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Visiting the Archives & Library

Visiting the Archives & Library



How to find us

Click map to enlarge

The Archives and Library of Canterbury Cathedral welcome all researchers with interests in our collections.

Access to the collections of the Archives and Library is provided according to our Access Policy.

The Archives and Library reading room is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10.00am until 4:30pm, with a closure over lunchtime. Spaces are limited; please email [email protected] to make a booking, giving at least five working days’ notice.

Please arrive at the Visitor Centre by the Christ Church Gate. Our reading room regulations are available here.

The Reading Room will be closed on the following dates:

  • Monday 11th March – Friday 15th March 2024
  • Monday 25th March - Friday 5th April 2024
  • Monday 19th August – Friday 30th August 2024
  • Monday 11th November – Friday 15th November 2024
  • Monday 23rd December 2024 – Friday 3rd January 2025

For the Cathedral’s Privacy Notice, please click here.

Readers’ tickets

For a reader’s ticket, please bring photo ID with proof of your current address (eg a photocard driving licence). We can issue a reader’s ticket when you visit; there is no need to apply for one in advance.

As from 1 September 2023, we will be issuing new readers’ tickets linked to the Cathedral Pass system. Old-style readers’ tickets will no longer be valid after 1st January 2024. Please email us [email protected] for further information.

NEW – Library visits

A visit to our magnificent Howley-Harrison Library, with a display of highlights from our printed collections. Visits take place at 2pm, lasting about 45 minutes. Cost £8 per person; booking required. Visit not suitable for children under 12. For available dates and to book, please click here.

Family History

For more information about the branch, and useful information about family history research in the Canterbury area, see

Copying services

We offer a range of reprographic services: please see our price list.
We also offer self-service photography in our reading room: please see the permit application form for further information.

Permission to publish

Those wishing to publish images from our collections should complete our permission to publish form.


The Archives will respond to routine enquiries about its collections. We aim to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days. For commissioning genealogical research and other detailed research on our collections, please see our Independent Researchers list.

Information for depositors

The Cathedral Archives collects according to the Cathedral’s Collection Development policy. Material can be accepted as a gift, loan (deposit) or bequest. See here for our gift and loan agreements. Please contact us to arrange the delivery of new material.


Useful links

Lambeth Palace Library where the papers of the Archbishops of Canterbury are held. See also for useful research guides.

Kent History and Library Centre for the County Council’s archive centre.

Medway Archives Centre

The National Archives

Special Collections and Archives at the University of Kent where the papers of Dean Hewlett Johnson, and other archive collections are held.

Findmypast – a leading family history website, which includes parish registers from the Cathedral Archives

Canterbury Probate Records (1396-1858) Database

Kent Archaeological Society – Monumental inscriptions for Kent parishes

The Kent Family History Society, Canterbury Branch

Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society

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