Things to see & do at Abbey House Museum

Explore the galleries at Abbey House Museum to find out what life was like in Victorian Leeds.

Be transported back to the 19th century and stroll the Victorian streets with the authentically recreated shops, pub and houses. Abbey House Museum has a new exhibition each year, which is inspired by a theme from the museum’s collection, along with exciting events running throughout the year.

Visit our what’s on page to find out more about the range of events and exhibitions at Abbey House Museum.

Victorian streets

Step back in time and wander through the enchanting streets, shops and houses to experience life as a Victorian in Leeds.

Our realistic Victorian streets include Stephen Harding Gate, the 19th century equivalent of a modern high street. You can also visit a traditional Victorian drinking house called Hark to Rover Inn, and see objects dating back over 100 years from our collection. Compare the standards of living with today, and discover how people lived, worked and were educated in Victorian England.

You can also explore the poorer residential district of Abbey Fold, which looks at life and death in Victorian times. Think about how different people washed their clothes, warmed their homes, and entertained themselves compared to the richer residents. How does the warm comfortable home of the successful pawnbroker compare to the chilly premises of the poor undertakers?

Childhood Galleries

Explore our Childhood Galleries upstairs in the museum with our growing collection of toys, memorabilia and nostalgia. See a fascinating range of toys, games and 19th century dolls on display. Spot iconic toys from your childhood and see how they have changed throughout the years.

The museum is also home to a large collection of reconditioned original penny slot machines, some of which are still in excellent working order. You can buy an old fashioned penny from the vending machine to play on the slot machines and see how people in the 19th century were entertained.

Play and relax in the museum with a selection of toys and books to enjoy in our comfortable spaces, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to while away an afternoon!

Special exhibition

The first floor of the museum is also home to an annually-changing special exhibition. In 2022 we welcome a menagerie of Victorian animals in Curious Creatures: Victorian attitudes to animals.

Our special exhibitions are all linked to our 19th century museum and showcase the vast collections we have as part of Leeds Museums & Galleries. There is also a complementary events programme which runs throughout the year, find out what’s on and plan your visit.

Two toy horses with felt coats

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