About Richard III Museum
The Richard III Museum, now known as the King Richard III Visitor Centre, contained within York‘s medieval gatehouse known as Monk Bar, is a small museum dedicated to the life of this famous and controversial English monarch.
As well as examining the life of this controversial king, the Richard III Visitor Centre also sets out a mock-trial of Richard III over the charge that he killed his nephews in the Tower of London.
Richard III Museum history
Monk Bar itself is one of the gatehouses in York’s medieval walls. Built in the mid-14th century, it is the tallest of such constructions and was intended to be a self-contained fort – each floor could be defended separately. Monk Bar even contains a rare example of a working portcullis, which was last lowered in 1953.
It is believed that the uppermost rooms of Monk Bar were added by Richard III himself in 1484, thus making Monk Bar the ideal site for a museum dedicated to the monarch. Richard was the last Plantagenet king and from the House of York, and died at the Battle of Bosworth which decided the War of the Roses in favour of Henry VII.
Richard III Museum today
Today, the visitor centre tells the story of the Richard III – the last English king of the Plantagenet and York lines as well as the last king to die in battle. The exhibition also sets out the evidence and challenges you to decide whether Richard III is guilty or innocent of having killed his nephews, the ‘Princes in the Tower‘.
Open from 10am to 4pm, other elements which can be explored within the Richard III Visitor Centre are a small medieval prison cell and other exhibits looking at the life of King Richard III.
In 2021, a world-famous 16th century portrait of Richard III will be displayed at the Yorkshire Museum nearby, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, completing any trip to the Richard III Visitor Centre.
Getting to the Richard III Museum
Located in central York, the Richard III Visitor Centre is found along York City Walls just off the A1036. There is car parking just over the road off High Newbiggin Street. Otherwise, buses 13, 14 and CastleLine all stop at Monk Bar.