The National Archives

The National Archives, Richmond: Tickets, Tours, Hours, Address, The National Archives Reviews: 4.5/5

The National Archives
4.5
Sunday
12:00 AM - 12:15 AM
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.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Tours & experiences
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Popular mentions

4.5
156 reviews
Excellent
96
Very good
45
Average
9
Poor
3
Terrible
3

Becky A
Taunton, UK22 contributions
Disappointing visit to The National Archives
Jun 2021
I was really looking forward to my first ever visit to The National Archive, sadly not a great time to visit due to the onerous Covid restrictions. Although it is reassuring to know that the building is 'Covid safe' - the instructions on their website not very clear and very frustrating that no one is able to answer the telephone. only offering a live chat which is a waste of time as they can't answer specific questions only sending out links which do not really help.

Once you are able to digest their instructions as to rules for entering the building - only to find on the actual day that the rules have changed and I found myself not even being allowed a clear plastic envelope to safely hold my ID documents i.e. my passport and driving licence. So when I needed to use their toilet, I was asked to put these items on a table in the public foyer and a member of staff would keep an eye on them as I had no where upon my person to put them!

Why they are unable to provide plastic bags I do not understand - or indeed allow the public, as per their website instructions to bring their own an A4 sized clear folder.

It is ridiculous to expect visitors not to be able to contain their important items safely upon their person! When I returned from the toilet, the person looking out for my belongings was no longer there and someone else apparently had been looking out for my things as well as dealing with members of the public - highly unsatisfactory and very unsettling, particularly for a first-time visitor who had been really looking forward to the experience. Ironically, no one checked my ID in the foyer only when I had my photograph taken for the reader's ticket.

Worst of all - the website stated you could bring in your own research within certain limits etc but on arrival was told this not permitted so all the things I wanted to research which of course, had had to be pre-ordered weeks before, I had no way of reference this as not prepared to have to leave my sheet of reference information in their locker!!!!

All in all, a wasted and disappointed trip , after travelling 3 hours to get there and waiting about 20 years to visit there and weeks of exacting preparation as per their website instructions - what a shambles!
Written June 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Wild Dog Safaris, East Africa LLC
Nairobi, Kenya54 contributions
Nice selection of historical photos and reports from British Colonial Kenya.
Oct 2020
Glad the historic photos/reports during the May May period in Kenya weren’t destroyed. Impressed with their organization of photos/files and their availability.
Written April 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

lynjpowers
Warwick, UK45 contributions
Records Archive
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 February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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 February 17, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

sheepygold
london4,614 contributions
Very decent restaurant
Jan 2020 • Friends
We came in here only for food as it was a convenient stopping place on our walk along the Thames. I had a very good vegetarian ciabatta which they heated up for me. My friends had meat pies with mushy peas and chips. Fish and chips looked popular with other diners. My ciabatta was reasonably priced but my Innocent apple juice was ridiculously expensive.
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ray C Z
Paola, Malta141 contributions
Exceptionally efficient
Dec 2019
Very efficient and friendly service. Had not prebooked but was still able to register upon arrival and afterwards request and view specific documents (in this case maps) in a very well suited environment.
Written December 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks for leaving us such great feedback about your experience of registering for a reader's ticket. We hope you find everything you need and continue to enjoy visiting us during your research!
Written December 11, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Peter P
Andover, UK298 contributions
The best record office you could ever visit with the WORST CAFE
Nov 2019
We are quite frequent visitors to the National Archives, it is in our view an amazing place, Amazing records, great helpfull staff, easy to use however whatever you do avoid the poor overpriced food in the restuarant, the Cafe`s are ok, the day we went on offer in the restuarant was a tasteless sausage in a very dry bun with a silly little bit of dressing and a few chips, it was just tepid and tasteless and £8.50, i am writing this review as this is the third terrible experience of the restuarant since it changed to new providers and definately the last, without the restuarant the centre deserves five stars
Written November 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for the feedback Peter P. We're really pleased to hear our staff have been helpful and how amazing you find The National Archives! We're sorry you've not had a good experience at our restaurant. If you'd like to submit feedback to our caterers directly, they will welcome your comments via email: hospitality@nationalarchives.gov.uk
Written November 18, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

nganlung
Hong Kong, China10 contributions
A good visit to the National Archives
Sep 2019
It is located at the south bank of the Thames, with a tranquil scenic environment. The building is quite modern and well equipped that help a lot for the visitors to find the information where there is. The officers there are very helpful and you may enjoy the friendly entertainment very much indeed.
Written October 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for sharing your experience of The National Archives. We're pleased to hear you enjoyed the tranquility of our park and found our staff helpful and friendly. Hope to see you again soon!
Written October 16, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Hold1971AHeart
331 contributions
So lucky to have this service.
Sep 2019
This is an amazing space to discover your past, the facilities are fantastic, the building amazing and the cafe offers very good healthy food.
Written October 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for your wonderful review - we are really pleased to hear you're enjoying our services and onsite facilities!
Written October 10, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sally T
3 contributions
Family tree suddenly came to life
Nov 2018
A treasure of a place for researchers. Lovely bookshop and spacious cafe. On a bus route from nearby town centre or an easy walk from the tube. If you like maps you will be spoilt for choice. I was delighted to find a copy of a birth certificate relating to a grandparent of a family member who had served in World War 1.
Written October 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks for the lovely feedback - we always appreciate hearing from our visitors and the wonderful treasures they find in the archives. Keep sharing your exciting discoveries!
Written October 10, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

MargaretCaversham
Reading, UK146 contributions
Behind the Scenes Tour
Sep 2019
Very interesting and amazing to be allowed to touch a selection of old documents, all without gloves. Fascinating mix of records. Beware that their lockers aren't big enough for cabin sized overnight luggage but if you come via Kew Gardens Victoria Gate, then theirs are. We both really enjoyed the tour and thought it good value at £10 each but you do need to book well ahead.
Written September 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for sharing your 5* experience of our repository tours. We're really pleased to hear you enjoyed the tour and the opportunity to see and touch some our incredible records. Hope to welcome you back soon!
Written September 30, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The National Archives

The National Archives is open:
  • Sun - Sun 12:00 AM - 12:15 AM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking The National Archives tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 1 The National Archives tours on Tripadvisor


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