- Arrietty Clock – An adventurous fourteen-year-old Borrower girl who is not allowed to go borrowing with her father until her mother decides to let her. Then she meets the Boy. She knows how to read, owns a collection of pocket-sized books, and enjoys looking out of the grating and writing in her diary.
- Pod Clock – Arrietty's father and, according to his wife, the most talented Borrower.
- Homily Clock – Arrietty's mother. She has a bony nose and untidy hair (though she starts curling it later on), is often cross, has a taste for fine things (such as dollhouse furniture), and is terrified of the thought of emigrating and living in a badger sett.
- Hendreary Clock – Arrietty's uncle. He was on the fireplace mantel when the maid came to dust and attempted to pass himself off as a knick-knack but sneezed when he was dusted. He later emigrated to a badger sett with his family. He went fishing in a bowl of soup to see if he could reel up any chunks of food from the soup.
- Lupy (Rain-Pipe Harpsichord) Clock – Uncle Hendreary's wife. Homily describes her as apt to put on airs because of her association with the Harpsichord family. She has three sons and a stepdaughter, Eggletina.
- Eggletina Clock – Uncle Hendreary's daughter by his first marriage. She wandered away and disappeared after a cat had been brought into the house, leading her family to think the cat ate her. Eggletina is used as a warning to Arrietty about what could happen if she is 'seen'; however, in the second book Eggletina is discovered alive and well.
- Big People
- Kate – A "wild, untidy, self-willed little girl" of 10 years. It is through Kate that the story of The Borrowers is told. Not much of Kate is in the middle of the story.
- The Boy – At ten years old he leaves his home in India to recover from an illness at the country home of his great-aunt near Leighton Buzzard. He discovers and befriends the Borrowers.
- Mrs May; Aunt May – The Boy's sister. As an elderly woman, she tells Kate the story of the Borrowers that was told to her by her brother.
- Great Aunt Sophy – The Boy's bedridden, elderly great-aunt who has a penchant for Fine Old Pale Madeira. Pod often comes to her room to borrow when she has had too much to drink - she believes that Pod is a hallucination. Also referred to as "Her".
- Mrs Driver – The housekeeper and cook. She is described by the Boy as fat with a mustache and is constantly threatening to "take her slipper" to him.
- Crampfurl – The gardener.
- Rosa Pickhatchet – A maid who once worked in the house. She gave notice after seeing Pod's brother, Hendreary Clock.
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