Opening times

We’re open to the public between Tuesday and Saturday.

Our services can vary on different days of the week, and different days of the year.

Exhibition, shop and cafe

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 on Sundays* and Mondays

Our exhibition gallery and shop are open when our reading rooms are open, and on the first Sunday of every month.

We serve hot drinks and light bites from 09:00 Tuesday to Saturday, until 30 minutes before we close (and from 11:00 on the first Sunday of every month).

Breakfast is served until 10:30 Tuesday to Saturday, and lunch is served between 12:00 and 14:30.

*Throughout the year we offer special opening hours on the first Sunday of the month. For dates and times of our First Sundays openings in 2020, see below.

Early closure Tuesday 11 February

We will be closing two hours early (at 17.00) on Tuesday 11 February due to a private event. As this will affect our usual Tuesday late-night opening, we’ll extend our opening hours until 19.00 on Wednesday 12 February to minimise disruption. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Reading rooms and library

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 on Sundays and Mondays

You can register for a reader’s ticket or collect a pre-registered ticket between 09:00 and 16:00, Tuesday to Saturday.

Once you have your reader’s ticket you can order documents between 09:30 and 16:00 on these days.

Research advice is provided between 09:00 and 17:00 when our reading rooms are open.

First Sundays 2020

Enjoy our free exhibition, family activities and our beautiful gardens at one of our First Sundays openings.

Our next First Sunday will be on 01 March 2020 from 11:00-16:00, to coincide with the opening of our new exhibition With Love.

Please note: the reading rooms are closed on First Sundays.

Car park

Our car park is open to visitors between 08:30 and 20:00 Tuesday to Saturday, and between 10:30 and 16:30 on the first Sunday of every month.

It also opens when special events are happening outside these hours.

Charges apply for visitor parking, and payments should be made on foot at the machines within our building before you depart.

We do not allow parking outside these hours for the security of our site.

Closure dates

We are usually closed for bank holiday weekends (including the Saturday), and for Christmas and New Year. All dates listed below are inclusive.

  • Easter: Friday 10 April to Monday 13 April (closing at 17:00 on Thursday 9 April)
  • May bank holiday: Friday 8 May to Saturday 9 May
  • Spring bank holiday: Saturday 23 May to Monday 25 May
  • Summer bank holiday: Saturday 29 August to Monday 31 August
  • Christmas (2020): Thursday 24 December to Monday 28 December
  • New Year’s Day (2021): Friday 1 January (closing at 17:00 on Thursday 31 December)