British Library- 6 day London guide

Want to get some inspiration? why not go to a library!

A chilly pouring day in London, we opened the curtain thinking “okay, let’s go to the British Library, books are one of the best things to do on a rainy day.”

Sometimes we go to our local library to borrow books and DVDs, and often we feel like: we should come more! or why there are not more people in the library? there are so many treasures in the library, and you don’t need to pay. one time my love had told a friend he had to go to the library to return books, the friend cracked up and said: you might be the only one I know who has still borrow books from the library. Since Amazon is taking over the book industry in States, buying books can be so easy and cheap with just one click. we have seen fewer physical book stores nowadays, but certainly appreciate a place such as London, so huge on bookstores and the library.

In London the literary culture is bigger than any other place I have seen. and so glad it’s the case. I like to come across a wall hanging with a poem on the posters, or a wall on the subway with a short poem. even just a little time to enjoy the read, I find it incredibly fun, poetry has the magic soothing the fatigue instantly. Do you feel this way too?

British Library experience

We took a bus to the library on a rainy day, I have not much high hopes to catch a lot of outdoor pictures, however, the outlook of the British library is interesting, especially a sculpture of Newton was designed by Eduardo Paolozzi  based on Willam Blake’s print.
As many as Newton’s creations for the physics world, the “divine geometer” was stuck in the circle that he drew with his compass. Meaning that he was so wrapped up with his thoughts and ideas in a deep sea in Blake’s painting. Blake had a completely different idea of world as he said “Art is the Tree of Life. Science is the Tree of Death. However, I like the idea to put Newton in front of the Library as it is the place about academic, enlightenment.

Newton outside British library

The library was built with red bricks and green roofs, there are a little bit different roofs, almost castle-like behind the library is the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London later we discovered, but nicely they have the same brick color that makes the look incorporating harmony.

British library
British library London
British library outlook
behinds British library architecture
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London is just right behinds British Library

Why visit the British Library?

  1. Offering a range of exhibitions, some of them are free. 
  2. Treasures Gallery displays over 200 items, including Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible and lyrics by the Beatles.
  3. The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s largest libraries. Its collections include more than 150 million items.

Inside the library is bright and welcoming. since our goal is to see the special exhibition of Leonardo Da Vinci, it requires buying tickets but the other regular exhibitions are free. 

We had a great time at Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition, it’s a small but very intimate one, main showing his manuscripts. From many years of practice, he tried different methods to calculate and measure water, air…etc, all the mathematical and physical questions. Also his practice of drawing. It was indeed very inspiring, as he finds everything is interesting, he was curious about the world and that made him a great artist. Pity, it was not allowed to take pictures inside, so I can only say what I have seen here without pics, but I highly recommend it. If there is an exhibition in the British Library, please check it, they do a great job curating!

The next stop we went to the must-see in the library- Treasures Gallery, and it is truly amazing, if you are a history buff, this is the place! you are going to see those first edition books, manuscripts, paintings, which have a big influence on the world. 

The Lindisfarne Gospels and Magna Carta to Shakespeare’s First Folio, and Beatles’ record. moreover, some exotic books and maps are presenting here, the gallery is full of gems! you must discover the treasures for yourself! We enjoyed it very much. And once again, amazed by so many Britain masters!

Blake at British Library experience
treasures gallery British Library experience
treasures gallery British Library experience
Shakespeare London book British library
treasures gallery British Library experience
Magna Carta in London
where to see Magna Carta in London
treasures gallery British Library experience
exotic unique book in British library
treasures gallery British Library experience
treasures gallery British Library experience
treasures gallery British Library experience
treasures gallery British Library experience
Beatles treasures gallery British Library experience

At the end of our visit, we took our time to enjoy the interior design of the library, I have to say it’s very modern, smart and welcoming. there are chairs everywhere in the lobby that you can just grab a book and read. I have seen many students, people hanging out here, overhearing them talking about art, books, I like the atmosphere very much. 

inside British Library experience
inside British Library experience
inside British Library experience
inside British Library experience

Also, the famous King’s library is the collection of George III, who forms a new royal library in his reign, now moved here to make the iconic sightseeing; with see through glass window right in the center of the whole place, from the bottom up to the top floor, what a cool design. Although it requires a reader-pass to go in. as a visitor, we can just stay outside. But there is another thing we appreciate it, and can’t fulfill the whole library trip without it- The Enigma Machine!

inside British Library experience
inside British Library experience
the King's library British Library experience

My love is a computer software engineer who loves to play chess, he admires Turing’s contribution so much, as Turing is the very first designer of the computer. also, he is credited with designing the first computer chess program in 1950, named Turochamp.
All things connected, Turing, the man who change the whole modern world and my household intensely:) we were very happy to see The Enigma M4 machine, which is displayed at the front of the Alan Turing Institute, an M4 model, it offers 4,134 million million million possible ways in which it could be set up. sounds so cool, isn’t it?
We are so excited to be able to see this, and go inside to ask the front desk about any talk or program is available on the same day. Though it did not host any event on that day, I highly recommend if you are interested in AI, data science or machine learning, visit their website to check the event upon your visit. 

Turing Enigma machine
Enigma machine in London British Library experience

Overall, the short visit to the Library makes me feel incredibly lucky to be in this world, to see and to learn, pursuing one’s idea as Turing does. really encouraging and inspiring! thank you, Turing! we will continue to discover more London under your influence.

Tips for visiting the British Library

  1.  Please check the official website first, they offer great exhibitions without a big crowd if compared to other museums. also, a lot of literature activities, events, tours.
  2. some exhibitions are not allowed to take pictures.
  3. Be sure to check out the Treasures Gallery, the main exhibition and is free entry! 
  4. Check out the the Turing institute official website if you want to join events of data science. 
  5. Suggest at least visit 2 hours to be comfortable see the exhibitions.

Have you been to the British Library? what’s your favorite part of the library? please share with me your thoughts, and hoped you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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