Planning a visit

Admission to the Royal Berkshire Archives is free.

Normal opening times: We are open 09:00 to 17:00 Tuesday to Thursday; 09:00 to 16:30 Friday. We are also open until 21:00 on the first or second Thursday of the month. Please ask staff for details when planning a visit. We do not open on Mondays, weekends or Bank Holidays.

Christmas 2023

We be closed from 25th to 29th December 2023. We will reopen at 09:00 on Tuesday 2nd January 2024 (we do not open on Mondays, weekends or Bank Holidays).

If you plan to visit us during the week of 2nd to 5th January 2024, please aim to book by 22nd December 2023 at the latest. Thank you.

Please also see our Contact Us page for details of other times we might be closed.

How to make a booking

To avoid disappointment, it is advisable to book a place in advance to visit us. So please do not travel without making a booking.

We do not have an online booking facility so please contact us via email or call 0118 937 5132 during our opening hours.

We suggest that you contact us in advance to ensure that both the sources you need and the facilities you require are available when you need them.

We also suggest that children under the age of 11 are accompanied by an adult, as many historical sources require some interpretation. Please bear in mind that the searchroom has a quiet atmosphere which is not suitable for very young children.

Archives Card

We require visitors looking at original documents to register for an Archives Card which is a national scheme allowing visitors to use one card to visit all participating archive services.

Registration needs to be done in advance of your visit which is then completed when you arrive.

Full details on how to sign up and what ID is required, can be found on the Archives Card website.

If you are unable to apply for an Archives Card, you will need to bring some form of ID with address and/or signature with you on your visit to be issued a Day Pass in order look at original documents. This will only be valid for the day of your visit.

Your Archives Card or Day Pass will be kept on the shelf holding the records you intend to look at for the duration of your visit, so please remember to take it into the searchroom with you.

CARN tickets - we will continue to accept CARN tickets that are in date, but not all record offices are doing so. Therefore it is advisable to replace an old CARN ticket with an Archives Card when you can.

An Archives Card or Day Pass are not required for looking at library material, microfilm/microfiche or the computers, but please be prepared to apply for one should you need to look at original records at any point on your visit.


Bookings will be made available one month in advance. You may book to visit any time during our opening hours.

It is advisable to book at least two working days in advance as demand for bookings is high.  We will not always be able to accommodate your request so please be prepared to consider alternative dates as a result. Thank you.

Please specify exactly what you would like to look at and if you are booking for more than one person as there are limits on how many people we can accommodate as follows:

Original Documents

  • We have space for two visitors to look at maps.
  • We have space for up to ten visitors to look at original documents.

We ask that you please pre-order up to six documents in advancePlease take a moment to use our online catalogue before you make a booking in order to find the references of the documents you wish to look at. Thank you.

Computers - for free access to Ancestry, Find My Past and the British Newspapers Online Archive

  • We have space for three visitors to look at computers.

Microform and Library

  • We have space for up to eleven visitors to look at microfilm/microfiche and library material.

Please remember to Contact Us to make a booking.  Thank you.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you wish to cancel a booking, as this will open it for someone else to take.

Please see our When you arrive page for more details on what to expect when you get here.