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 the services are free, but we do charge for some additional services and help.

When you visit us you will be asked to sign in to confirm your agreement to abide by a few basic rules, such as 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

  • Reader's ticket - You will need to bring your County Archives Research Network card (CARN). If you don’t have a ticket, bring proof of identity that includes your address and signature (a driving licence is ideal, or a household utility bill with a debit card). We cannot accept UK passports alone as proof of identity as they do not show your address. Readers' tickets are issued free of charge. Please note: A new reader's ticket scheme will be introduced shortly - see initial guidance on this page under 'Additional information'.
  • Paper and pencils - We only allow pencils to be used in the searchroom to protect the documents.
  • 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.


Record Office facilities

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, including 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

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Opening hours

Opening hours: Read from left to right and down for days of the week and associated opening times.
We are unable to produce original documents (including maps) between 12.15pm and 1.30pm. Documents are also not produced after 4.15pm on weekdays and 4.00pm on Saturdays.
Monday Closed
Tuesday-Friday 9.15am-4.45pm
Saturday 9.15am-12.30pm
Sunday Closed

Additional information

The Record Office is closed until further notice, with the exception of registration appointments, due to the threat posed by the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. In addition to the closure of the searchroom, the office are unable to accept deposits of archives. Our ability to deal with both email and written enquiries will also be severely restricted. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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

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

Summer bank holiday closures

• Saturday 29 August to Monday 31 August 2020 (inclusive), reopening on Tuesday 1 September

New scheme for reader’s tickets coming soon!

The County Archives Research Network card (CARN) scheme will close on 31 March 2020 and the new Archives Card will be introduced. Please note that you will need to register for the new card, show two forms of ID and submit a photo (a webcam will be available in our foyer). You will also need a unique email address.

You can complete most of the registration process yourself on the Archives Card website, where more information is available, but there may be a short delay before we are able to issue you with a card; until then, your in-date CARN ticket will be valid.

Once the scheme is in operation, you must have a valid Archives Card if you wish to view original documents in the Searchroom.

If you need help with setting up an email account, you may wish to consider booking a computer buddy session through the Library Service.

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.