More than a massive repository for books, 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 British Library and other attractions to your London vacation plans.
Tours to British Library
$151 BOOK WITH VIATOR London Literary Tour with a Local Expert: Private & Personalized London Literary Tour with a Local Expert: Private & Personalized
Duration: 3 hours
Tours from $151 ›
$5 BOOK WITH VIATOR London Self-Guided Audio Tour London Self-Guided Audio Tour
Duration: 1 to 6 hours
Tours from $5 ›
British Library reviews
What a place! We particularly enjoyed the Treasures Exhibition. I suggest taking a guided tour of the library. Well worth a visit.
What a place! We particularly enjoyed the Treasures Exhibition. I suggest taking a guided tour of the library. Well worth a visit. more »
Amazing exhibit of ancient manuscripts and documents. Magna Carta is the centerpiece and has excellent details. Many other religious and historic documents too.
Amazing exhibit of ancient manuscripts and documents. Magna Carta is the centerpiece and has excellent details. Many other religious and historic documents too. more »
There's always something interesting and unexpected in the general display of documents. Something for everyone no matter where you come from around the world. The restaurant, however, is another...
There's always something interesting and unexpected in the general display of documents. Something for everyone no matter where you come from around the world. The restaurant, however, is another... more »
I visited here last week. Very nice and very modern library. I would of liked to visit the little museum there but unfortunately I wasn't allowed in as I had a water bottle. They do not allow food and drink. That annoyed me! You are not allowed in the actual libraries without a pass which I found silly. I was looking forward to look around in there. The restaurants there are a quite expensive! It was around £4 something for a sandwich which was ridiculous! Otherwise, nice place to look around! Lots of information about the library and other things! Lots of seating spots to study too! They have a little spot (outside the toilets) where you can refill your water bottle but the water didn't taste very nice in my opinion. That's tap water for ya! I will still rate this place a five star in spite of my little criticisms! :P There you go!
Been coming here for years. I find it such a good place to study, work, or just spend time with friends. It's nice to have a place you can spend hours in for free in Central London, you don't need a library card to get in! They also have cool exhibitions and some are free. Love their outside terrace!!
Went on a Sunday. The place was open and busy with what appeared to be hundreds of people working away on their laptops. Some areas were closed. Some lovely collections on display. A small gift shop and cafe. Nice ambience for some quiet time.
Admission into building is free Reader's card is required for access into libraries and reading rooms. There is also a free exhibition of really interesting history materials. It's a large building so you'll want to visit over and over again!
A wonderful place to explore when visiting London! Some of the exhibits require a nominal ticket fee to view, but the Beethoven gallery was fantastic with actual pages of his manuscripts and compositions. This is a place I could easily return to many times over and never get bored.
Plan your trip to London
Get a personalized tripA full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your trip. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place. Everyone on the same page.
Popular things to do in LondonSee all ›
Museums in LondonSee all ›
Historic Sites in LondonSee all ›
Side trips from London
Hidden gems in London
Nearby attractions in London
Trips in British Library by other users
47 days in Europe BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND London Palermo Naples 15 days in London, Paris & Ireland BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES London Paris Dublin 51 days in Europe BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA Rome Florence Cinque Terre 7 days in London BY A USER FROM CROATIA Ightham Mote Hever Castle & Gardens Scotney Castle Garden 8 days in London BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM British Library Royal Mews Westminster Cathedral 20 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA London Gloucester Barry 10 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES London Paris 47 days in Europe BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND London Palermo Salerno 11 days in London BY A USER FROM BRAZIL Jewel House HMS Belfast The Monument to the Great Fire of London 16 days in London BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES The Courtauld Gallery The Monument to the Great Fire of London Borough Market 14 days in France & London BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Orly Paris Brive-la-Gaillarde 13 days in London BY A USER FROM INDIA Tate Britain Westminster Westminster Cathedral
Are you the owner of this business?Click here for promotion tips.