Opening times and your visit

Lancashire Archives and Local Studies

Bow Lane, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2RE

Your visit

You are welcome to visit at any time during our opening hours to look at original archive documents, use a public computer, look at microform material, listen to digitised sound archives, or access our local history printed collections in the searchroom library.

You can walk in at any time during our opening hours or book in advance to guarantee a seat in the searchroom.

Many of our collections require staff to retrieve them from the strongrooms. To help guarantee your documents are ready when you arrive, we encourage researchers using original archive documents to make an appointment, giving 2 working days' notice.

If you can't make an advance appointment you can still visit to talk through your enquiry with staff and we will aim to retrieve any documents required within 15 minutes of your arrival.

Archives Card

We are part of the Archives Card network. Registering for an Archives Card helps you quickly access collections in Archives around the country. We ask visitors who wish to use the archive collections to show a valid Archives Card if you have one or register if you do not. You can access the archives as a day visitor but having an archives card helps speed up the process of signing in on entering the archives when you visit Lancashire Archives or any other service using the Archives Card scheme. Find out how to get an Archives Card.

Rules and what to expect

Lancashire’s archives are irreplaceable. To help preserve them we ask you to read and observe the searchroom rules.

Please bring your own pencils and paper. Pens are not allowed in the searchroom. You may bring your own laptop or tablet to use; power sockets and Wi-Fi are available free of charge. You may also bring a camera or phone to photograph documents, but please note that a fee is payable for this facility. 

We ask researchers consulting original records to put other personal belongings (bags, coats etc.) in the lockers provided.

Our team are the experts on the collections we hold and are happy to answer queries and questions in the searchroom, offer recommendations for new sources to look at and help you interpret the records you are examining.

Whilst the searchroom is a quiet research space, we welcome group research visits and want to create an inclusive space for researchers of all backgrounds and interests.

Photography and copies

You can take photographs of documents for private research for a fee of £12 per day, or £6 for a single document.  Please talk to a member of staff before taking photographs.

For documents in the collections DDBBDDBLDDCL and DDKE, permission (which we can arrange on your behalf) from the depositor is needed before copies can be made or photographs taken - please contact us well in advance stating which documents you're interested in and what use you plan to make of them, including photographic reproduction so that we can arrange this before your visit.

Quotations made from handwritten notes may be made freely and without restriction.

Contact us

Ask us a question about our collections or what to expect if you visit

Book your appointment to view original documents

Tel: 01772 533039 Email:

Opening times

The Archives is closed on bank and public holidays and some additional days.

Day Times
Monday Closed
Tuesday 9:30am - 5pm
Wednesday 9:30am - 5pm
Thursday 9:30am - 5pm
Friday 9:30am - 5pm
Saturday Second Saturday of the month 10am - 4pm
Sunday Closed
The Archives are open on the second Saturday of the month between 10am and 4pm.

2024 dates Saturday 8 June, 13 July, 10 August, 14 September, 12 October, 9 November, 14 December.


  • Research seats (for looking at original archives): 12
  • Public access computers: 3
  • Listening post for sound archives: 1
  • Microfilm and microfiche readers: 8


The archive search room is at first floor level, accessible by lift. An accessible toilet is available.

Car parking

There is visitor parking at Lancashire Archives, including two spaces for Blue Badge holders. Visitors may prefer to use one of the park and ride services. The park and ride buses stop near Preston railway station. 

Find car parks in Preston

The charging structure for the pay and display parking is:

  • Up to 1 hr £1.00
  • Up to 2 hrs £1.60
  • Up to 4 hrs £3.20
  • Over 4 hrs £4.00

The machines take cash payments only. To phone and pay by card there is a small additional fee.

For visitors displaying a blue badge permit, the first three hours are free, after which the standard charges apply.


By train. Preston station, on the West Coast main line, is a 5 minute walk from Lancashire Archives.

By bus. Local and long-distance buses stop near the railway station or at Preston bus station, a 15 minute walk from Lancashire Archives.