British Library

Attractions, Libraries, archives and foundations Euston Free
5 out of 5 stars
(24user reviews)
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A copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland is sent to The British Library – an institute that has amassed a collection of more than 150 million items and adds some 3 million new items each year. The public can apply for access to the reading rooms, or simply explore the permanent and temporary exhibits in the John Ritblat Gallery. Here, some of the most famous written and printed items in the world are displayed, and you might see the Lindisfarne Gospels, Shakespeare’s first Folio, Handel’s Messiah, the Gutenberg Bible, drafts of the Magna Carta and the Beatles’ manuscripts.

Discover more great things to do in King's Cross

Posted:

Venue name: British Library
Contact:
Address: 96
Euston Rd
London
NW1 2DB
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 9.30am-8pm; Fri 9.30am-6pm; Sat 9.30am-5pm; Sun 11am-5pm
Transport: Tube: King’s Cross/Euston Rail: St Pancras International/King’s Cross/Euston
Price: Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions
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  • Until Tuesday February 19 2019

Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

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LiveReviews|24
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tastemaker

The British Library should be added to Tourist Highlights. It is a lovely building surrounded by so mush history.

The best part is the free exhibitions. I recently went to see the Magna Carta. In the past, they had a show dedicated to Alice in Wonderland ( one of my favourite books). It was cute and kid friendly.

In the room left of the entrance, you can see so many pieces of history from Shakespeare to letters from English Royalty to the Gutenberg Bible.

Tastemaker

British Library is the epitomy of the modern era's libraries. A true gem of London that you should visit either as a tourist for its excibitions or as a sophisticated Londoner seeking for a place of peace and reading. Excibitions change every now & then; some of them for free while others are ticketed. Below the astonishing building lies a huge selection of books, papers and magazines. Being regular here, it is the perfect place for reading and working on you laptop (as soon as you get the library readers' card). To find your desired book; order it online and just pick it up on your next visit.

tastemaker

An iconic British institution full yo the brim with every text you could ever imagine. There is a free exhibition which contains artefacts from the Magna Carta to The Beatles. Also check out their gift shop - it's pretty special.

tastemaker

This wonderful building oozes culture as you work your way from floor to floor discovering texts from history, politics, literature, art music and science. Whether or not you're going to do research, with children or just for a look around there is something for everyone here. My personal favorite part of the British Library is the book of treasures. Located on the ground floor it is a room filled with amazing original texts from history. You can expect to find original Shakespeare's religious scrolls and letters from Queen Victoria: it really is a room of treasures. Alongside the literature the library also has various exhibitions going on, making it perfect for children and a family day out. The best one I've been to was all about Alice in Wonderland and included immersive mirrors and original playing cards as well as an extensive history on the book and author. It was fun and charming and I love that the British Library did it as my appreciation for that classic text is even greater. I know that from October 20th they're introducing an exhibition on Harry Potter and the magical world which I am over the moon about so for all Harry Potter fans out there get yourself down there between October and February. 

tastemaker

A hidden gem of peace and solace in London. The perfect place to escape if you need to get some quiet reading or piece of work done. With access to silent reading rooms, communal areas (limited power sockets), cafes, an outdoor terraces - the possibilities are endless. During the summer months, the bar outside opened up, making it the perfect watering hole amongst the fountains.

tastemaker

I've never actually been here with the intention of getting access to books which is kinda odd I guess but there is so much else to see and do here that it's primary function is almost lost on many people.

Great exhibitions are put on at this attraction and they are always well presented and much better value for money than some of the more official exhibition spaces.

It's also a really nice space to just spend some time in. Good cafe spaces inside and out, numerous seating areas and even art dotted about to give you something visual to enjoy whilst you are enjoying some you time.

A really great venue.

Tastemaker

Library-wise, nothing to criticise. Not only is there a nearly endless amount of books, research papers and other documents, it also is the home to incredible invaluable historic pieces, like the Magna Carta or a Gutenberg Bible. The space is cleverly designed to accommodate visitors, with plugs everywhere and solitary desks at every corner. You can easily find your perfect spot for some quiet working time.


But the British Library is even more than that. With cute little cafés, great exhibitions, nifty gift shops, it’s a pleasure to spend time there. During summer, you can even enjoy the numerous terraces that give you the opportunity to sit outside amongst trees and plants.

Tastemaker

This is my home away from home. It's a staggering resource, having every document published in the UK, which makes it a dream for researchers, students, or anyone wanting access to a particular book. It's easy to register for access to the reading rooms. And the gift shops and temporary exhibitions are all thoughtfully curated and reliably interesting. The British Library is one of the cultural treasures of London - as cheesy a statement as that sounds. 


One of the best libraries in the world, but not sure it's for everyone who will be reading this!

tastemaker

The British Library shows exactly why libraries are still relevant in today's online culture. Beyond the unimaginable amount of books stored, it is so much more. This is a great space for anyone to have a place to escape in the middle of the city. As soon as you step into its front garden the noise from the traffic along Euston Road seems to disappear, and once you are inside the building it's a different world entirely.


Generous spaces are provided for quiet study or working throughout the open atrium. No doubt there are people who stay for the entire day. The exhibitions and cafes are useful for a shorter visit - it's great for 5 minutes or 5 hours.


With all the terrible construction happening in London, a space like this can remind you the impact of architecture done correctly.

Tastemaker

Amazing! I'd never thought to visit the British Library until my cousin wanted to go on a recent visit. What an amazing place and free! My highlights included seeing Beatles lyrics scribbled on a birthday card, a Gutenberg Bible, and first editions of major literary works dating further back than I could imagine! There's loads of space outside to sit and enjoy, lots of space to study inside with a nice coffee shop. Minutes away from Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross!

Tastemaker

The free exhibition in the BL is one of my favourite in London and is a great place to take family or friends, or even fill half an hour if you're waiting for a train at Euston. It has the original manuscripts of some of the most important books and documents in the world - everything from ancient religious texts to Beatles lyrics scribbled on napkins. Best of all, it's totally free. They also have a nifty little gift shop!

Tastemaker

This is the place where the Magna Carter is stored. Need I say more. There is also collection ancient scriptures and rare books stored in this place. The setting bring an element of old world charm with modern decor where people could read or study. You could definitely spend hours in here reading, studying and looking at the free exhibition.

Tastemaker

It was my first time at the library and I've found it impressive.

Have signed up to the newsletter to ensure I'll go back soon. :)


Inspiring permanent gallery with priceless artefacts like an original Magna Carta and one off exhibitions on interesting subjects, like animals in books. Love it here, keep going back for more. Plus you can read your own books if you like!


A place to sit and think. Hugely important centre of knowledge in the centre of London


A shining light of modern learning that manages to feel fresh and relevant without taking away any of the gravitas of what lies within. Great free exhibitions and work space.


So much great stuff! As well as 150 million (150 million!) items, fantastic and varied range of events and exhibitions. I get more from it every time!


The BL is so much more than the national Library - so many interesting free events, exhibitions and lovely nooks to explore. I love spending my free moments day dreaming about the great minds that have passed through here and what traces of thoughts they have left behind. Also the best public 'facilities' in town.


Definitely worth visiting, especially since you don't have to pay to see the main exhibition.


The British Library have some great exhibitions and public events. Def worth a look!