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The British Library, London

Categories: History Museums, Libraries, Traveler Resources, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.5/5 based on 2,400+ reviews on the web
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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  • The BL is a book repository and a place for research. It is not like the local lending library. Nor is it a tourist attraction. Most of it is not available for public access and some parts are for reg...  read more »
  • Superb history in this library. Could spend hours here. No charge to enter. Great location next to St Pancras. 
  • for lovers of books is like being in paradise. possible find age-old manuscripts and the architecture is magnificent
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  • A great place to do research, but there are too many students from various universities who come only for the 'prestige' of hanging out in the British Library. Some of them do not require books from the library and haver the net effect of clogging up the limited seating and table space with 'work' they could (indeed, which they 'should') be doing elsewhere. There's a good 'restaurant' (which is not a restaurant, it is an over-priced glorified buffet) and an ok cafe, which is similarly over priced. So, don't come here for the service you'd expect in a restaurant, because it's not one - there is absolutely 0 table service. I love the British Library, not for being British, but for being one of the best stocked libraries in the world - it's an amazing amazing institution,I just wish they wouldn't call a buffet a restaurant and sort out the students who could be elsewhere. It's a shame, as it really ruins it.
  • It is really helpful for me to do my research while I temporarily work in London and being far away from my university. Even though they do not have my required books in the library, I can simply request for the books online and get them within 3 days as books can be delivered to me from any other library in UK without charging. What a resourceful library! BTW, employees of British library are quite patient and helpful as well.
  • The British Library, the largest library in the world. The star highlight inside is the rare manuscripts collection with include one of the surviving copies of the Magna Carte as well as my first glimpse of the Gutenberg Bible, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, manuscripts from Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens and song notes from the Beatles. I found myself visiting lots of libraries when I travel and I have noticed an interesting trend. Many major libraries are like mini museums. They hold important interesting artefacts, but are also beautiful in its design. Whether it’s historical, modern or a cross between heritage and modernised, it’s still beautifully designed. I love how the King’s Library collection looks.
  • Worst study place ever. You cannot bring anything in the reading room, NOT EVEN BOTTLED WATER. You have to request the books online before you can actually see them, and it might take them from 70 minutes to 48 HOURS to get you the books. There's very little place to sit and people leave the room leaving their stuff to occupy a spot all the time because obviously YOU NEED AT LEAST TO DRINK SOME WATER while you study to keep your brain working but you have to exit the reading room if you want to drink. Terrible place to study. Awful. You cannot even borrow books so you just have to go back there three times if you have to read a whole book. Moreover, the time you waste registering, reaching the room, waiting for a locker to be empty so that you can leave your stuff there and then go upstairs and hope the books you need are there, tell the people in the reception where you sit and finally have your book, is not worth it. Just leave them their books, go and see the gallery with a couple of interesting documents and leave the building forever. I hope I will never have to go there, ever again. It is a real shame that such an important library in a city so rich of universities and studying resources makes it so difficult for people to use it.
  • Really cool library architecturally, had some small exibits open. Didn't seem very friendly to tourists (couldn't determine what I could and couldn't get into and what I had to pay for). Store is more of a book-store than themed towards the library itself. Strange that it had so much food for sale inside. Seems to be catering to the research crowd more than anything.
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