Aluminium adjuvants are potent enhancers of immune responses. Despite being a component in most human and animal vaccines, their specific mode of action remains elusive. We have used a sheep lymphatic cannulation model to directly measure the trafficking of soluble and particulate antigen in real-time from the site of injection. Aluminium adjuvant does not alter the kinetics of antigen flow from the site of injection; however it does reduce the amount of soluble antigen entering into afferent lymph. Large numbers of neutrophils, but not DCs, were recruited into the lymph in both saline and aluminium-injected sites and were predominantly responsible for the early uptake of particulate antigen into the lymphatic. Aluminium adjuvant did not significantly increase neutrophil uptake but markedly increased the subsequent uptake of particulate antigen by DCs from 48 to 72 h after antigen injection. Thus, the adjuvanticity of aluminium does not correlate with slow antigen release or increased cell recruitment, but with retention of antigen at the site of injection, and increased uptake of particulate antigen by mature migratory DCs after 24h.