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Planning Your Visit

You are welcome to book to use the search-rooms on or after 15th April 2021.

From 15th April, Hawarden branch will be open on Thursdays only.

From 16th April, Ruthin branch will be open on Fridays only.

Opening hours are 10am-4.30pm with a lunchtime closure between 12.45pm and 1.45pm.

Find out what to expect in the search-room at Hawarden here.

Find out what to expect in the search-room at Ruthin here.

When can I visit the archives?

You can find out when we are open here.

You can find out how to get to our Hawarden and Ruthin branches here.

What do I need to do before my visit?

Pre-register for an Archives Card

You will need to visit to pre-register for an Archives Card (this card replaced the CARN system from February 2020). After submitting your application you must visit an Archive within 3 months with two forms of ID to receive your card. For more information see how to get a card. You need to apply for a card if you wish to view original documents in our office or any of the archives participating in the scheme.

Register as a new user online

You can register on this website here. You will need to register online to pre-order documents, view original material in the search-room and book to use a microfilm reader or computer. Please note that this is a separate registration process to the Archives Card above.

Book to use the search-rooms

You must book in advance to use our search-rooms at least 72 hours before you intend to visit.

Pre-order your documents

All documents must be ordered in advance of your visit and they will be ready to view when you arrive. You are limited to 10 documents per visit. To do this you must register, add items of interest to your wishlist and book a date to visit the office.

Take extra care to note the location of the collection or item you wish to order. Only records held at Ruthin will be available during branch opening hours at Ruthin, only records held at Hawarden will be available during branch opening hours at Hawarden. We cannot transport records between branches. Please contact us if you have any issues with this process.

Please note that not all catalogue entries can be ordered. This may be due to the size of the item (for example where it takes two members of staff to move an item out of storage) or if the item has been accessed by someone else recently. We will advise prior to your visit if anything you have ordered is inaccessible.

What do I need to bring with me when I visit?


You will need an Archives Card to use the service and you will need to bring it with you every time you visit us.

If you don’t already have an Archives Card you will need to pre-register online. You are then required to bring two forms of ID with you on your first visit. More details on acceptable forms of ID are available on the Archives Card website.

Archive cards are issued at the office free of charge. Your Archives Card is valid for five years from date of issue.


You should also bring paper and a pencil to make notes. Pens are not allowed.


You can bring a laptop or tablet to work on, but power sockets for charging are only available at our Hawarden branch. We have access to free Wi-Fi at the Ruthin branch only.

Cameras are allowed with no flash, or any sound that may disturb other researchers.  You will be asked to complete a permission form for digital photography, and pay our standard charge.