I was super impressed when we went to Abbey House Museum in Leeds for the first time with my toddler. It was so cute, really magical and took me back to my own childhood. There was so much hands on stuff for Eric to do, play with and learn about, from dolls houses to tea sets and puzzles; and the nursery rhyme theme was so cute! It was definitely the cutest museum I’ve been to all year. Wonderful Family Day Out At Abbey House Museum, Leeds
Watch our vlog & video tour of the museum here:
The little important details!
Where is it? Abbey Walk, Kirkstall, Leeds, LS5 3EH
Public transport? Bus numbers 33, 33a and 757 travel from the city centre to Kirkstall Road. Train stations Kirkstall Forge & Headingly are approximately 1 mile away.
Parking? There is a large free car park next to Kirkstall Abbey, opposite the museum.
Prices? Adults £4.50, children over 5 £3.50, under 5’s free.
Abbey House Museum, in Leeds, is just opposite Kirkstall Abbey. We combined our visit to the museum with an event going on at Kirkstall Abbey, to make it a double day; but it could easily have just been a trip to the museum. There was enough to do and conveniently for families next to the museum is a playground, so you could combine this, too. We did it all: we attended an event at Kirkstall abbey with sneaky experience (read my review for Yorkshire Tots here), have fun in the playground next to Abbey House Museum, enjoyed the exhibitions in the museum and explored around the gardens. It’s worth noting that even if there’s no event going on at Kirkstall Abbey, looking around the ruins is completely free and great opportunity for little ones to climb.
Fairytales & Fantasy exhibition is on until 31st December & I highly recommend it if you love fairytales.
We are from Sheffield and went just for the day trip, we did feel a little rushed having discovered there was so much to do! We could have spent more time there in general and next time will plan it better. The special exhibition at the time in the museum was Fairytales & Fantasy. This was soooo nice and really aesthetically pleasing to look at, I’ve always been into fairytales so this was something I really enjoyed. The exhibition showcased history, items and stories all about familiar fairytales such as snow white, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Cinderella and more. I was in my element! I loved learning all about the history of folklore and fairytale stories. I got to see some props and pieces from fairytales and pantomimes. The exhibition was definitely better suited for older children who can understand, learn and read about fairytales but next to the exhibition was a little play room… and this was SO ADORABLE!
Upstairs to the childhood galleries…
The permanent Childhood Galleries exhibition in the museum upstairs is the bit that’s especially brilliant for little kids, this was all nursery rhyme themed and really took me back to being a little girl. The exhibitions and pieces date back to the 19th century and there’s toys, working old penny machines and interactive displays.
I really loved the tree with smiling face, the old boot, Humpty dumpy, the display cases full of dolls house pieces and historical children’s book items. Eric was in his element and everything was the right height for him, all the little games and toys to play with including dolls houses, doll crib, tea party set, dress up and more.
I’d never been to a museum like it before and it was very theatrical. I’m a museum geek… not an expert, but I’ve always loved museums and me and ollie have visited loads in the UK & abroad. I love it when a museum exhibition is not only interesting and fun but it also looks good. The decor, the set up, if it’s aesthetically pleasing, if it sets an atmosphere. This was all of them. The museum really had got it right… there was a lovely ambience and everything just worked. Attention to detail was second to non and there was nothing that seemed out of place. It reminded me of being in a school play when I was younger and seeing all the props… it was like going back in time reading children’s stories with my mum when I was a little girl. It was just so cute.
We spent the majority of our visit in the Childhood Galleries going from room to room, we enjoyed stories in the old boot, dressing up and playing; both me and my mum were learning all about the old victorian children’s stories and their ways of playing back in the day. It was perfect that both us, adults could enjoy the exhibition whilst Eric loved it, too. It’s usually one or the other.
Downstairs in the museum there’s more! An old victorian street which, when we stumbled across it me and my mum were all “wow, look at this!”… it’s all designed to look like an old high street, with recreated realistic rooms, even an old pub with hand pumps and bar stools. Really great for photo opportunities, everything was so real! Other rooms to explore and do role play in where an undertakers, toy shop and methodist school. We had been in the upstairs exhibitions most of the afternoon, though and unfortunately couldn’t spend long here; I definitely want to go back so we can make the most of our visit and see more.
This is one of my favourite museums of the year. That’s a big claim, I know! But whilst writing this it made me remember how nice it was. It wasn’t huge, but it was perfect for us. I loved it, Eric loved it, I thought it was good value for money, a very good day out with the variety of exhibitions and with the playground next to it, picnic opportunities & cafe, baby change facilities and kirkstall abbey just opposite. I can’t wait to go back.
It was a really busy day trip for us! If you get time, please do read my review of the Sneaky Experience Fairy Tale here – which we did on the same day!
Thank you for reading, watching & taking a look at my pictures 🙂 no doubt we will be back next year… I really want to take Ollie! 😀