British Library

British Library, London: Hours, Address, British Library Reviews: 4.5/5

British Library
4.5
Libraries • History Museums
11:00 AM - 5:00 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.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Top ways to experience British Library and similar attractions

The area
Address
Neighborhood: Euston / Kings Cross /St Pancras
How to get there
  • King's Cross St. Pancras • 5 min walk
  • Euston • 6 min walk
Popular mentions

4.5
3,927 reviews
Excellent
2,592
Very good
1,035
Average
216
Poor
57
Terrible
27

KBofLB
Littleborough, UK473 contributions
Elizabeth and Mary - Top Class Exhibition
Nov 2021
This much hyped exhibition lived up to its billing.
There was a wide range of exhibits comprising (inter alia) maps, books, jewellery and original letters. As visitors progress through the exhibition they are able to appreciate what happened to the two 'protagonists' during their parallel but not intertwined early years and then understand the factors which influenced their 'contact ' in later years even though they never met.
It also resonates with current Anglo-Scottish issues.
The exhibits are well spaced out so that 'bottlenecks' around key exhibits are avoided.
A visit is highly recommended.
Written November 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Neil W
Shanklin, UK89 contributions
Modern home for history
Nov 2021
Went to see the McCartney Lyrics exhibition (quite small, nicely presented ). Wish I'd had more time to explore this building. Looks modern and newly refurbished, and is very attractively laid out.
Written November 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

NorfolkFox
Norwich, UK131 contributions
Priceless in Print (& the written word.)
Oct 2021
Visiting the "new" British Library for the first time, specifically to see the "Treasures Exhibition" and was not disappointed. The books and other articles on display are priceless, from one of the four known surviving copies of the Magna Carta to a Shakespeare First Folio and other great and important works in-between. Thoroughly recommended and free exhibition which was not too crowded.
Written October 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Clive W
Orpington1,681 contributions
Fascinating Elizabeth & Mary exhibition for those willing to spend time and immerse themselves in history
Oct 2021
This exhibition at the British Library uses a diverse range of exhibits including contemporary letters, books, maps, portraits, artefacts and manuscripts. These have come from a wide range of sources. The exhibition uses the exhibits to illuminate and explain the relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth 1, based on the significant historical events and people of the time. A lot of concentration, excellent eyesight and thorough reading of explanatory notices are needed so this exhibition is only for those really interested in history and willing to spend time on the detail. I was there about 2 hours. I walked from Euston, which took about 5 minutes.

Particularly appealing were the book Elizabeth, as a young girl, translated for Katharine Parr, Elizabeth’s ring with Ann Boleyn’s image inside, the signatures on the letters and the portraits.

However amazing the exhibits, the ticket system is dreadful which explains my 4* rating.. I booked for 12.30 as this was one of the three permitted times showing when I booked. There was a long queue at 12.30 which didn’t seem to move. Upon investigation, I found out that everyone was waiting to view the first exhibit so I went to the end of the exhibition and worked backwards! After about 20 minutes the entrance exhibits were free of people. It would be much better to have 15 minute timed entry slots to disperse the visitors. I paid £8 as 60+, half of the full price £16. This now seems to have changed. Entry is £18, £9 for 60+ but with a £2 reduction Mon-Wed.

Also, it would have been helpful to have more of the manuscripts and letters transcribed for easy reading. Magnifying glasses would be useful and I saw a very sensible visitor had brought his own.

I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and found it mentally stimulating.
Written October 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

H C H
Lincoln, UK60 contributions
'Elizabeth and Mary' - amazing exhibits amazingly poorly explained
Oct 2021
Visited to see the 'Elizabeth and Mary' exhibition (until Feb 2022) and was more than a little disappointed.
As expected, the actual material on display is amazing. Who would think that so many documents survive in various English and Scottish archives to tell the story of relations between these two cousins, many in their own handwriting and others in the hands of the men (almost entirely men) determined to steer their lives, even to the point of manipulating one into permitting the judicial murder of the other.
The display itself was no worse than others I have seen at the British Library and the small numbers of visitors meant that one only had to wait a minute - until someone else had moved on - to be able to read labels at waist level. But the labels themselves were muddled and uninformative = read one and the next but one would give a fact that explained the first. Early on, one about details of Mary's planned betrothal to Edward Tudor is followed by one about her marriage to the Dauphin with no explanation of what changed between the two.
The only family tree was the 'edited highlights' one in the free handout, totally inadequate to explain the family relationships between the men who tried to control the two queens, especially the complex kinship networks in the Scottish court. Indeed, the perspective was very English throughout (considering that this is the 'British' Library, but even the English courtly connections were skated over - Katherine Gray? who she? - and the French background barely sketched in.
All in all, one wondered who was the exhibition for? People who already know the period fairly well but hadn't seen all of these originals? I doubt that many of the people passing by on the Euston Road would have made head or tail of it.
One positive: one label did eventually admit that the Babington plot (at least) was faked, but blink and you would miss it.
Written October 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

B A
2 contributions
You must go!
Oct 2021 • Couples
If you are looking for a somewhere to go in London, visit the British Library. We went there last minute and we were so glad we made that decision. The treasury collection was amazing. From Jane Austen’s desk, to the Beatles lyrics, to Shakespeare’s folio, to the Magna Carta. It was truly amazing!!
Written October 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Daldare
Peterborough, UK204 contributions
Library charger
Sep 2021 • Solo
This place is so underrated. If you have time to kill whist waiting for your train at kings cross please drop in here and have a look at the many exhibitions. Please make a donation as some are free.The beauty of this building is self explanatory but the added feature is that you can come here to read or catch up on work. There are multiple levels proving work stations so plug in and catch up. Desperate to charge your phone ? Just pop in and plug your device in and charge it FOC.
Written September 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Robert N
Luthersville, GA228 contributions
I suppose seeing the Magna Carta,Michaelangelo, Shakespeare and Beatles lyrics in 1 room is good enough
Aug 2021 • Couples
Well,just books and documents that shaped the world, that's all. Leonardo DaVinci,Michaelangelo, Guttenberg Bible,Beatles lyrics. Amazing. Awesome.
At one point I was the only person in the room.
Has everyone seen Mozart,Bach,Mahler and Debussy charts before?
This should be compulsory.
Written August 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Trek463820
8 contributions
Paddington
Jul 2021
We Pre-booked time in advance to see the Paddington Bear exhibit. Checked by security and straight down to the small exhibit area. The little ones liked the interactive elements and filling in the free related activity book. Small gift shop available nearby to purchase Paddington related items. We did this as part of a larger day out so we had a lunch in the nearby coal drop yard and also visited 9 3/4 platform in Kings Cross station (station short walking distance to BL)
Written August 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ashernottscat
Nottingham, UK73 contributions
Enthusiastic staff and amazing historical items
Jul 2021
The historical exhibition is amazing. My husband was stunned by Shakespeare original writing, I was humbled by journals linked to the suffragette movement. We both loved the Beatles items. I also like the fact that this is a library of knowledge so there is many a student quietly working. The security check was no trouble and the staff were helpful. We wandered down to the area of the one of paid exhibitions and although we didn't have the time, the staff member was very enthusiastic about the library. We will take more time when we visit London again.
Written July 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 3,154
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing