Booking a visit to view our documents

Use this service to book a visit to view our documents.

Book a visit to view our documents

Which documents can I see?

Choose between a visit with a:

  • standard advance document order (up to 12 documents plus 3 reserves) – a 1-day visit.
  • bulk advance document order (if you want to see 20-40 documents all from the same series) – a 1-day visit.

The 1921 Census of England and Wales is now available to access in digital format in our reading rooms, free of charge. You do not need to book to do this, although we may operate timed slots at particularly busy times to help manage demand.

See our opening times.

How do I book?

Booking a visit to view our documents is a 5-step online process:

  1. Select a date
  2. Enter your details
  3. Your visit details
  4. Order documents: confirm your booking
  5. Order complete

If you do not have your document references to hand, you can still complete Steps 1-3 to secure your date of visit, then return at a later stage to complete Steps 4-5. You can return to Steps 4-5 up to 5 working days before your visit date.

During your visit, you will be able to order additional documents to view (an additional three documents at a time).

Use Discovery, our catalogue, to gather your document references.

You will need a reader’s ticket (if you don’t have one you can register for one to make a provisional booking.

Terms of booking

New slots for booking are made available every day. You no longer need to book a visit to use our reading rooms, but we strongly encourage it to ensure that you have a seat.

Each booking is for one person only on a first-come, first-served basis – you will not be able to bring anyone with you, unless they book a visit themselves or have a duty of care.

There is a reasonable limit of 36 bookings in 12 weeks. Multiple bookings cannot be made for the same date.

Please be thoughtful and considerate of others when you book – we may cancel your booking if you exceed our reasonable limit.

Access requirements

All seats in our reading rooms are accessible. There is a lift in the building.

Read more information about the access we provide.

Research requests

Our reference library and enquiry services are open to all. You can request library materials, camera stands, microfilm/fiche or finding/preservation aids when making your booking, or ask for them when you arrive. We cannot guarantee that all of the research materials you request will be available for your visit.

Computer access is now available to all visitors.

Camera stands

Visitors who want to use a camera stand should request one using the ‘Access needs and research requests’ box when you order your documents in step 4.

Prepare for your visit

Find out about what you can expect when you visit.