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“Try Yorkshire Instead”
Review of British Library

British Library
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Private Custom Tour: London in a Day
Ranked #79 of 1,795 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: Wheelchair access, Lockers / storage, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Stairs / lift
Reviewed 16 March 2010

Last August (2009) they moved the non-recent science journals to a new storage facility in Yorkshire. What may have been available in 70 minutes to two hours from a near-by facility now takes two days! Eventually it is to be hopd that they'll digitise this stock for viewing on their terminals. Until then a science researcher is equally well served by an accommodating librarian in their local university library.

2  Thank the_sparky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"magna carta"
in 749 reviews
"gutenberg bible"
in 134 reviews
"historical documents"
in 100 reviews
"treasures room"
in 99 reviews
"alice in wonderland"
in 84 reviews
"beatles lyrics"
in 77 reviews
"jane austen"
in 67 reviews
"on display"
in 203 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
"da vinci"
in 90 reviews
"treasures gallery"
in 37 reviews
"harry potter exhibition"
in 35 reviews
"handel's messiah"
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2,666 - 2,670 of 3,349 reviews

Reviewed 9 February 2010

I came to the British Library to expect a wonderful experience, to study with a wide ranges of books in the serenity of a reading room in the beautiful yet modern surroundings
However, as I took the time and money to visit the contemporary yet majestic library, It seems like everything was restricted. "Please apply for a members pass" which includes a needed proof of almost everything. I, equiped with my laptop, a notepad and my study guide only was throughly disgusted at this so-called "public" area. Even if I had the correct forms of idenfication, you have to apply with special permission for those under 18. What a library.
Crammed into a cafe with dozens of tourists flocked over a coffee and a bread roll, I felt betrayed that the library had to be accessed with the utmost complications.
Defeated, i wondered round the free exhibits, counting the number of hours lost that will never return to me. What are they scared of? Tourists from Japan running off with John Keats? Disgraceful. I could only press my face against the cold glass window to capture a glance at what should be read instead of gawped at by a dozen americans. If you want to read a book, go to your local library. If you want aching feet, winding staircases which lead to nowhere, and people crammed onto a bench trying to regain their free wireless internet, come here.

4  Thank Zoey212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2009

British Library is located next to St Pancras station. New, modern, almost Japanese style building. Photos allowed outside of galleries. Entry is free to the Sir John Ritblat Gallery inside which is where several of the Library's "treasures" are on display. Some of my faves in the Gallery were music scores by Mozart and Beethoven (in their hand), a number of old maps, The Gutenberg Bible, Leonardo da Vinci notebooks (mainly engineering type drawings), two of the four known copies of the Magna Carta, Jane Austen book in her hand and many others. No photos allowed.

When I was there, the Library also had a special exhibit of its collection on Henry VIII in honor of the 500th anniversary since his coronation. This was a very extensive collection and quite impressive. There was a charge to view. They had a number of letters by Henry VIII on display (he had quite nice handwriting), as well as letters from his wives (including Catherine and Anne Boelyn), his marital records, divorce records, baptism records and miliary/legal records during this reign. Amazing how great of shape the records are considering their age. The exhibit was quite large and worth a view. No photos allowed here either obviously.

The Library is quite convenient to tour and I'd highly recommend this hidden gem.

10  Thank capsfan2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2009

To think that every book every published in the UK is stored in this library... It's pretty amazing. While you probably won't spend more than 15 minutes looking around, unless you're here to do some actual research, this is still worth a few minutes of your time to drop by. Check out the chair that looks like a book in the lobby.

3  Thank eyetotelescope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 July 2008

Even if you only have an hour, visit the British Library, next to (west-side of) St. Pancras station. The Sir John Ritblat Gallery is what you want to see ... Magna Carta, Gutenburg Bible, ancient texts, scientists notebooks/writings, Shakespeare texts, Beatles texts, etc. It is all displayed nicely, in a subdued lit room. I and my two teenagers visited the Library on Sunday, June 29, 2008 for about 2 hours and it wasn't crowded at all - relatively few people there. If a person could visit only one thing in London, it would have to be the Tower of London (16 pounds/person). After that, it would have to be the British Library and the British Museum - I rate both about the same (highly!) ... and they are both free (though, I donated a few pounds).

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

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