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Plan Your Visit

The Parliamentary Archives is open to the public and free to access. However, because of our location on the Parliamentary Estate there are three steps that all visitors to the Archives must follow.

1) Order your documents

Search our online catalogue using the search box at the top of this page. If you find documents you would like to see, make a note of the:

  • Title
  • Catalogue reference

To place an order and book your seat email: 

See below for further information about booking your seat.

  • Include the document(s) title and catalogue reference in your email.
  • You can order a maximum of 12 documents in advance.
  • Orders must be placed by 1:00pm one working day before your visit.

You’ll have the opportunity to order more documents once you arrive. We operate scheduled retrievals of up to 6 documents at 11:30am and 2:00pm

Not all documents can be accessed immediately 

Some records are marked ‘Closed’ on our catalogue. This means they are not ordinarily open to the public. However, if you submit a request in writing we will process it as a Freedom of Information Request. This means we will review the content of the documents, assess if they can be made available, and contact you with the outcome.

We use off-site storage for some records, such as plans. We require at least 2 workings days’ notice to retrieve these records. Similarly, Original Acts often require remedial conservation work before they can be accessed. This can take up to 3 working days to complete. If you think you may want to view material that falls into these categories please get in touch as soon as possible.

2) Book your seat

Visits are by appointment only – you must book your seat at least 2 working days before you plan to visit, and provide the references of the documents you wish to see. There are limited seats in our searchroom, so do get in touch as soon as you can.

Phone: 020 7219 3074

3) Bring photographic identification

For security purposes, all visitors must have photographic identification with them. Acceptable forms of photographic ID are:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • National ID card
  • Student card
  • Warrant card
  • Government/local council staff ID card
  • Pensioner’s bus pass
  • Parliamentary pass
  • British Library reader pass
  • The National Archives reader’s ticket

For information about what to do on the day of your visit, please see our When You Arrive pages.