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British Library

British Library

  • Stars
    The experts at Time Out London and The Guardian recommend this place
    • Time Out London
    • The Guardian
  • Tips
    meezan r.
    "Wow, absolutely love the Reading Rooms."(14 Tips)
    Emily S.
    "usually not crowded exhibit of the Magna Carta"(7 Tips)
    Hostelling International
    "Many original manuscripts are on displayed."(5 Tips)
    Zoe S.
    "Good for informal meetings and has Business and IP centre resource."(5 Tips)
Tips and Reviews icon174 Tips and reviews
  • magna carta
  • books
  • reading room
  • manuscripts
  • café
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  • Popular
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  • Ryan W.heart icon on user image
    Ryan WaggonerSeptember 16, 2017
    Free admission. See the Magna Carta, original Shakespeare folios and handwritten Beatles lyrics. Casual cafe on the 2nd floor serving a variety of quaintly food.
  • Louis Vuitton
    Louis VuittonApril 5, 2012
    The world's third largest library, offering itself as a visiting place for both the scholar and the laytourist. On display through summer 2012: "Writing Britain." Kristin Knox, The Clothes Whisperer
    Upvoted 2 weeks ago
  • Fatima A.heart icon on user image
    Fatima Al-HalwachiMay 11, 2017
    Inspiring exhibitions all year round, a great working place and a pleasant retreat for the curious. If you're into coffee don't miss out on Origin's great selection of espresso & filter coffees.
  • Shaymaaheart icon on user image
    ShaymaaMarch 2, 2017
    See the work of conservation and gain an insight into the techniques used to care for our collections on a ‘behind the scenes' tour of the Conservation studios!
  • Nick F.heart icon on user image
    Nick FrantzJuly 6, 2018
    One of the highlights of our visit was the Treasures Collection. Handwritten music, Gutenburg and King James Bibles, Shakespeare's First Folio and the Magna Carta, all in one place!
  • Shamsa A.heart icon on user image
    Shamsa AbdulrahmanFebruary 16, 2016
    Absolutely beautiful place to visit if u love libraries! Spend some time reading ❤ or have a bite in the cafe and enjoy looking around. So peaceful
  • Laurel M.
    Laurel MayApril 25, 2014
    Plan to spend half your day here because once you get in, you'll want to spend hours and hours walking around and learning about different kinds of books/writers.
  • Wayne F.
    Wayne FordAugust 1, 2011
    Even if you smply visit the British Library for a coffee and pastry at the Peyton & Byrne cafe, its an inspiring space to be surounded by so many great texts. Read more
  • Pim W.heart icon on user image
    Pim WesselsDecember 13, 2019
    The King’s Library looks amazing. Loved the Treasures Gallery. Great giftshop and lots of coffeeshops. You could easily spend an entire day here.
  • Breeheart icon on user image
    BreeMay 7, 2017
    You'll never regret spending an hour of your trip at this spectacular library. Jaw-dropping collection of books and historical texts.
  • Alex C.
    Alex CurielDecember 20, 2018
    The national library of the UK. It has one of the largest collection of books in the world. Great place to study!
  • Carlos Z.heart icon on user image
    Carlos Zavala HydeAugust 20, 2014
    The British Library is the second largest library in the world: 14 million books and 150 million items.
  • Emily S.heart icon on user image
    Emily SkarbekMarch 1, 2015
    Amazing free, quick, and usually not crowded exhibit of the Magna Carta and other unique treasures.
  • Ashley G.
    Ashley GenevieveAugust 19, 2014
    As a librarian from the states, I was blown away. The exhibitions were wonderful and I've never seen so many books together in my life. Great experience.
  • Atheer S.heart icon on user image
    Atheer SulimanMay 15, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    A great place to study if you're bored with your uni's library. Electricity sockets available by some tables.
  • H R.heart icon on user image
    H RSeptember 25, 2014
    You can sign up to the reading room. They hold lots of creative thematic exhibits such as the recent ones regarding comic books and, most recently, gothic literature.
  • Andrew S.heart icon on user image
    Andrew SaffreyFebruary 1, 2016
    a palace of knowledge. very busy in the cafe during the week! free wifi allegedly, but seems to need registration or membership
  • The Guardian
    The GuardianApril 26, 2012
    "Click to listen to Kristian Jensen, head of Arts and Humanities at the British Library, talk about the special collections at the British Library which make it so unique." Read more
  • Booga
    BoogaMay 5, 2014
    A wonderful place to just hang out, we went to the comic exhibition which was fantastic.
  • Londonist
    LondonistMay 2, 2010
    Been here 25+ times
    The temporary exhibitions are always worth a look, no more so than the current Maps exhibition. Reasonably good for free wifi, but can be patchy. Love the quirky gift shop.
  • Love Camden
    Love CamdenOctober 20, 2010
    There are two excellent cafes in the British Library: a small one outside at the front, and another at the back as you walk up the main stairs. Both make an excellent destination to meet for lunch.
  • berrybeans
    berrybeansJanuary 2, 2015
    It might not be the first choice on the sightseeing list for first-time London visitors but it's worth visiting. I like Gutenberg.
  • TProphet  .heart icon on user image
    TProphet  February 17, 2015
    It is free and has an unbelievable collection of ancient and rare books on display. Don't miss it!
  • Danny U.
    Danny UKJuly 28, 2015
    Lovely and peaceful, yet there is almost always a hive of activity with visitors working away on laptops.
  • Tom M.heart icon on user image
    Tom MorrisJune 13, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    Be sure to check out all their exhibits: as well as the current exhibition, go read the Magna Carta, check out the philately exhibition and sign up for a damn reader's pass and help improve the world Read more
  • ashook j.heart icon on user image
    ashook juniorNovember 28, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Best place to get warm and use of the facilities without paying and you don't need to be a member also good to leave luggage for the day as long as its not a big suitcase
  • David T.heart icon on user image
    David ThairSeptember 19, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    There are new seats and sockets up on the second floor by the Humanities reading room!
  • Stephanie W.heart icon on user image
    Stephanie WongMay 12, 2016
    Amazing library! Recommend checking out the "Treasures of the British Library" exhibition - its fascinating!
  • Suziheart icon on user image
    SuziJuly 18, 2015
    Preregister online and order your books before you visit. Some are stored in Yorkshire and take 2 days.
  • Gilbert C.heart icon on user image
    Gilbert CorralesMarch 27, 2015
    Free wifi, decent toilets and a great cafe. This is my temp office whenever I'm in London
  • Bianca N.heart icon on user image
    Bianca NgAugust 28, 2016
    Amazing collection of the history of print. As a designer who is obsessed with print and typography, I felt goosebumps!
  • Matt S.heart icon on user image
    Matt ShortMarch 2, 2019
    Always nice to look around here and the coffee shops are a great place to have a think.
  • Versha S.
    Versha SharmaOctober 19, 2011
    The Treasures Room is incredible: handwritten Beatles lyrics on the back of bday cards and envelopes, artifacts from Austen, Shakespeare, a Gutenberg Bible, Magna Carta and more...heaven!!!
  • Jeanette M.heart icon on user image
    Jeanette MaylandOctober 6, 2019
    Outside a horrendous building but inside the kind of environment that makes you want to go back to school
  • Time Out London
    Time Out LondonMarch 27, 2012
    The British Library's exhibition spaces are open late weekly on Tuesdays, from 9.30am-8pm. On show are temporary displays as well as permanent exhibits in the John Ritblat Gallery. Read more
  • Little Scrapesheart icon on user image
    Little ScrapesJanuary 7, 2016
    Always an interesting set of exhibitions on, both free and paid for. Check out their website for details.
  • David T.heart icon on user image
    David ThairJanuary 9, 2015
    Been here 10+ times
    The British Library has a cash machine and a postbox. Both are on the lower ground floor; last collection from the postbox is 4pm Mon-Fri.
  • Hani E.heart icon on user image
    Hani EFebruary 12, 2016
    The exhibits are pretty cool. The bookshop is disappointing. The Alice in Wonderland exhibit was fun!
  • Robert E.heart icon on user image
    Robert EMarch 11, 2018
    So cool to see all the old books, including a 1st edition Gutenberg Bible and a 3rd century New Testament piece
  • Riz A.heart icon on user image
    Riz ANovember 7, 2013
    Excellent place for a meetup is at the cafe near the back as your walk up the stairs.
  • Time Out London
    Time Out LondonFebruary 23, 2012
    The collection is unmatched (150 million items and counting), and the reading rooms (open only to cardholders) are so popular that regular users are now complaining that they can't find a seat. Read more
  • Jason
    JasonFebruary 8, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    It's such a shame on the weekends it closes at 5 and they hustle you out before then. Best place to read in London
  • Sheila H.
    Sheila HozhabriNovember 19, 2010
    Been here 10+ times
    The social science and science reading rooms get full early. Try one of the other rooms. Also, order any books you need before going to the library. It takes at least 70 minutes for them to arrive.
  • Rachel R.heart icon on user image
    Rachel RothNovember 24, 2017
    Book well in advance for the Harry Potter exhibit...
  • Gareth P.heart icon on user image
    Gareth PittJuly 3, 2014
    Working al fresco - wifi, good coffee and great facilities. Suitable for meetings too.
  • 애란 최.heart icon on user image
    애란 최May 5, 2017
    Beautiful library, I particularly fancy the Centre for Conservation, fascinating.
  • Andrew S.
    Andrew SmithMay 27, 2014
    Extraordinary place, the comics exhibition is wonderful but so are the regular exhibitions.
  • Pedro P.
    Pedro PereiraAugust 24, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    Coffee machine at the third floor (Friends room). 65-85 pence
  • Jennifer C.heart icon on user image
    Jennifer CarterFebruary 27, 2015
    Need a pass to look at books, but the atrium is pretty cool - especially the Kings Library!
  • Lheart icon on user image
    LMarch 2, 2017
    Fantastic place to visit don't miss it
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