British Library
British Library
4.5
9:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Open to all visitors seven-days-a-week, this superb building by Sir Colin St John Wilson offers events, special exhibitions and a Treasures Gallery that displays over 200 items, including Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible and lyrics by the Beatles.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Euston / Kings Cross /St Pancras
How to get there
  • King's Cross St. Pancras • 5 min walk
  • Euston • 6 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • Michael G
    Miami, Florida149 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Of great historical interest
    Our visit was confined to the rooms where they exhibit ancient documents of great significance, such as the Magna Carta. They were very well presented, and made for a very interesting visit. Depending on your degree of interest, and your available time, you could spend one or several hours viewing the exhibit.
    Visited May 2023
    Written 25 May 2023
  • pfefmeister
    San Francisco, California4,100 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Loved It
    This is not a vast museum of artifacts to look at - maybe an hour’s worth of time. But, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Great historical documents, some Beatles memorabilia, wonderfully illustrated religious items - it was great. And, you’re not overwhelmed by thousands of items to inspect.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 18 June 2023
  • haley t
    Princeton, New Jersey7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful!
    Having a free couple of hours before catching a flight, I visited the British Library this past Sunday with no expectations. What a relaxing and delightful experience! From the Magna Carta and Lindisfarne Gospels to song lyrics scrawled by John Lennon on his son’s first birthday card, the museum holds many treasures. The environment is calm and peaceful, and the staff member I interacted with was very kind and helpful. I didn’t purchase anything to eat or drink, but a couple of different options were on the premises. Take advantage of this free opportunity if you find yourself near the St. Pancras station.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 17 July 2023
  • JTJD
    United Kingdom1,027 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fascinating place….
    Wow! What an interesting place to spend a couple of hours…do check out the Magna Carta room! Also of major interest is the actual Enigma Machine which is available to view close to the Alan Turing Institute. We had lunch at one of the museum restaurants & the food was really very nice. Free entry…a fascinating place!
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 July 2023
  • Johntherunner
    London, United Kingdom293 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must visit building if in London which is free entry and also free standing exhibition
    An superb exhibition which is a paid facility but the regular exhibition of wonderful manuscripts and books is worth a visit on its own. Good cafe for food,snacks and drinks on both floors and the building itself is worth a visit alone. Free entry and outside seating as well and the booked talks it offers are first class.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 22 July 2023
  • Jay B
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An excellent place to eat
    My friend and I met up at Kings Cross station and headed for the short walk to the library. We have mobility issues so it was important for us to have lift access to the higher floors. We only had a couple of hours to spend so we headed straight away to the Terrace Restaurant on the first floor to have a light snack. In the end I bought a tomato soup tasting of real tomatoes with a rich stock base and herbs together with a couple of rolls and a generous number of butter packs. I then selected a salad from the superb selection of plates displayed on the central station. They were comprehensive and anyone would have found something they liked. I topped it off with a cup of tea and we settled to eat in the pleasant terrace area (it was a little too windy to eat outside). Water was available and the whole thing cost £14.50 - a bargain! We were then treated to a memorable taste of what was on offer at the library in the 'Exhibitions section' where we saw the Magna Carta alongside exquisite illuminated books from all the major religions and many music manuscripts. A truly excellent experience.......and it's free!!!
    Visited July 2023
    Written 25 July 2023
  • Ruby Rowallan
    38 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A parallel universe
    I have visited the BL a few times in the last month or so as I have a reader ticket for a research project. I've used the reading rooms, cafe and visited the Treasures exhibition. I have never met so many lovely, polite, helpful, knowledgable staff at any establishement anywhere in the world in the past 50 years. I'm not sure if they are wildly overpaid or hypnotised but it's the sort of professional service that you don't get anywhere else. It's the six-star hotel of libraries; a parallel universe or a trip back in time. Even the loo cleaner lady says "good afternoon" with a smile. Everyone knows what they are doing, goes the extra mile to get your reader ticket issued when you arrive with two minutes left before closing, checks your bag without looking at you like you are a terrorist and serves food, drinks, shop gifts etc. in a professional manner. Food and drink is very good value. Coffee is very good. There are drinking fountains at various points and lockers if you have a reader ticket. The service to order books from the collection to one of the readng rooms is efficient and this can be done online and usually only takes 48 hours to get books brought up from the extensive underground storage. I am looking forward to the opportunity to go on a backstage tour at some point. You can sit in one of the very many public seating areas without a reader ticket. There are various kinds including bench eting, small tables, individual lecture-style chairs with fold out desks and power sockets, larger four-seater booths, again wiht power and free internet access for general use and to acess the digital collections. Depending on the time of your visit you may not get your first choice of places to sit so go early if you want something specific. The building is clean, easy to navigate and has plenty of accessible options such as lifts and excalators as well as stairs. The central artium is a stunning display of rare books donated by Geroge III in a multi floor bookcase in glass. Wonderous! I only regret living 30 minutes away and not going sooner.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 10 September 2023
  • HardDiskDrive
    Oxford, United Kingdom15 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Some nice events and exhibitions/probably the best accessible public library
    Haven't been back for a while, there's always some exhibits and things to see near the inside cafe. Note that security checks your bags. Worth a visit as a tourist if you're in the area. Great to work in if you get a reader pass for the reading rooms.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 30 September 2023
  • scouse1941
    795 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
    AMAZING! This is the second largest Library in the World - I think the Library of Congress is the first but when the GOP get into their stride banning books, the British Library will be the first! I focused my visit on the Treasures - and saw the original Magna Carta, the works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, the Venerable Bede, music scores by Mozart, drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. It also showcases the handwritten "roughs" of Beatles songs like "In My Life" and the Monty Python - Spanish Inquisition sketch. Absolutely brilliant. Loved it. There as far more to see but my time was limited. Demands another visit.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 8 October 2023
  • Thomas Preinl
    139 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great museum, manuscripts, atmosphere
    We had the privilege of a private visit, where the librarians prepared and presented the unique manuscript collection of the writer Stefan Zweig. Real letters of Robbespierre, Marie Antoinette, music scores by Bach, Brahms, Händel or a handwritten poem by Goethe - everything was presented in a perfect way, questions anwered and backgrounds given. The public exhibition of "old papers" is extraordinary and free of charge. Also recommendable is the selection of bank notes and stamps (including the famous blue mauritius). Good-Quality Internet, cloakroom service and a pleasent café atmosphere contribute to a perfect visit.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 12 October 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles4,016 reviews
Excellent
2,654
Very good
1,049
Average
221
Poor
60
Terrible
32

Carolyn B
Bloomingdale, NJ832 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Friends
Don't miss this! One of the best places we visited. You'll see the original Magna Carta, the Shakespeare first folio, original scores of Mozart, the Beatles, drawings of Da Vinci. It's pretty overwhelming.
Written 20 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ann C
Nashville, TN3,277 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
In only two rooms you will find treasures of Western civilization, from early bibles (including one of the oldest complete bibles in existence-AD 350) to Shakespeare to Lewis Carroll to the Magna Carta. There are also historic maps, art and science documents as well as manuscripts by the likes of Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin.

Unfortunately, I could not see the Magna Carta because the day previous to my visit was an incident that caused them to close off the room. The staff was unsure when the Magna Carta room would be open for viewing again. That said, the rest of the literary treasures are well worth viewing.
Written 14 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lidia F
6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
Ugly building, great collection. Good to see how many people visits it! The treasury is fantastic! So beautiful and unique books!
Written 4 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fam4Long
Longmeadow, MA3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Very interesting exhibit and great way to spend an hour with the family! The historical texts and art are amazing. Well worth the visit!
Written 21 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

liucy752
Taipei, Taiwan1,504 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
The Sir John Ritblat Gallery in the British Library displays many historical treasures.

There are original works of great writers, poets, musicians and artists, as well as precious manuscripts, original printed works and rare books.

It was so exciting to see Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks and the Beatles’ drafts.

I lingered in the gallery for a long time.
Written 16 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Myrvin C
22 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Staff very helpful. They loaned us a wheelchair. Several lifts.
I came here for the exhibition including a Shakespeare first folio, and a second, third and fourth.
Other exhibits are also interesting; including a Magna Carts, and a section on The Beatles. Unfortunately, the Diamond Sutra wasn't there, but the two very old Bibles were.
A tip for the thirsty: the café at the entrance charges £3.50 for tea, while the upstairs restaurant is cheaper. The other café was closed.
Written 15 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Colleen S
7 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
The British Library Treasures Tour is as expected an intellectually oriented tour. Prior to the tour, it is helpful to know some background about King John 1 of England, the reason for the Magna Carta, some familiarity with authors, Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis, and some basic ideas of Christian, Jewish, Muslim faiths. Our guide was youthful, cheerful and knowleadgeable.
Written 25 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elizabeth J
London, UK11 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Business
The Grayson Cafe is absolutely awful. Tiny meagre snd cheap portions, gross soups and its heinously expensive. My meal costs probably 50p to make and they charged me £4.75. Staff always stingy with servings and rude to many students that are working here. Graysons need to go. There is also no choice as they run all the food options. On a rainy day you're forced to eat it if you cant go out. Not sure what financial deal is behind it - the whole thing stinks of monopoly
Written 25 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

therichastill
Stevenage, UK2,921 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
The British Library is on Euston Road and is next to St Pancras station and Euston and Kings Cross stations are close by. Behind the library is the Francis Crick Institute as well.

The library is very busy and as well as having books there are lots of places to study. When I visited virtually every place that you could study was occupied.

There are cafes around the building but they stipulate that these are places to eat or drink and not for studying.

They have regular exhibitions here and there is a decent gift shop selling library related souvenirs and books.
Written 16 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bon viveur
London, UK2,297 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
I’m not sure why it’s been many years since I last visited. It’s a very special place with creative energy. On a Monday afternoon it was really busy with studious people occupying every available workstation. The Treasure gallery is full of wonderful exhibits. of course, the Magna Carta is the star, but I also enjoyed more modern displays including a depiction of Bangladeshi women’s integration into British life.
Written 11 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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British Library - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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