Price increases set for Leeds museums and galleries

Armley Mills
Armley Mills. Photo: Mark Stevenson

By John Baron

People using Leeds museums and galleries will face an average 10% increase in admission charges for the new financial year, a Leeds City Council report has said.

Admission to Kirkstall Abbey ruins will remain free to Leeds residents during the 2023-24 financial year, with Leeds Industrial Museum in Armley maintaining the £1 admission fee for residents of Armley within the LS12 postcode and the neighbouring postcodes of LS3, LS4 and LS5.

For people living outside those postcodes, adult admission to Leeds Industrial Museum will rise from £5 to £5.50, while a child’s will increase by 15p to £3.

Adult admission to Abbey House Museum will rise 50p to £6.50 while a child’s will increase by 15p to £3.15.

Remaining free to Leeds residents: Kirkstall Abbey. Illustration: Mindy Goose

People living outside Leeds will see adult admission prices to Kirkstall Abbey ruins rise 50p to £5.50.

Three out of the nine of Leeds Museums and Galleries sites are currently free to general visitors: Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds City Museum, and Leeds Discovery Centre with Kirkstall Abbey free to Leeds residents on producing proof of address.

Meanwhile, at Temple Newsam House, the price of a family ticket, which covers up to two adults and three children, has gone up from £19 to £21. The price of a child ticket has gone up by 14 per cent, from £3.50 to £4, making it one of the biggest single ticket rises anywhere this month. Adult tickets increase from £8 to £9.

Discounts for all these venues are available to those with a Leeds Card, a children’s Breeze Card, or a Max Card, which is available to families of children with special needs.

A council report detailing the price changes said they wanted to “ensure Leeds Museums and Galleries can provide choice to visitors, offer value for money alongside specific discounts, deliver against agreed income targets in the next financial year and support Leeds 2023, in the year of culture.”

The council report adds: “An option not to increase fees and charges was considered. This would, however, create budget pressures and would constitute a notable budgetary risk.

“The introduction of charging at the free sites is complex and would require further consideration and consultation. Changes have, therefore, not been considered for the purpose of this report.

“A wider admissions review will, however, be undertaken during 2023/24 as recommended by the external commercial review.”

The report adds the annual review of fees and charges has taken into account the current financial environment including the rate of inflation, the ongoing recovery still required following the recent pandemic, current and proposed income targets for 2023/24 whilst balancing this with the cost of living crisis.

It has also drawn on recommendations from a 2022 commercial review by an external organisation, as well as considering any new income streams taking into account current trends and opportunities.

On Leeds Industrial Museum, the report said: “Following the trial of a £1 admission fee at Leeds Industrial Museum for residents of Armley within the LS12 postcode and the neighbouring postcodes of LS3, LS4 and LS5, it is proposed that this charge remains for 2023/24 to add value to Leeds’ Year of Culture and to continue to engage directly with local residents.

“The £1 local admission charge will continue to be promoted via web sites, social media and community hubs. Residents will still be required to show proof of address.”

Venue hire and weddings 

The price of a wedding at Kirkstall Abbey and Thwaite Watermill is rising by 10 per cent, with the council saying it has to cover the cost of rising staff wages.

The changes will not to apply to those who’ve already booked their wedding with a deposit, the local authority says.

Meanwhile, room and venue hire at a council-run attraction is going up by 25 per cent, after a review found charges were considerably cheaper than similar places in the private sector.

Prices for the picture lending scheme at Leeds Art Gallery will also go up slightly for residents, charities and businesses.

The council report can be read in full here.

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