The Royal Armouries is the United Kingdom’s national museum of arms and armour, and one of the most important museums of its type in the world. Its origins lie in the Middle Ages: its celebrated core collection originating in the nation’s working arsenal, assembled over many centuries at the Tower of London. In the reign of Elizabeth I, selected items began to be arranged for display to visitors, making the Royal Armouries heir to one of the oldest deliberately created visitor attractions in the country.
The Royal Armouries was established in its present form by the National Heritage Act (1983) and is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with additional funding raised through other commercial activities. It operates on three UK Sites, at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, Fort Nelson near Portsmouth and at the White Tower within the Tower of London.
The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds built in 1996 was designed by architect Derek Walker and houses the majority of the museum’s collection of about 75,000 items.