Royal Armouries, Leeds.
As part of a bonanza weekend of birthdays in the family I had the pleasure of visiting The Royal Armouries in Leeds this weekend. It creeps me out in a multitude of ways, the Japanese exhibits give me nightmares, the living memory actors make me more uncomfortable than when people sing a capella on TV without being asked and the fact that they let anyone use a crossbow baffles me, however, I begrudgingly admit that it is interesting, in parts.
Parking is multi storey Citi Parks a short walk away from the museum. We didn’t have any trouble finding an appropriate space, they were if anything abundant, although not specifically parent/child.
While Daddy and Pops looked willingly at the miniature battle of Waterloo I couldn’t help but notice a distinct lack of pushchairs and babies. It’s flat, quiet, free, they even have a kids play area. So where are they? Turns out that flooding has cause quite a bit of damage to the building on the upper level, home of the ‘Jester’s Court’ play area and crossbow shooting. Currently accessible only by stairs. The kids play area said ‘Open daily 10.30 until 4.30’, it was closed at 2pm on a Sunday.
I noticed a sign requesting that nappies not be changed in the play area but on a lower level in the designated changing room. (Picture mother dragging insistent toddler up the staircase to play only to find smaller sibling requires nappy change and the entire trip becoming increasingly stressful). It seemed a bit short sighted. Unfortunately said changing area on level 4 was particularly dirty, surely you’d make it worth using if you were directing people to it? They had a fitted mat with harness, the wadding of the mat was coming out and the edges needed a good scrub. There was also a seat mounted to the wall with a harness this also looked like it needed a wash. A chair, presumably to get in the way, and an empty Lucozade bottle on the floor. I was surprised at how ill thought out the place was for babies, given how brilliantly thought out it is for children, lots of the exhibits have games and videos.
The cafe is there, it’s overpriced, we didn’t need a high chair but I didn’t see one so it’s a good job, and after viewing the changing facilities I didn’t have much hope anyway. It’s obviously not aimed at babies, it’s an historical archive of weapons and unless you’re training the next generation for some time machine induced historical recount, they probably don’t have a place there.
Child friendly by all means, baby tolerant at best.