People who live outside of Leeds to be charged fee to visit 870-year-old Kirkstall Abbey ruins

People who live outside of Leeds will now be charged £5 to visit Kirkstall Abbey.

From this week, a £5 admission fee will apply to all adults who do not live in the city.

It will cost £2.50 for adults but it is free for children below the age of five.

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Entry to the abbey ruins will remain free for Leeds residents and people who live in Leeds City Council tax postcode areas.

People who live outside of Leeds will now be charged £5 to visit Kirkstall Abbey.

Fees will apply to the ruins only, and access to the abbey grounds will remain free for all visitors.

Leeds City Council said this is to help generate income to conserve the 870-year-old site and fund events including seasonal tours and trails.

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Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Kirkstall Abbey has been a unique and treasured part of the city’s heritage for centuries, but as well as celebrating its history, we want to make sure we’re looking towards its future too, developing ideas to make it an even more attractive, sustainable and inspiring place to visit.

“The harsh reality is that the financial situation we find ourselves in as a council means that to do that, we’ll have to identify innovative and creative ways to generate the money needed to bring those ideas to life and protect and conserve the abbey.

“Any decisions about introducing charges are never easy, and we have consulted broadly with the public both in and out of Leeds, using their views to help us shape our plans for site.

"We believe this project strikes the right balance between generating much-needed income and ensuring the abbey remains a visitor attraction the people of Leeds can be proud of for generations to come.”

As part of the new entry requirements, paying visitors coming from outside Leeds will be provided with an annual pass which will allow entry to the abbey for 12 months from purchase.

The annual pass will also include entry to some events and volunteer-led tours.

Leeds residents will need to bring proof of address for free entry on their first visit; a driving license or recent utility bill will be accepted.

They will also be issued with an annual pass, and will not need to bring proof of address again.