Iconic Places | The British Library

I’ve been very lucky to check off a bucket list item last summer which ended with me visiting the largest library in the world! (in terms of catalogued items). Thousand year old books sit in shelves, amazing architecture, and great instagrammable photo spots for your bookish self to indulge in. Pretty neat 😍

I wanna tap one three main things: Space and building , Sightseeing, and Research facilities. You can click on either one if you’re looking for something specific to skip right to that part πŸ™‚


Albeit I’m not an architect nor an expert on the subject, there is a reason it’s called the National Library of the UK. The outside piazza is vast and is reminiscent of American football fields and those outdoor squares you see in front of their schools. What blew me away though is the inside. When I say breathtaking I mean SUCKING YOUR BREATH AWAY FROM YOUR LUNG CAPILLARIES

The lobby area of the library
The unbelievable glass tower of books

A talk glass tower stacked bottom to top with books upon books, all looking very old and very beautiful in a mothy-dusty aesthetic way. The stairs and twists of the building are layered like lego bricks and interesting like a maze. The blending of a swirl staircase across tall block- like columns may seem vastly contrasting but it works! The white washed paint coats the space like vanilla glaze; makes everything soft and easy on the eyes.

Perfect Spots to Instagram

With an amazing building like this, not getting a chance for that “aesthetic” pic is a huge opportunity missed! Here are some perfect places to get that pic πŸ˜‰

Rounded staircase: stand at the bottom part and allow the pic to be taken from the top steps.

Courtesy of The British Library Website

Alongside the balcony (I think that’s what its called): You can either take it front view with the balcony behind you or standing on the side with the balcony on the right/left side of it

Courtesy of Access Website

In front of the displays: On the lobby area, the library puts up murals or displays by various artists throughout the year so it’s a great way to promote diverse artists while also scoring a fabulous pic!

Courtesy of Angela Jooste

The book bench: Okay you can’t miss this sculpture. The book “bench” is an iconic piece and speaks true to any bookworm out there! It’s a fun pic to share the bookish side of you πŸ™‚

Courtesy of Reddit

The Outside! The piazza hosts William Blake’s bronze sculpture titled NEWTON. For non artists out there, the varying angles and stair heights leads you with different options to get that glow ✨

Courtesy of at The British Library Website

The fun part! Here’s a list of things you can do:

  • Sir John Ritblat Gallery : Open 7 days a week, free of charge this gallery will astonish and delight you with the various manuscripts it holds. These include: Lewis Carroll’s Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and multiple religious manuscripts of different time periods.
  • Exhibitions : The library hosts multi themed events and exhibitions on various topics, some are are free of charge and others are not.
  • Corridor Art: I found this by chance! While walking around the library, some corridors would feature wall “galleries” with different forms of art (mainly photography). Some feature a small story to accompany the art or a note from the artist themselves. Super cool.
  • Gift Shop: Of course any visit is not complete without a stop to the gift shop. They sell everything from apparel to jewelry to food. I loved their classic book cover postcards 😍
Research (and the other serious non tourist things)
Research (and the other serious non tourist things)

I can’t think of a better place to study and work if you’re either a student or a researcher. Just looking at all the people there, sitting on their desks, drawing out their destiny through their work and powering through like an engine. It’s hard to not be motivated. Apart from being a very abundant resource for anything really, they boost wonderful facilities.

However it’s hard to do that without a Reader’s Pass, these passes allow you to take advantage of many services, authorization to make use of the Reading Rooms (spaces designated for that matter specifically), as well as access to many manuscripts or catalogs that are not open to the general public.

That doesn’t mean though you can’t work at all if you don’t have one! The cafe at the library is a perfect space to get some work done, grab a bite, and still not get disturbed (the people who go there generally know that everyone might be working or studying so you wouldn’t find obnoxiously loud or snoopy persons). Oh and FYI they have good coffee πŸ™‚

Courtesy of The British Library Website
Covid 19 Updates

The library has opened its doors again but there are restrictions to the utility of the facilities, however they do provide digital catalogs and online services to help you with whatever it is you may need as a reader or researcher.

Their shop has recently opened up for online orders! Yay! They do ship internationally but expect some delays.

Hopefully I’ll get to go back someday; libraries are one of my favorite things in the world! Do you love libraries too? Have you ever been to The British Library?


Published by jawahirthebookworm

Hello I’m Jawahir the bookworm, a lost twenty-something year old bookish blogger who enjoys her books with a cup of strong coffee; milk no sugar no cream.

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