The Times, reviewing the first production in 1993, praised it as a "perfect marriage of ideas and high comedy". But for some, the ideas overwhelmed the comedy: "[T]oo clever by about two-and-three-quarters," noted The Daily Mail. "One comes away instructed with more than one can usefully wish to know." After an eight-month run at the National, the play's transfer to the West End gave an opportunity for re-appraisal. The Daily Telegraph critic commented: "I have never left a play more convinced that I had just witnessed a masterpiece".
Vincent Canby of The New York Times described the play as "Tom Stoppard's richest, most ravishing comedy to date, a play of wit, intellect, language, brio and, new for him, emotion". But other New York reviews were mixed or unfavourable, complaining of the anachronisms and lack of realism.
The 2009 London revival prompted more critics to laud the play as "Stoppard's finest work". Michael Billington wrote in The Guardian that the play "gets richer with each viewing. ... [T]here is poetry and passion behind the mathematics and metaphysics." Johann Hari of The Independent speculated that Arcadia would be recognised "as the greatest play of its time".
The 2011 Broadway staging met with a mixed reception. Ben Brantley of The New York Times called the production "a half-terrific revival of Mr. Stoppard's entirely terrific Arcadia", noting that "several central roles are slightly miscast", and "some of the performances from the Anglo-American cast are pitched to the point of incoherence." Similar concerns were raised by critics from the New York magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, Time Out New York and Bloomberg News.