We had been stunned by Kirkstall Abbey but we had never ventured inside Abbey House Museum which is opposite the Abbey across the road and connected to the Gatehouse Cafe.
We had been expecting an old house to look around but what we found was an immersive Victorian experience where we could have spent the best part of a day.
After collecting the tickets through the museum shop we then took the stairs past the cafe to enter the museum.
A family-friendly museum exploring social history and childhood in Victorian era Leeds
Instantly we were transported to Leeds 100 years ago with a life like Victorian street complete with shops and homes.
The kids had been given an adventure trail so they were focused on that. It was lovely to see them interweaving through the shops, getting dressed up in the photographic studio and then take part in some of the craft activities laid out.
As it was Christmas when we visited, we also went to see Santa in his grotto which was nicely tools away in one of the Victorian side streets.
We thought we’d finished the museum until we saw some stairs leading to a Victorian bedroom. After seeing the glass enclosed bedroom and my kids comparing it to their own.. we walked into the “Danger Zone” exhibition which was really interesting.
My kids were drawn to the dressing up part in the Danger Zone Jungle and then onto the Victorian Penny Arcade.
We were surprised to find another section too of more interactive exhibits where the kids enjoyed dressing up again in the Childhood Galleries.
I had only scheduled an hour and a half for the museum but my daughters could have easily spent three hours exploring and playing.
We then finished off our morning in the stunning Gatehouse cafe.
We would have wandered across the road to revisit Kirkstall Abbey but we didn’t have time. We could have easily spent a day across both sites. The car park also has a playground next door if the kids want to let off more steam… although wrap up warm for the Abbey and playground if visiting this winter!
Abbey House Museum
Tuesday to Friday & Sunday: 10am–5pm
0113 378 4079
(10am – 4pm)
- Baby change
- Visitor centre
- Picnic area
- Education facilities
- Play area
- Free parking
How to get to Abbey House Museum
The nearest train stations are Kirkstall Forge and Headingley, both 1 mile away.
Bus numbers 33, 34 and 757 from Leeds stop outside Kirkstall Abbey.
A large free car park is situated next to Abbey House Museum on Abbey Walk. This includes disabled parking. There is an additional disabled access parking space immediately outside the museum entrance.