops producing goods exported and enjoyed around the globe. Today this former factory is home to the Leeds Industrial Museum, which catalogues the history of the Industrial Revolution in the city. Many artefacts from this period are collected and preserved, with exhibits also documenting the newer history of Leeds’ media history.

Carers can enter the museum for free, and the facility is largely accessible to wheelchair users, blind, and deaf guests. Be aware, however, that exterior pavements vary in their material and include gravel, cobbles or flagstones. Guide dogs are welcomed, and disabled parking is offered directly outside the museum.

Prepare for battle at the Royal Armoury Museum

Sturdy armour, deadly weapons, and more are available to be seen at the Royal Armoury Museum on Armouries Drive. The museum is dedicated to arms and combat from across time and across the globe, with living history and historical combat experts on hand to explain each piece in detail. The armouries hold talks and demonstrations regularly, so be sure to see what will be on show next when you’re in town.

Disabled parking is provided in the coach area, and manual wheelchairs are available in the lobby. Comfort seating is also provided throughout the museum. Be aware, however, that there is limited access to the tiltyard where jousting is demonstrated. Ask staff if you should need assistance. Assistance dogs are welcome.

The centre of all things artistic within the city, the Leeds Art Gallery contains collections and pieces from artists across the world, both famous and overlooked. As well as the galleries, numerous events and programmes are also head frequently throughout the year to showcase the more creative side to Leeds.

With one exception, the building is fully accessible to wheelchair users. The only place where it isn’t is a pre-booked educational facility, but equal alternatives are offered. Induction loops and tactile displays are offered for the hearing and seeing impaired, and assistance dogs are welcomed. One wheelchair is available to borrow at the reception, if needed.

Enrich the body at the Thackery Medical Museum

Medicine has come a long way over the centuries, as the Thackery Medical Museum is keen to demonstrate. Showcasing how the practice evolved from the theory of four humours to the most modern and experimental of technologies today, there’s lots to do and see.

As of the time of writing, the museum is currently closed until June 2020 for refurbishment and improve access. But keep it on your radar should you ever visit next year.

Discover more at the Discovery Centre

Rounding things off with a little bit of everything, the Leeds Discovery Centre contains pieces and collections from across the spectrum of human knowledge. It has historical artefacts, stuffed animals, works of art, and much more besides. Tours of its storerooms, where pieces are not usually seen by the public, are offered frequently.

Guide dogs are permitted within the museum, and the facility is completely accessible to all its guests. Disabled parking is provided in two bays in front of the Centre.

Explore the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey

Once the site of a great Cistercian abbey founded in 1152, the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey are free for people to visit and enjoy today. Walk between the great stone pillars of its former buildings, or enjoy the tranquillity of its surrounding parkland. A museum and visitor centre are also accessible on site.

Some parts of the abbey can be uneven, so wheelchair users should take care. Likewise, being an open green space, dogs are welcome.

Be welcomed to Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam is a Tudor manor found not too far outside Leeds, just off the M1. As well as experiencing the history of the house itself, which includes historical artefacts and preserved paintings, the house also contains a working farm and extensive parkland. It offers a taste of the opulence of Early Modern aristocracy, and can easily take up an entire day.

While most of the house is accessible, there is no lift for either the cellars or the south wing. Electric and pushed wheelchairs, likewise, are not allowed. While dogs are only allowed in the gardens, working dogs are welcome in all sections. Every car park offers disabled spaces.

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