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The British Library, London

4.5
#19 of 167 in Museums in London
History Museum Library
More than a massive repository for books, the The British Library also holds significant artifacts and documents, such as the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, and an original Beatles lyrics sheet. Each year, the world's largest library adds three million new items, requiring some 9.6 km (6.0 mi) of shelf space. You obviously won't see everything on your visit, so take a guided tour to view the most important collections and learn about the building's history and architecture. The Philatelic Exhibition holds some of the world's rarest and most significant stamps; check its schedule for temporary exhibits. If you want to learn more before your visit, download podcasts from the library's website. You can also listen to presentations from past events. See The British Library and all London has to offer by arranging your trip with our London vacation trip planner.
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Where to stay in London

Many of London's main attractions are spread out, so nearby public transportation is key. There is no downtown area as such in London, and some of the least expensive hotels have more convenient access to tourist sites than the costlier ones. For a quintessential London experience, consider staying in the West End. This part of town offers excellent theaters, historical sites, and eating and shopping options for every taste. Lodging won’t be cheap, but you’ll have the colorful variety of London life right at your doorstep. Look at Notting Hill or Chelsea for charming and less expensive boutique hotels and B&Bs.
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4.5
  • Where else can you see the original Magna Carta and the original handwritten lyrics to "Ticket to Ride" across the room from each other?  more »
  • Very close to Kings Cross, our arrival station, we decided to wander in from the cafe / courtyard* outside the rather mundane library building and couldn't believe the treasures on display in the exhi...  more »
  • The range of the collection here is just incredible, with historic documents covering many areas from ancient religious texts to significant works of literature, science, personal diaries etc. A fasci...  more »
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  • Amazing collection. Didn't expect to see so many valuable and historical pieces of writing. Didn't go to the special exhibition, but the permanent collection is free and worth the visit. There are free lockers (pay £1 but you get it back) that saved our life before a trip. They even have space for suitcases for the same "price"
  • One of the largest book collections in the world. There is also collection of newspapers, pictures, manuscripts, audio material, and academic papers. Been a member for decades and it just gets better. There is also a very good business and intellectual property section with all the main business databases, books and periodicals. I really enjoy the business events, some of which are free. The restaurant and cafe serve a wide variety of snacks and meals. It's easy to walk from either Kings X or Euston or St Pancras Stations and lots of buses stop right outside. My only complaint is that the library attracts so many visitors it gets a bit crowed. Otherwise it's the perfect learning and events space.
  • I study literally everywhere: coffee shop, tube, park, bed, etc. I am an online student. I have to do it. It feels great seeing people doing it in all the positions. Studying. BTW, it's not pricy the membership for the BL.
  • Great place to visit... We brought two groups of children to attend classes... Make a Book/Map your World... the children absolutely loved it and want to come again.
  • Having studied in lots of libraries, this is among my favourites, not only for the organised service but also the ambience. This is in many ways a fountain of knowledge and fantastic if you are able to use it for your research.