Welcome to the National Memorial Arboretum
The National Memorial Arboretum is the Nation’s year-round place to remember, a special place that honours those who have served and continue to serve our Nation.
People from all walks of life are represented with memorials dedicated to the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and civilian organisations.
Founded by Commander David Childs CBE on a reclaimed mineral extraction site gifted by Redland Aggregates, now Tarmac, the Arboretum has flourished from a muddy open field to a beautiful growing living landscape.
Over 400 memorials, 25,000 trees and an abundance of wildlife now call the Arboretum home and its team work year-round to ensure that the Arboretum continues to celebrate lives lived and commemorate lives lost.
The Arboretum welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year and a daily programme of free talks, exhibitions and activities are on offer. It is the only place in the country where the Act of Remembrance is observed every day, and visitors are free to join and observe The Act, consisting of the Last Post, a Silence and the Reveille in the Millennium Chapel of Peace and Forgiveness.
Free daily talks at the Far East Prisoners of War Memorial Building, Armed Forces Memorial and Shot at Dawn are available.
The National Memorial Arboretum also produces an annual calendar of events including Armed Forces Weekend, Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday, Ride to the Wall and Illuminated Arboretum.
Group Visits to the National Memorial Arboretum
Voted Best UK Attraction by Group Leisure and Travel readers for the third consecutive year, the Arboretum is a fantastic day out for groups and there is plenty for group visitors to see and do.
Arrive before 10.50am and join the Daily Act of Remembrance in the Millennium Chapel of Peace and Forgiveness where visitors observe a short service and Two Minute Silence. A complimentary 15-minute Welcome Talk can also be pre-booked, giving groups an overview of the history of the Arboretum and the opportunity to discover future plans.
Join expert guides on a guided walk* who will lead your group around the Arboretum for 45 minutes, sharing the extraordinary stories that the trees and memorials represent, or see the splendour of the Arboretum from the comfort of the covered land train* with an accompanying 50-minute pre-recorded commentary.
The Arboretum is beautiful all year round, with a range of activities you can enjoy whatever the weather. At the heart of the Remembrance Centre is Landscapes of Life, a permanent exhibition which introduces the concept of Remembrance and why it is an important human need spanning thousands of years.
Across the year, the Arboretum creates an exciting and thought-provoking programme of temporary exhibitions that reflect the Arboretum through themes of Remembrance, natural landscape and hidden histories.
The Arboretum also hosts many groups-only packages annually to coincide with many of its events including those for D-Day 80, Armed Forces Weekend and Remembrance Sunday.
A range of pre-ordered food and drink packages are available for groups visitors, as well as a large Restaurant serving a range of items prepared by in-house chefs using seasonal ingredients sourced from suppliers within a 40-mile radius of the Arboretum.
A short walk from the Remembrance Centre, the Far East Prisoners of War Memorial Building features a permanent exhibition established by the Children (and Families) of the Far East Prisoners of War. The memorial roll found here, contains the name and rank of all British servicemen taken prisoner during the conflict in the Far East and tells the story of their treatment and the thousands who died as a result.
If you’re struggling to visit the Arboretum, book an external talk* and bring the Arboretum to you. External talks are interesting, informative and full of fascinating stories and anecdotes.
Smaller groups of 5 – 7 can discover more of the Arboretum on Tailor Made Tours*. Aboard an electric buggy, a personal guide and driver will take you to memorials you’d love to see. Whether you have a keen interest in specific military campaigns, or would like to hear and see more without the walk. Coupled with half or full day catering options, they’re an incredible way to make new memories with friends and family.
In recent years, the Arboretum has added many new memorials to it’s ever-changing landscape ensuring there’s something new to see.
The Submariners Association Memorial, dedicated by The Prince of Wales, Commodore-in-Chief Submarines, remembers the 5,000 submariners who lost their lives while serving in the years before, between and during the two World Wars.
The Desert Rats Memorial remembers the 7th Armoured Division that saw distinguished service during the Second World War, where its exploits in the Western Desert Campaign gained it the ‘Desert Rat’s nickname. The stylised sculpture at the Arboretum, while representing the Desert Rats insignia, also symbolises armour both light and heavy.
The National Miners’ Memorial honours and commemorates the hundreds and thousands of men, women and children who worked in the United Kingdom coal mining industry and those who have served or died in the service of their country.
With so much to explore, the Arboretum has something to offer groups of all interests. Peaceful woodlands, colourful gardens, riverside walks and fascinating stories are all waiting to be discovered.
Aspects at the National Memorial Arboretum
The National Memorial Arboretum is also home to Aspects, a modern conferencing and events facility set within its grounds.
Named ‘Business Event Venue of the Year 2023 – Gold’ by VisitEngland, Aspects at the National Memorial Arboretum is a unique conferencing and events venue for 10 – 300 guests in South Staffordshire.
Centrally located, 30 minutes from Derby and less than 60 minutes from Leicester, Nottingham, Stoke on Trent and Coventry, it’s the perfect place to bring people together.
Designed to host some of the Arboretum’s most important events, the quality of the building coupled with the gravitas of the Arboretum creates an impressive backdrop for events.
It’s contemporary and stylish facilities coupled with its desire for world-class customer service and locally-sourced menus offer an unrivalled experience while showing your support for Armed Forces Personnel.
Stories to Inspire
Aspects at the National Memorial Arboretum offers more than conferencing and events facilities. It has become a powerful place to bring together disparate and homeworking teams for training and away days and especially for those with connections to the Arboretum.
Each memorial recognises the service and sacrifice of both military and civilian personnel. From the WAS(B) women supplying tea and sandwiches on the front lines of Burma, to the 16,000 men and women who have given their lives since the end of the Second World War.
The Arboretum is home to hundreds of stories, tales of camaraderie, inspirational leadership, heroism in extraordinary circumstances and accounts of sheer strength and resilience.
While many of these stories herald from difficult times, they offer teams the opportunity to shift perspective and think differently about the challenges we face in all elements of business.
In 2024, the Arboretum will commemorate the 80th anniversaries of D-Day, Monte Cassino, Operation Market Garden and the Battle of Kohima and Imphal with a special programme of events and exhibitions.
Guided walks exploring the memorials linked to 1944 will also be available and the stories behind the memorials, can be used as a powerful tool to train teams. For example, the Combined Operational Command Memorial reveals how the three services worked together as a unified force to deliver one of the biggest tri-service mobilisations in history.
At the Royal Tank Regiment memorial garden, teams can hear about the work of Sir Percy Hobart an engineer who adapted specialised armoured vehicles to overcome the problem of landing on the beaches of Normandy. Known as ‘Hobart’s Funnies’ the tanks were adapted to swim ashore, flame-throw and clear minefields, advancing them up the beaches and into the countryside.
A short walk away, at the Royal Logistics Corps Memorial Garden, hear how they were the backbone of operations responsible for moving personnel, supplies, munitions and equipment, and the innovations created to support transporting 250 tons of food per day, for 100,000 troops.
Couple guided walks, with the Arboretum’s handpicked coaches rooted in the Arboretum’s ethos. They can work with events organisers and business leaders to build a deeper connection to company aims, offering a space to reflect on past challenges and achievements, explore feelings of inertia and to discover how to move forward together.
Sustainable at heart
Established on a once barren reclaimed mineral extraction site, the Arboretum is a paragon of regeneration and the continue to ensure sustainability prevails in all their operations. From their Green Flag managed grounds to seasonal local menus created by their in-house chefs and recycling and waste management practices, you can be assured that they take their commitment to sustainability very seriously.
Supporting a National Charity
The National Memorial Arboretum is the nation’s year-round place to remember and receives no central government funding. A part of the Royal British Legion family of charities, all profits generated through conferences and events, training and teambuilding, corporate partnerships and group visits support its charitable mission to help keep the Arboretum free to enter, beautifully maintained and most importantly here for families, friends and comrades to reunite, reflect and remember.
Show Your Support
It costs £8 per minute to keep the Arboretum freely open year-round for families, friends and comrades to reflect, reunite and remember. Whether you’re looking for a day out for your Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club, a conference location with meaning for your organisation, or simply a day out with family and friends, show your support by visiting the National Memorial Arboretum and ensure that this special place continues to develop and grow for future generations.