Visit the Archive and Library

Our Archive is one of the largest publicly accessible archives in the UK dedicated to the historic environment. The Historic England Library is also open to the public for reference use and holds over 60,000 books, journals and reports relating to the historic environment of England.

Opening times

The Public Search Room and the Historic England Library are open Tuesday to Friday 9.30am - 5pm.

We are closed on Mondays, Bank Holidays and over the Christmas and New Year period. 

In the event of severe winter weather, please call us before travelling to Swindon.


We aim to make the Archive as accessible as possible to all users. If you have any specific access requirements, please contact us before your visit.


There is limited car parking available. Please call us to book a space.

Disabled access

Please contact our Reception team on 01793 414700 if you require disabled parking. This is a short distance from the main entrance, which has ramped access. The entrance doors are automated and can be opened using the buttons. The Library is on the ground floor and the Search Room is accessible by lift. We have a portable hearing loop.

There are public toilets on the ground floor.

On-site café

Our café is open until 15.00 and serves hot and cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches.


You can safely store anything you can't take with you in a locker at Reception. You'll be given a clear wallet to carry essentials.


Coin-operated copiers are available in the Search Room and Library and you may use a hand-held camera (there is a fee to photograph archive items). 

Visiting the Search Room and Library

You don't have to make an appointment before visiting, but we strongly recommend that you contact us in advance to check that what you're hoping to see will be available.

We are happy for you to bring these items into the Search Room and Library:

  • Pencil and paper/notebook
  • Laptop
  • Hand-held digital camera
  • Valuables
  • A small handbag

Please don't bring any of the following into the Search Room or Library:

  • Food or drink
  • Large bags (A4 size or larger), outdoor coats, umbrellas, etc.
  • Scanners
  • Camera tripods/stands
  • Anything that might mark material (pens, felt tips, newspapers, etc.)

You can help care for our archive material by wearing the gloves provided in the Search Room and following the handling instructions given.

Tours of the Archive

We are now taking bookings for tours of the Archive from October 2017 onwards. 

Our tour will give your group a chance to see the range of material held in the Archive and advice on how to use it for research. They are an ideal introduction for local and family history societies, university or college students or any group interested in the historic buildings, archaeology, landscapes and social history of England.   

The tour lasts approximately 1.5 - 2 hours and is available Monday - Friday starting at 10am or 2pm. It includes:

  • a talk about our collections
  • a visit to the Library and Public Search Room
  • a look inside the environmentally-controlled archive store itself

Tours cost £10 per person (minimum charge £100) and are limited to a maximum of 20 people. We can only take bookings a minimum of eight weeks in advance. 

If you would like to find out more about our tours, please contact us on 01793 414600 or email [email protected]

A selection of rare antiquarian books on library shelves in the Historic England Reference Library.
A selection from our rare book collection that are widely used for historic environment research in the Historic England Reference Library, Swindon. © Historic England DP058071.
Was this page helpful?


Old black phone
Archive Services

The Engine House,
Fire Fly Avenue,

View On Map



Historic England

The Engine House,
Fire Fly Avenue,

View On Map