Entrances and getting around

Both the front and rear entrances to The National Archives are accessible to people who use wheelchairs. The rear entrance is closer to the accessible parking bays.

Outside view of the front entrance porch, outer sliding doors to inner revolving door, and accessible doors.

Outside view of the front entrance porch, outer sliding doors to inner revolving door, and accessible doors

There is level access from the street to the front entrance, and the path is at least 2000mm wide. The outer door of the front entrance is 1050mm wide, sliding and automatic. The inner door is revolving and automatic, with button-activated access doors at either side.

Both the front and rear entrances have touchpad-operated power doors. Doorbells to request assistance from the welcome desk are located outside both entrances.

Indoor areas and access

Welcome Desk
Document Reading Room
Lift access

Welcome Desk (Ground floor)

  • The foyer area is at least 7000mm wide and the door is at least 2000mm wide
  • The Welcome Desk has a low section

Document Reading Room (First floor)

  • From the main entrance to this area, there is level access from the lift
  • From the lift to the Document Reading Room, the route is at least 970mm wide and the narrowest door is 920mm wide
  • Some display information is situated in a low position, and there is seating provided
  • There is a hearing loop and videos have subtitles

Lift access

  • We have one public lift which serves the first and second floors
  • The lift door is 920mm wide. The lift is 900mm wide and 1350mm deep
  • The lift announces and shows the floor number at each floor and the buttons have raised numbers/letters

Emergency Evacuation

We have emergency evacuation procedures for disabled visitors. All public staff are trained to assist with evacuating visitors safely and appropriately.

The fire alarm is a continuous bell with flashing lights.

Outdoor areas and access

Pocket Park

  • At the front of the building and open to all visitors, the ‘Pocket Park’ is a grassy and pebbled area with picnic benches
  • Each route to and from the main entrance and car park is at least 1050mm wide
  • Assistance dogs can be walked and toileted in the park, but please dispose of dog mess in the outdoor bins provided

Smoking area

  • The smoking area has a shelter and level access, and is located through the rear entrance doors
  • The entrance is 1050mm wide

Mobility difficulties

This is a large building, so if you have mobility difficulties, or are using crutches, you may wish to bring someone to assist you. Please remember that both you and your assistant will need to produce two forms of identification if you wish to look at original records.

  • The front entrance is approximately 200 metres from the car park, and approximately 0.75 km from Kew Gardens station
  • There is no bus service to Kew Gardens station, but there is to Richmond station
  • Please ask at the welcome desk if you require a taxi. See Accessible travel for further information

Borrowing wheelchairs

We have three wheelchairs available for visitors, on a first-come, first-served basis. They are kept in the main entrance hall. If you would like further information, please contact us.

Heavy documents

Many documents are fragile and very heavy, and we advise you to take extra care when handling them. If you need help carrying items to your table, please ask a member of staff to assist you.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome in all public areas at The National Archives.

Read our detailed access guide on AccessAble