Trip Planner:   Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  London  /  The British Library

The British Library, London

4.5
#15 of 222 in Museums in London
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. Use our London trip planner to add The British Library and other attractions to your London vacation plans.
Create an itinerary including The British Library
map
The British Library Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
3,008 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • I went in because I think about libraries and already at the entrance, I was happy. Nicely built with old books visible through the glass window. It's an interesting exhibition part with old documents of various kinds, ranging from legal texts to music, the Beatles has its own booth! Well worth a visit, shorter or longer based on interest. Free entry and a nice shop.
    View original
  • If you're in London and you're a history fan, you've got to stop in the British Library's manuscripts room to check out one of the Magna Cartas. While in the Library, just marvel at the shear size!  more »
  • The British Library is the National Library of the United Kingdom and is home to the Sir John Ritblat Gallery, where you can discover some of the most exciting and significant treasures of the world, including the Magna Carta, the First Folio of Shakespeare and the Codex Sinaiticus. There is also the manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground by Lewis Carroll, the Beatles lyrics handwritten by John Lennon, and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. The British Library is one of the world's largest research institutions and invites you to embark on a fascinating journey through the history of the written word. Visit it!!
    View original
Google
  • 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.

Plan your trip to London

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

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.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in London by other users

37 days in United States, Europe, Africa & Asia BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 19 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 50 days in England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 18 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 35 days in Europe BY A USER FROM SPAIN January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 19 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Europe BY A USER FROM IRELAND April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 19 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in London BY A USER FROM PARAGUAY January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, teens, popular PREFERENCES: March, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in England BY A USER FROM ESTONIA January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 20 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans