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It is important to us that our building and services are accessible for all visitors and staff.
Information for disabled visitors
At The National Archives, we provide full access to all our public areas; there is a lift to upper floors, and the building and grounds are wheelchair-friendly. We also have a range of facilities in our reading rooms to help you with your research.
Please remember that you must book your visit in advance. If you are visiting with a personal assistant, both of you will need to book your visit and have a valid reader’s ticket.
Please contact us before your visit if you have any queries about accessibility.
Download our accessibility guide.
Car parking for disabled visitors
We have a visitor car park which has level access. The route is at least 3200mm wide.
There are a number of free accessible parking bays at the rear entrance of the building (which are approximately 60 metres from the entrance door). The parking bays are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please book a space ahead of your visit by calling or emailing us so we can assist as appropriate.
If the accessible parking bays are full, the main visitors’ car park is approximately 200 metres from the main entrance to the building. Both front and rear entrances are accessible for people who use wheelchairs.
The nearest drop-off point to The National Archives is at the rear of the building adjacent to the designated accessible parking spaces. On arrival, you will pass through a security barrier, where you will need to inform security staff on the intercom whether you are dropping someone off or parking in one of the bays. Please bring your blue badge.
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:
We recommend a range of magnifying equipment for use in our reading rooms:
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.
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.
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.
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 (Ground floor)
Document Reading Room (First floor)
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
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.
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.
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 are welcome in all public areas at The National Archives.