CASTLE AND GARDENS OPEN Thursday to Monday (closed Tuesday & Wednesday) 

The Archives

The Argyll Papers: the estate and family archive of the earls and dukes of Argyll

The archive collection at Inveraray Castle records the lives and activities of the earls and dukes and their families, their involvement in political and historical events, and the management of their extensive estates in Argyll and across Scotland.

Visiting the Archives

His Grace the Duke of Argyll is happy to make his archive available to visitors and researchers from all over the world, who are interested in the history of his family or investigating family and local history, Gaelic and Celtic studies, military, political, economic and social history, agriculture and industry, architecture and more.
Behind the scenes access to the private family and estate archive of the Duke of Argyll – discover the historical evidence of the family, their activities, their role as leaders of Clan Campbell and how they managed their extensive estates.  

To book an individual research visit or a group visit, please email: 

  • Contact us with (ideally) a couple of possible dates and preferred times 
  • Give us a little info about your group – numbers, nationalities etc 
  • Let us know what sort of visit your group wants (Intro, walk & talk or skills session) 
  • Tell us about any particular subjects, themes or interests of your group 
  • Let us know of any particular access needs/requirements 

Individual Research

The research room is open to researchers by appointment. The archive is open to individuals to pursue private research free of charge. Researchers will be allowed access to the original records or copies thereof (depending on their condition and availability). 
There are fees for self-service photography or the provision of high-resolution images. 

Please provide at least 4 weeks advance notice of your intended visit, providing information about your research topic and what you are hoping to discover.  The archives team will confirm whether your preferred date is possible and advise whether there are records to assist your research and of any potential difficulties in accessing them, e.g. poor physical condition, language or handwriting. 

Group Visits

Group Visits 

Group visits are available to the general public, special interest groups, students and schools. It is also possible to deliver a 'virtual visit' using Zoom or other platform. 

Costs are inclusive of VAT. 

Introduction to the Archives  

  • an introductory talk* about the collection 
  • a display of original documents with the opportunity to touch, read and smell 
  • a tour of the secure stores 
  • duration approx 1½ hours  
  • max 12 participants. 

*The introductory talk can be general or can reflect specific group interests (place, family, historical event or period). This interest must be agreed with the archivist in advance. 

Costs: £100 preparation fee + £15 per person 

‘Walk and Talk’ tour  

  • guided tour of the secure stores 
  • find out about the collection and how it is preserved 
  • see gems from the collection 
  • approx 1 hour 
  • max 5 participants 

Costs: £15 per person 

Skills/participative sessions 

  • Decoding the documents, 17th & 18th century. A session teaching the basic skills required to read early modern Scottish handwriting, also known as secretary hand. Working largely from images of documents from the collection and including some originals.  
  • Decoding the documents, 19th & 20th century. 19th & 20th century hand-writing looks more familiar to the modern eye, but carelessness and plain bad handwriting present new challenges. Working largely from images of the unique items in the collection and including some original documents. 
  • Understanding historic house archives. A more in depth look at the type of records created by landed families on their estates, why they were created and what they can tell us about the past. Using images and original records. 
  • If your group would be interested in a different skill, please get in touch – we will assist if we can 
  • duration approx 1½ hrs 
  • minimum of 4 and maximum of 8 participants 

Costs: £25 per person per session 

Contact details 

To book an individual research visit or a group visit, please contact the Archives team: 


Tel: 01499 302698 


Site Accessibility