The year 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of modern ultrafast optics, since the demonstration of the first Kerr lens modelocked Ti:sapphire laser in 1990 (Spence et al 1990 Conf. on Lasers and Electro-Optics, CLEO, pp 619-20) heralded an explosion of scientific and engineering innovation. The impact of this disruptive technology extended well beyond the previous discipline boundaries of lasers, reaching into biology labs, manufacturing facilities, and even consumer healthcare and electronics. In recognition of such a milestone, this roadmap on Ultrafast Optics draws together articles from some of the key opinion leaders in the field to provide a freeze-frame of the state-of-the-art, while also attempting to forecast the technical and scientific paradigms which will define the field over the next 25 years. While no roadmap can be fully comprehensive, the thirteen articles here reflect the most exciting technical opportunities presented at the current time in Ultrafast Optics. Several articles examine the future landscape for ultrafast light sources, from practical solid-state/fiber lasers and Raman microresonators to exotic attosecond extreme ultraviolet and possibly even zeptosecond x-ray pulses. Others address the control and measurement challenges, requiring radical approaches to harness nonlinear effects such as filamentation and parametric generation, coupled with the question of how to most accurately characterise the field of ultrafast pulses simultaneously in space and time. Applications of ultrafast sources in materials processing, spectroscopy and time-resolved chemistry are also discussed, highlighting the improvements in performance possible by using lasers of higher peak power and repetition rate, or by exploiting the phase stability of emerging new frequency comb sources.