Researching here

Coronavirus update: The National Archives is closed to visitors until further notice. Please see our news story for updates.

Find information on our on site and offsite research facilities to help you make the most of your visit to The National Archives.

Some records are available to access online and you can apply for a reader’s ticket online too, which will enable you to access these records.

We will shortly begin construction of two major new learning spaces within our library and document reading room (first floor), which means that fewer seats will be available to researchers over the next few months. If you are planning to visit us soon, please order your documents in advance to ensure that we reserve a seat for you.


You can pre-order up to 12 original documents to view in our reading rooms when you visit:

Pre-order documents

Are you using archives for the first time? Here are some tips for getting started with your research.

You can pre-order original documents before your visit so they are ready for you when you arrive; you can also order documents on site. Some documents are available to download as digital records. You can also request digital or paper copies of many of the documents in our collection.

To help us preserve the records for future generations, please observe our guidance for using the reading rooms and handling documents.

As the official public archive of the United Kingdom government, we hold records covering more than 1,000 years of history.

Research here can be very rewarding, but also time-consuming. Find out more about the help and support we can provide.

You may need a reader’s ticket to view certain documents. Get more information about how to apply for one or renew your existing one.

Libraries are often the best place to start archival research. Our library is open to the public for browsing and reference only.

Everyone visiting The National Archives has a responsibility to preserve the documents in our care.