Site facilities

We offer reading aids to visitors who are partially sighted for use in the reading rooms. We do not hold Braille versions of the records. Visitors with little or no sight are advised to bring an assistant who can read or take photographs of documents, but you will both need to book your visit in advance.

The following accessible research facilities are available in the reading rooms:

Magnifying equipment

We recommend a range of magnifying equipment for use in our reading rooms:

  • Magnifying glasses – of which there is only a limited number available in the reading rooms, so we recommend that you bring your own
  • Electronic document magnifiers – these link to screens using CCTV-type technology, which enlarges the text. They can’t be used to read original documents but can be used with books, publications and indexes
  • Ultra-violet (UV) lamps – may be used for a limited time to read faint writing (please ask staff for help). The lamps are located in the Map and Large Document Reading Room, but you can arrange to use them on the first floor. UV lamps must be signed out to readers due to health and safety regulations

Sign language

We have members of staff who can sign. Please note that they may not be available at all times.

Our website has a wide selection of podcast talks, a variety of which have British Sign Language video versions available.

Induction loop systems

The National Archives has induction loop systems at most enquiry desks (Readers Registration Desk, Open Reading Room, Research Enquiries desks, Document Reading Room Information desk, Map and Large Document Reading Room) and in the Talks Room. Please contact us for further information.

Accessible toilets

There are wheelchair accessible toilets on all floors of The National Archives. All of our accessible toilets have level access, some from the lift. The toilet doors are 910mm wide, there is 1200mm in front of the toilet, and the seat is 425mm high with handrails.

Our accessible toilets are located in the following areas:

The Public Restaurant toilets (Ground floor)

These are toilets for men and women in the Public Restaurant area on the ground floor, with an accessible toilet inside.

First floor lift area

This is a public toilet for visitors with accessibility needs. The toilet is located by the lift outside the Research and Enquiries Room on the first floor, with level access.

Read our detailed access guide on AccessAble