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Using the searchroom

Planning your visit

Opening hours

  • Tuesday - Thursday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm - for advance bookings to view manuscripts only 

For information about proposed changes to searchroom arrangements (including opening hours) from 1 July 2024, please see our opening times page.

Archives Card

You will need to register for an Archives Card before your visit. Go to to enter your details and upload a photograph. To complete your registration, bring two of the forms of ID listed when you visit.

Seat bookings

Tuesdays to Thursdays

We advise you to book in advance if you wish to view original documents, especially if you want to consult maps or sound recordings. We do not take bookings for microfilm and fiche readers.

You can book for the whole day or for a half-day session:

  • Morning 10am - 2pm
  • Afternoon 2 - 5pm

You can order up to two documents in advance when you book (more documents can be ordered on the day). Please ensure that we receive requests at least 24 hours before you plan to visit.

To book and to order documents, please email We will confirm your booking by email.


On Fridays, we are open 10am - 4pm for advance bookings to view manuscripts only.

Please email to book a place and order your documents. You may order four documents for the day. All documents must be ordered by 12 noon on the preceding Wednesday.

Due to limited staff availability on Fridays, you can only view pre-ordered documents. There are no document collections during the day.

To look at microfilms on Fridays, please go to the Norfolk Heritage Centre, which holds copies of most NRO microfilms.

Locating documents for your research

Search our online catalogue to identify which documents you wish to see and make a note of their reference numbers.

The catalogue includes set searches for popular searches (such as maps, parish registers and wills). See our help pages for guidance on using the catalogue. You can find further advice in the 'Using NROCAT' videos on the NRO's YouTube channel - how to. Our research guides suggest documents useful for many topics, such as tracing your family history or the history of your house. Our Guide to holdings gives an overview of the collections we hold.

Whilst most documents are available to consult, there are restrictions on using documents marked in the catalogue as:

  • 'Unfit for production' or 'fragile'
  • On microfilm - please consult the microfilm copy instead (except for maps, where we produce the originals unless they are unfit for production)
  • On restricted access because they contain sensitive information - you will need written permission from the document's owner to see them

Please contact us if you need further advice.