West Sussex Record Office

Visiting the Record Office

3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD

How to get to the Record Office, opening times and other information for your visit.

Tell me more

Information to help you plan your visit, including opening times, contact details, where to park and what to bring with you.


The Record Office is open to anyone who wants to use the archives. Most of our services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

When you register for an Archives Card, you will be confirming that you agree to follow a few basic rules. This includes using pencils only in the searchroom and handling documents with care.

You will then be able to enter the searchroom to conduct your research.

Visitor information

Car parking

Parking at the Record Office

A limited car park is available on weekdays, which needs to be booked in advance. A fee of £3.75 is charged for morning or afternoon, or £7.50 for the whole day. On arrival, pull over in the side road next to the Record Office and collect a token from reception before proceeding to the car park.

There is one allocated space for disabled drivers, located directly behind the Record Office. This must be booked before visiting.

Please note: Parking spaces are available to Record Office visitors only and cannot be used by visitors to the Registration Service or HM Coroner.

Saturday parking

On Saturdays, parking is available in the large car park at the end of the side road adjacent to the Record Office, accessed through a barrier (please do not use the Record Office staff car park). The car park is 'pay and display' and operated by Chichester District Council.

What to bring

What to bring when you visit

  • Archives Card – You will need to bring your Archives Card. The old County Archives Research Network (CARN) tickets are no longer valid. You will need to register for the Archives Card, show two forms of ID and submit a photo. You will also need a unique email address. The Archives Card is free of charge. You can complete most of the registration process yourself on the Archives Card website, where more information is available, particularly about acceptable forms of ID. You must have a valid Archives Card if you wish to view original documents in the searchroom.
  • Face covering – In line with Government guidance, visitors must bring and wear a face covering at all times.
  • Paper and pencils – We only allow pencils to be used in the searchroom to protect the documents. To help reduce the threat of COVID-19, please bring your own supplies.
  • Laptop – You can use a laptop in the searchroom.
  • Cameras - Cameras can be used, but we charge a daily fee and some collections are subject to restrictions. You will also need to complete a copyright declaration form. Find out more about photography in our searchroom.


Record Office facilities

To reduce the threat of COVID-19, the sale of drinks, confectionery, DVDs, books and other products in the Record Office Shop has been temporarily suspended. The visitors' tea room is also unavailable at this time.

Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are available in the visitors' tea room, and a small selection of confectionery can be purchased from reception. You are welcome to eat your own food in the visitors' tea room.

We have toilets and baby changing facilities within the Record Office building and free Wi-Fi is available.

We have a shop in our reception area where you can purchase a wide range of local history material. This includes books, CDs, DVDs and reproductions of photographs and documents.


Record Office accessibility

  • Access is available to all parts of the building open to the public.
  • Disabled parking needs to be booked in advance.
  • Microfilm and fiche readers with large magnification are available in the searchroom, as are large print versions of the searchroom information leaflets.
  • Portable hearing induction loops are available in the reception area and searchroom.
  • Seats that can be adjusted in height are available in the searchroom.
  • Disabled toilet.

If there are any other ways we may be of assistance, please contact us before your visit to discuss them.

Video tour

Please note: this video uses YouTube's automated captions, which we have edited for accuracy.

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Opening hours

Monday - Closed. Tuesday to Thursday - 9.15am-12.30pm, 1.30pm-4.45pm. Friday to Sunday - Closed.

Additional information

Re-opening of West Sussex Record Office

The Searchroom is open to the public for pre-booked appointments only. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, there will be slots available in the morning (9.15am-12.30pm) and afternoon (1.30pm-4.45pm).

To request an appointment and pre-order documents (up to 3 items initially), please email the Record Office at least 3 working days in advance. We regret that bookings cannot be made in person or by telephone. We look forward to seeing you soon.

For your safety and the safety of others, we expect you to wear a face covering whilst in the Record Office, unless you have an exemption.

If you would like to deposit archives, please email the Record Office for advice. An appointment will be arranged if it is necessary to visit the Record Office.

We close on all public holidays and the Saturday preceding a bank holiday.

We also close during the first two weeks of December for stocktaking.

New scheme for readers' tickets

The County Archives Research Network (CARN) card scheme has closed and the new Archives Card has been introduced. You will need to register for the new card, show two forms of ID and submit a photo. You will also need a unique email address. For more information, please see the details under our 'What to bring' section on this page.

Please note that you must have a valid Archives Card if you wish to view original documents in the searchroom.

Contact details

  • Email record.office@westsussex.gov.uk
  • Tel: 01243 753602
  • Address

    3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD
  • Additional information

    Our address for correspondence is: County Archivist, West Sussex Record Office, County Hall, Chichester, PO19 1RN

Find us

By car

We are based in the heart of Chichester, close to County Hall. The A27 trunk road runs through Chichester for links to Brighton and Portsmouth, while links to London are provided by the A23 and A24. Chichester is approached from the north via the A286 from Midhurst and the A285 from Petworth.

By train

We are about a 10 minute walk from Chichester train station, which is served by a regular train service from London Victoria. There are also services from Brighton and Portsmouth.

By bus

The closest bus stops are at Orchard Street, West Street (Cathedral) and Avenue de Chartres.