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Plan Your Visit

The Parliamentary Archives Search Room is open to visitors with appointments on a limited basis. Appointments are available on the following dates:

Tuesday 23 August
Thursday 25 August
Friday 26 August (The search room will close at 12pm)
Tuesday 30 August

Thursday 1 September
Friday 2 September
Monday 5 September
Tuesday 6 September
Wednesday 7 September
Thursday 8 September
Friday 9 September
Monday 12 September
Tuesday 13 September
Thursday 15 September
Friday 16 September

Please note additional dates in September will be added in due course.

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

See below for further information about booking your seat.

  • Include the document(s) title and catalogue reference in your email.
  • Orders must be placed five working days before your visit.
  • Please list your document order in order of priority. We would normally retrieve up to 12 documents in advance; requests for larger orders will be dealt with at the discretion of Parliamentary Archives staff. We will do our best to retrieve as many documents for each visit as is reasonably practicable, however there are constraints.
  • Please note we cannot retrieve any additional records on the day. Final orders must therefore be made five working days in advance of your visit.

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. Similarly, Original Acts often require remedial conservation work before they can be accessed. All orders must be placed five working days before your visit, but in these cases more time may be required. 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 5 working days before you plan to visit, and provide the references of the documents you wish to see. Search room capacity has been reduced to four readers a day, so do get in touch as soon as you can.

Email: archives@parliament.uk

All booking requests will be dealt with in the order they are received.

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.