The National Archives

Front entrance of The National Archives
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The National Archives is the UK government's official archive, guaranteeing public access to over 1000 years of history with records ranging from parchment and paper scrolls through to digital files and archived websites. We are also at the heart of government information policy, to ensure the survival of today´s information for the future.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 19:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 19:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00

Closed Sunday and Monday

Admission charges


Archives of the British government covering over a thousand years of world history and all seven continents from Arctic explorers and Middle Eastern embassies to papal bulls and the photographic collections of Colonial administrations.

Collection details

Weapons and War, Trade and Commerce, Social History, Photography, Maritime, Law and Order, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Domesday Book
  • Magna Carta
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Valor Ecclesiasticus
  • Victorian photographs
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Sarah Kogan

Changing the Landscape

  • 12 April — 17 September 2016 *on now

Supported using public funds by the National Lottery through the Arts Council England, Changing the Landscape follows Rifleman Barney Griew's first hand account of his journey from Hackney, London to Northern France, training to become a mapmaker and scout in the five months preceding his death on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

During this journey, Barney sent home over 180 illustrated letters, photographs and photographic postcards, often writing more than three times a day for five months - leaving us a unique, multifaceted, three-dimensional view of the run up to the battle.

Unusually, this unpublished archive is interpreted by Barney’s great-niece Kogan, who was originally read the letters as a child by her grandmother, Barney’s sister Fanny. The exhibition includes items and extracts of text from Barney’s unpublished archive, artworks generated by Kogan, archival material from The National Archives and a specially commissioned four part digital video installation by filmmaker Jeremy Bubb.

Changing the Landscape project includes a multimedia visual arts exhibition, education and talks programme.


Battle of Jutland

Commemorating the Battle of Jutland

  • 31 May 2016 2-5pm

31 May marks the centenary of the Battle of Jutland. Discover service records, ship logs, naval maps and more key documents from our collection that unravel the story of the most significant naval battle of the First World War.


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Big Draw

Big Draw in The National Archives

  • 31 May 2016 10:30am-12pm

Come to The National Archives and get creative!

Join us in our Keeper’s Gallery to view some of the most astonishing historical documents from the last 1,000 years. And, of course, you will also get the opportunity to stretch your artistic muscles with a sketch, doodle or drawing inspired by the records you have just seen.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13


Battle of Jutland

Jutland: Family activities

  • 3 June 2016 10:30am-12:30pm

This afternoon will feature a number of nautical craft activities that help tell the story of the Battle of Jutland. Children will also learn about Jack Cornwell whose valour during the battle was recognised when he was awarded the Victoria Cross, making him the youngest recipient of the medal during the First World War.

This event will be run in conjunction with the Scout Association.

Check out our upcoming family events, where you and your children can learn about some of the thrilling tales hidden within our records.

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10



Eye in the Sky: Gathering First World War Intelligence

  • 7 June 2016 2-4pm

Our experts will offer insights into the processes and circumstances under which these images were taken, how intelligence gathering changed as a result of the war, and what these photographs meant from a tactical perspective.

We are proud to present a new set of events that delve into the shadowy realms of espionage and intelligence gathering.

This season we will be looking at how intelligence was collected during the First World War and how a nation’s secrets are ultimately protected or betrayed by the will and whims of individual personalities.


Full price: £10.00
Friends of The National Archives: £8.00


Sarah Kogan

Drawing from the Archives: An art workshop with Sarah Kogan

  • 9 June 2016 2-3:30pm

Sarah Kogan, artist of multimedia Battle of the Somme centenary arts project Changing the Landscape, will lead a practical workshop on building art projects directly from archival material. Topics will include: materials, techniques, content and form. Materials will be provided.

We run an exciting range of events and exhibitions on a wide variety of topics. For more details, visit


Full price: £10.00
Friends of The National Archives: £8.00


Women's Institute

100 years of the WI: The acceptable face of feminism

  • 9 June 2016 7-8pm

Professor Maggie Andrews will discuss some of the key campaigns and concerns of the Women’s Institute, from its origins in the First World War to the 1950s when, with half a million members, it was firmly established as the largest women’s organisation in Britain.

Maggie is a Professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester; she has published widely on women, domesticity and the home front in 20th century Britain.


A Notable Woman

Editing Mass Observation

  • 15 June 2016 2-3pm

Acclaimed non-fiction writer Simon Garfield discusses Our Hidden Lives and A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt - books developed from research conducted into the pioneering social study Mass Observation, which was launched in the 1930s to record everyday lives in Britain.

Simon has authored books on a range of subjects, many of which have been turned into plays and television films: To The Letter was an inspiration for the ‘Letters Live’ theatrical event starring Benedict Cumberbatch; and My Dear Bessie has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.


Full price: £6.00
Friends of The National Archives: £4.80


Irish soldiers

Ireland and 1916: Isle of Saints and Soldiers?

  • 18 June 2016 10am-5pm

This symposium will look at the Irish contribution to and experience of the First World War. As it falls between both centenaries, topics will include the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme but will also consider broader historical questions, relating to Ireland and the war.

Professor Alexander Watson, Professor Richard Grayson, Dr Timothy Bowman and Lar Joye will all speak at the event, with a discussion panel to follow which will include former President Mary McAleese and Ambassador Daniel Mulhall.

Our collection of First World War records is one of the largest in the world. It includes, amongst many other documents, service records, letters, diaries, maps and photographs. During the centenary we are opening up this collection and hosting a variety of events and exhibitions, engaging in key debates and topics from the war.


Full price: £30
Friends of The National Archives: £24


Jules Rimet trophy

England '66: The best of times?

  • 23 June 2016 2-3pm

It was a year when England won the World Cup and led the world in all aspects of popular culture, including pop music, fashion, and film. But it was also a time of sterling crises, wage and price freezes, and industrial strife. Contemporary specialist Mark Dunton looks at a nation caught between optimism and decline.

This season we will be presenting a series of events that look at the relationship between culture and society. How do these two concepts work together to inform our perceptions of creativity, community and identity?


Pipe roll

Pipe Roll Society Lecture 2016: Government and record keeping in the Middle Ages

  • 28 June 2016 6-7:30pm

The Pipe Roll Society is one of the leading academic societies for the study of medieval government and records in the 12th and 13th centuries. Every year, an expert speaker from the Society gives a lecture on an aspect of medieval history, followed by lively debate.


Ottoman Empire

‘A test of support’: The end of Ottoman neutrality, 1913-14

  • 30 June 2016 2-3pm

What led the Ottoman Empire to join Germany and her allies in the First World War? Find out how a matrix of seemingly unrelated events and foreign policies – including the machinations of then First Sea Lord Winston Churchill – ultimately pushed Turkish leaders to leave neutrality behind and join the Central Powers.

Our collection of First World War records is one of the largest in the world. It includes, amongst many other documents, service records, letters, diaries, maps and photographs.

During the centenary we are opening up this collection and hosting a variety of events and exhibitions, engaging in key debates and topics from the war.


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

The National Archives




020 8876 3444

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.