Opening times

Our reading rooms, exhibitions, shop and café are free to visit and open to all. Between Tuesday and Saturday, our building opens to visitors at 09:00, until the reading rooms close. We are usually only open on select Sundays but when we have an exhibition running, we are open every Sunday. On Sundays, the reading rooms are not open but the exhibition, shop and cafe are open from 11:00 – 16:00.

Over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday 27, Sunday 28 and Monday 29 May) our exhibition, shop and cafe will be open from 11:00 – 16:00. This is to celebrate the launch of our new exhibition, Spirit of Invention. Our reading rooms will be closed on these days.

Reading rooms and document ordering

Reading roomsDocuments can be ordered between
Tuesday09:30 to 19:0009:30 to 16:00
Wednesday09:30 to 17:0009:30 to 15:30
Thursday09:30 to 19:0009:30 to 16:00
Friday09:30 to 17:0009:30 to 15:30
Saturday09:30 to 17:0009:30 to 15:30

Our other services

Our café is open between 09:00 and 17:00 on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and between 09:00 and 16:00 on Wednesday and Saturday.

Our shop is open between 10:00 and 17:00 Tuesday to Saturday.

Our car park is open from 08:00 and closes 30 minutes after our building.

Closure dates

All dates listed below are inclusive. Some dates may be subject to change.

  • Summer Bank Holiday: Saturday 26 August to Monday 28 August
  • Christmas 2023: Saturday 23 to Wednesday 27 December
  • New Year’s Day 2023/4: Saturday 30 December to Monday 1 January 2024