The National Archives
The National Archives
4.5
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Open to all, The National Archives is a place to explore 1,000 years of history - from Shakespeare's will to tweets from Downing Street. This impressive building in Kew is set in beautiful grounds and offers visitors a diverse programme of events, activities, research spaces and a Keeper's Gallery that hosts special exhibitions throughout the year.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • SLF
    Salisbury, United Kingdom166 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Staff welcome first timers
    It was our first visit to TNA and we had researched everything online so felt as prepared as we could be. The staff were lovely and we obtained our readers tickets, got through security and collected our ordered documents. Some of those were successful, others didn’t yield results. I’d ordered assizes records which were too difficult for us to handle - rolled up tight, lots of different scraps of paper, illegible and filthy - I just didn’t know how to cope with those. The muster rolls we’d ordered were much easier. The books were delicate and fragile but the supports helped and we were pleased that we’d paid attention to the training video. The only thing that could have spoilt the day (maybe would have if I’d been on my own) was the unfriendliness of other researchers. One was openly hostile on finding that we’d sat in her reserved seat (they weren’t all marked but we now know how the numbering works). I felt that there must be some very regular experienced researchers who perhaps would volunteer to sit at a welcome table on the cafe or upstairs and be there to offer advice, practical help and give some tips and suggestions. Obviously the staff members are happy to help but don’t have the time that a volunteer might. We’ll visit again, will carry on smiling and being polite and perhaps we’ll find that we just picked a bad day this time.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 August 2023
  • David W
    18 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Family History Research with a Garden!
    Please note: There was no option to enter the correct date of the visit which took place several years ago. However, to satisfy the requirement to pick a date from the list provided I have selected January 2024. We took advantage of touring the gardens as well as doing some research into the family history. The gardens were great and the high level walk in the trees was a delight (fortunately it was a nice sunny day!). The National Archives were a little overwhelming for a first time visitor but the staff were helpful so we soon settled down and spent a couple of fruitful hours on family history. We’re along way from London but I hope we have the opportunity to make other visits in future.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 13 January 2024
  • Pamela S
    6 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Surprise
    A first visit here to see the Great Escape exhibition which was fascinating although I did struggle somewhat with the height of some of the displays! The building is very impressive and full of light. I loved the lake with the swans and the ornamental borders. The café was very good and very reasonably priced - unlike most outlets in Kew. I recommend the very good mushroom quiche and salad. Will definitely come again.
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled with friends
    Written 22 June 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles176 reviews
Excellent
107
Very good
50
Average
10
Poor
4
Terrible
5

Pamela S
London6 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Friends
A first visit here to see the Great Escape exhibition which was fascinating although I did struggle somewhat with the height of some of the displays! The building is very impressive and full of light. I loved the lake with the swans and the ornamental borders. The café was very good and very reasonably priced - unlike most outlets in Kew. I recommend the very good mushroom quiche and salad. Will definitely come again.
Written 22 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SLF
Salisbury, UK166 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
It was our first visit to TNA and we had researched everything online so felt as prepared as we could be. The staff were lovely and we obtained our readers tickets, got through security and collected our ordered documents. Some of those were successful, others didn’t yield results. I’d ordered assizes records which were too difficult for us to handle - rolled up tight, lots of different scraps of paper, illegible and filthy - I just didn’t know how to cope with those. The muster rolls we’d ordered were much easier. The books were delicate and fragile but the supports helped and we were pleased that we’d paid attention to the training video.
The only thing that could have spoilt the day (maybe would have if I’d been on my own) was the unfriendliness of other researchers. One was openly hostile on finding that we’d sat in her reserved seat (they weren’t all marked but we now know how the numbering works).
I felt that there must be some very regular experienced researchers who perhaps would volunteer to sit at a welcome table on the cafe or upstairs and be there to offer advice, practical help and give some tips and suggestions. Obviously the staff members are happy to help but don’t have the time that a volunteer might.
We’ll visit again, will carry on smiling and being polite and perhaps we’ll find that we just picked a bad day this time.
Written 14 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jrdh
636 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022 • Couples
We were on a walk along the Thames and stopped off here for lunch. The lunch was very good at their cafe, with good friendly service despite being quite busy. We had the special, chicken gyros, which was very tasty and good value. This was followed by a nice coffee. Overall a simple and no nonsense cafe. This may seem a surprising place to stop for lunch but we would recommend it.
Written 1 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you very much for such a kind review, we are very glad you enjoyed your visit so much! We hope to see you at The National Archives again soon.
Written 4 May 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Companion51317719507
London, UK1 contribution
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had a recent bad experience at the National Archives. I had never been before and was looking forward to going to look at some documents relating to my grandad's service in WW2. I had hoped there would be some help in accessing 3 documents I wanted to look at but I was left so frustrated I'm not sure I would go again. As the previous reviewer has said, the staff give the impression that they really don't want to be there and one was downright rude. If they don't want to help ( there is actually a help desk!) maybe just produce a leaflet explaining what to do and where to go instead. There seem to be an awful lot of people employed just to tell you which way up to swipe your readers card...and even that isn't consistent and no-one to do much else. A very disappointing visit.
Written 11 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David W
18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
Please note: There was no option to enter the correct date of the visit which took place several years ago. However, to satisfy the requirement to pick a date from the list provided I have selected January 2024.

We took advantage of touring the gardens as well as doing some research into the family history.
The gardens were great and the high level walk in the trees was a delight (fortunately it was a nice sunny day!).
The National Archives were a little overwhelming for a first time visitor but the staff were helpful so we soon settled down and spent a couple of fruitful hours on family history.
We’re along way from London but I hope we have the opportunity to make other visits in future.
Written 13 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thomas
London, UK2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Business
If you want to meet the most awkward, unhelpful, rude staff, visit the National Archives! Absolutely zero help and just wanted to take their bad day out on visitors.
Thankfully the security staff were really helpful and offered assistance which meant we could finally access the document’s we had ordered, but we had to be in a seperate room from everyone else making it feel like we were some kind of criminals! An unbelievable experience for all the wrong reasons.
Written 2 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elaine S
Winchester, UK3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
I travelled 17,391 km from Hobart, Tasmania, to visit TNA for research. Worth every single km! Outstanding service - before I arrived, on arrival, and over days of engagement. Logical online environment, logical and welcoming physical set-up, incredibly helpful staff. My research will be inordinately enhanced by this experience. Deeply grateful.
Written 2 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Elaine, Thank you very so much for your very high praise - what a kind review! We're incredibly glad you had such a positive and enriching experience. Thank you again.
Written 21 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

lynjpowers
Warwick, UK44 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Couples
Were lucky enough to visit on 1st Sunday in December when visiting Kew Gardens too. Set in beautiful grounds even on a wintry day, looked inviting. Very welcoming staff. Records room not open but lovely coffee shop & seating area. Fabulous shop where I purchased a couple of extra Christmas gifts. Look forward to returning when in London again hopefully when Records Reading room is open.
Written 15 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for sharing your experience of our First Sundays. We're pleased to hear you enjoyed your time with us, and look forward to welcoming you back again. We will be running First Sundays from March-July in 2020, where our new exhibition, With Love, will be open. See you soon!
Written 17 February 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ollie C
London, UK477 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
What a lovely building. Some nice greenery and Swans outside too but the architect pure of the building is breathtaking. Staff friendly at the front desk, an interesting book shop and then an accessible computer/book library for British (plus some international) history. Well-worth a visit.
Written 12 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your very kind review, Ollie, we are glad you had such a positive experience. We hope you will visit again soon!
Written 21 March 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Gary C
Cumbernauld, UK499 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022 • Couples
Came here to see the treason exhibition and found an amazing building in a stunning location. Staff very welcoming wished I had relatives in England I could have looked up. The treason exhibition was amazing
Written 25 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your very kind review, Gary, we are glad you had such a positive experience. We hope you will visit again soon!
Written 21 March 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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The National Archives (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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