Visit the search room
Where to find the archives
You are welcome to visit our public search room and do your own research. We are open Tuesday to Thursday from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm. You can find us in the City Chambers, on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
Before you visit
Please contact us before your visit about the records you want to see. It can take up to a week to make some records available as a lot of our collections are held off-site. We have also introduced set retrieval times in our search room, so if you have not orderd records out in advance we will only do retrievals from our repository within the City Chambers at
Find out about the records we hold.
Tightening security requirements in the City Chambers now means that all visitors need to let us know an arrival date and time in advance of any visit. Please note that if you do not provide a date and time you may have to wait up to 30 minutes for entry into the archives.
Some records are confidential by law and may not be seen for a certain time. Staff will let you know of these at the time of your request.
We have rules for all visitors to follow to protect our records. You can download these below.
During your visit
You should arrive at the main entrance to the City Chambers, where you will be issued with a vistor pass by staff at the reception. You will then be escorted down to the archives by a member of staff.
When you come into the archives you will be asked to complete a reader registration form. The duty archivist will help you find the records you need.
You can reference records in our search room but you can’t take them away or borrow them.
You should bring your own paper and pencil for note taking, along with a note of any reference numbers you have.
You can’t photocopy records but you can bring your own camera to take a limited number of images yourself. We will ask you to turn off the flash on your camera.
When you leave the archives a member of staff will take you to the 14 Cockburn Street exit.