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The British Library

Location: St Pancras
Region: London

Postcode: NW1 2DB

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Unleash the power of knowledge at The British Library - where history and literature come to life.

Visitor Information: The British Library

  • The British Library

    The British Library is a must-visit destination for literature and history enthusiasts. The library is located in London, UK, and is one of the largest libraries in the world, housing over 170 million items, including books, manuscripts, maps, stamps, photographs, and music recordings. Visiting the British Library is a perfect way to spend a day immersing oneself in the rich history and culture of the United Kingdom.

    The British Library is not only a research library but also a public one, meaning that visitors can access many of the library’s resources for free. The library’s Reading Rooms are open to anyone over the age of 18, and you do not need a library card to access them. However, you will need to register for a Reader Pass, which is free and takes only a few minutes to obtain. With the Reader Pass, you can access the library’s vast collection of books, manuscripts, and other resources, and you can also attend lectures, workshops, and exhibitions.

    One of the most popular exhibits at the British Library is the Treasures Gallery. This gallery features some of the library’s most prized possessions, including original manuscripts from some of the most famous writers in history, such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens. Visitors can also view important historical documents, such as the Magna Carta, the Gutenberg Bible, and the Lindisfarne Gospels. The Treasures Gallery is a fascinating and awe-inspiring exhibit that is not to be missed.

    The library also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, which are always interesting and educational. Past exhibitions have included topics such as the history of punk rock, the evolution of writing, and the history of propaganda. The exhibitions are always well-curated and provide visitors with a unique perspective on a particular subject.

    The British Library is also home to a range of cafes and restaurants, making it a great place to relax and grab a bite to eat. The Terrace Restaurant, located on the first floor of the library, offers stunning views of St. Pancras Station and serves up delicious food and drinks. The library also has a coffee shop, a pizzeria, and a sandwich shop, so there is something for everyone.

  • Highlights
    Not to be missed when visiting

    King’s Library: A glass tower containing 65,000 volumes collected by King George III, it is one of the most iconic features of the library.

    Sir John Ritblat Gallery: This is where you can see some of the library’s most famous documents. Highlights include the Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio, handwritten lyrics by The Beatles, and historic maps and letters.

    Gutenberg Bible: Also known as the B42, this is one of the earliest major books printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe.

    Reading Rooms: The library has several impressive reading rooms. Note that to use the Reading Rooms, you will need to apply for a Reader Pass.

    Philatelic Collection: Home to one of the most extensive and valuable collections of British and worldwide postage stamps and postal history.

    Sound Archive: This collection holds more than a million discs and 200,000 tapes. It includes music, spoken word, and environmental sounds from every era of recorded sound.

    The Bookshop: With a range of books from the British Library’s collections, unique stationery, and beautiful gifts, it’s perfect for finding a unique souvenir.

    Workshops and Events: The British Library holds a number of workshops, lectures, performances, and exhibitions that showcase the library’s vast collection.

    Business and IP Centre: Provides support for business and innovation by providing access to the UK’s largest collection of intellectual property resources.

    Treasures of the British Library: This ongoing exhibition displays some of the world’s most exciting, beautiful and significant books and documents – from Magna Carta and Gutenberg’s Bible, to the music of the Beatles.


  • What is the British Library?

    The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the largest libraries in the world, with millions of items in its collection including books, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings.

  • Where is the British Library located?

    The British Library’s main building is located on Euston Road in St Pancras, London, near the Kings Cross and St Pancras International railway stations.

  • Is there an admission fee for the British Library?

    Entrance to the British Library is free, but some special exhibitions may charge an admission fee.

  • How can I use the British Library's Reading Rooms?

    To use the Reading Rooms, you need to apply for a Reader Pass. Some restrictions apply, and you can find more information on the British Library’s website.

  • Can I check out books from the British Library?

    No, books and other materials in the British Library’s collection are for reference only and cannot be borrowed.

  • Does the British Library have facilities for disabled visitors?

    Yes, the British Library is fully accessible for disabled visitors. They offer wheelchairs for loan, and guide dogs are welcome.

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