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National Treasures right on your doorstep

Sally Perkins takes a look at these National Treasures right on your doorstep.

Over the summer holidays, you might well have found yourself venturing out far and wide to visit an interesting, educational or entertaining place with the kids. Yet it is true what they say – we are often unaware of what is right on our doorstep. As well as a thriving city centre and some of the best nightlife in the north of England, Leeds is also one of the most historic cities in the UK.

So just because the summer holidays are coming to an end, that’s no reason to draw a line under the family days out. The nation is full of hidden treasures, and some of them are closer to home than you might think! Here, we take a look at three places you really shouldn’t miss that are within striking distance of Leeds.

1) Kirkstall Abbey

This ancient monastery was founded in the 12th century, but has lain abandoned since the dissolution way back in the 1500s. Over the subsequent years, some of the stonework was taken for other building projects, so it is amazing that anything at all remains all these years later. As it is, the Abbey represents one of the most picturesque sites in the entire country, and it provides an intriguing glimpse of a bygone age.

Kirkstall Abbey is only a 10 minute drive from the centre of Leeds, entrance is free, and while you are there, be sure to visit the former gatehouse, just across the main road, which houses the Abbey Museum.

2) Temple Newsam House

A similar distance outside town in the opposite direction lies another treasure. This is of similar age to Kirkstall Abbey, although you might not think so to look at it. Temple Newsam is an awe-inspiring country house, which some have called “the Hampton Court of the North.”

It houses numerous galleries and artifacts, and is consistently rated among the top non-national museums in the country. No less impressive are the extensive grounds, where parkland, forests, kids play equipment and even a mini zoo ensure there is plenty to keep the whole family interested.

Entry costs £8.40 for adults and £4.20 for children, with under 5s admitted free of charge.

3) The Royal Armories

If you really can’t face taking the car out, the Royal Armories museum is at Leeds dock, a short walk from the city centre, and is home to national treasures in every respect. There are numerous types of arms and armour from the UK and beyond, set out in cleverly themed galleries. The kids will love the enthusiastic talks and demonstrations, and best of all, admission is free.

Explore the neighbourhood

These are just three examples of the treasures to be found right on your doorstep in and around Leeds. Why not get out and explore your surroundings with a family day out next weekend? You never know what you might find!

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