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“Ever changing collections”
Review of British Library

British Library
Book In Advance
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US$65.40*
and up
Private Custom Tour: London in a Day
Ranked #78 of 1,816 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Stairs / lift, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

They constantly rotate the items they have on view. Since their collection is extensive, it is always interesting. This time they also had a special exhibit on early recorded sounds. This museum/library is free of charge. There is a cafeteria, free wi-fi and toilets. It is well worth a visit.

2  Thank luvroma2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"magna carta"
in 755 reviews
"gutenberg bible"
in 135 reviews
"historical documents"
in 101 reviews
"treasures room"
in 99 reviews
"alice in wonderland"
in 84 reviews
"beatles lyrics"
in 77 reviews
"jane austen"
in 68 reviews
"on display"
in 204 reviews
"the sir john ritblat gallery"
in 59 reviews
"lindisfarne gospels"
in 45 reviews
"book lovers"
in 43 reviews
"illuminated manuscripts"
in 42 reviews
"love books"
in 41 reviews
"treasures gallery"
in 37 reviews
"harry potter exhibition"
in 35 reviews
"handel's messiah"
in 33 reviews
"musical scores"
in 28 reviews
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19 - 23 of 3,377 reviews

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I’ve been to the British Library three times, the most recent of which was on a snowy day at the end of February to catch the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition. I went on the last afternoon, and it was fascinating to see the real inspirations behind J K Rowling’s creations. The reason for the review is that the British Library, in conjunction with Google Arts and Culture, has posted many of the documents online, so if you want a taster of what the British Library has to offer, or missed the exhibit, this is a great way to catch up. Search: Google Arts and Culture/Harry Potter: A History of Magic.

The exhibition was designed so that each section represented a subject taught at Hogwarts, e.g. Herbology, Alchemy, the Care of Magical Creatures etc. Each topic was illustrated with a series of historical documents ranging from the six metre-long Ripley Scroll, depicting how to make a Philosopher’s Stone, to Leonardo Da Vinci’s notes on astronomy and some beautiful botanical drawings. There were also many hand and type-written notes by J K Rowling about the creation and progression of the Harry Potter series, as well as artwork by her and Jim Kay, the official illustrator.

The British Library is based in a massive, modern, red-brick building on the Euston Road, and houses millions of books and historical documents that are free to view. You can see everything from the Magna Carta to lyrics by The Beatles, via manuscripts and letters by William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend you’re actually looking at the same things they did.

The library is also a research facility, and you can register for a free reader pass if you want to access the books they hold on site. An incredible collection and well worth several visits.

1  Thank AlexaPens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

just off the main entrance. So that interested but dumb, weary tourists like me who allot insufficient time dont have to navigate the whole unfamiliar building for highlights. Not all curators agree with that approach, but I wish more museums would do it.

Boy, what a treat that room was for an hour and a half. Albrecht Durer. DaVinci on the principles of wall building. Original Beatles' lyrics on lined notebook paper. Colorful Ethiopian bibles. Amazing antiquities from Japan and Iran. Heck, no offense Brits, but the Magna Carta was almost an afterthought. Perhaps my favorite item was a primitive nautical map of understood coastal points of the era, absent modern understanding or interior detail. You almost felt like you were in the boat with them.

There are comfortable ottomans to sit on for respite from exhibits. No backs but cushioned. Lights are dimmed and the room is manageable and pleasant. I had a really good time and was on my way in good time as well.

2  Thank Matt S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

On Arrival we found NO maps. and limited signs. Found th eiNformation Desk flooded with people asking questions, Limited Toilets int he basement although they were clean. Not coming back.

Thank Ducknzzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Attended a course at TBL and went to check it out the day before. What a pleasant surprise I had, such a lovely place with such important manuscripts i.e The Magna Carta, works of Shakespeare and other wonderful works. The gift shop was really nice with reasonably priced gifts/books. Would recommend. There are queues to get in but it does not take long.

Thank juliegawne2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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