London is a very literary city; land of Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens and Platform 9 3/4.
It’s also the land of epic museums (free museums, at that!)… from the ginormous British Museum, to the Imperial War Museum, to a bunch of stunning art museums.
And then there’s the British Library.
Of all the amazing literary destinations and mammoth museums spread around London, the British Library is my favorite. It’s like a special little museum curated just for us book lovers.
First of all, in the center of the building is the King’s Collection; thousands and thousands of books collected by King George III and housed on shelves in a great glass tower. Sadly you can’t read the books…but you can get a cup of tea at the museum café, sit at one of the table surrounding the bookish glass tower, and gaze in wonderment while you sip your tea.
But the real treasures are hidden away in a little room on the side of the building, stuffed with amazing things. Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find wandering through the British Library…
Jane Austen’s writing desk
Beatles lyrics scribbled down on paper and the backs of envelopes by John, Paul, George, and Ringo
A Gutenberg Bible
Charlotte Bronte’s original manuscript of Jane Eyre
And so much more, including papers from Lewis Carroll, Leonardo da Vinci, Bach, and Mozart…oh yeah, and the Magna Carta!
And don’t forget to stop by the museum gift shop on your way out. They have an excellent selection of books, posters, postcards, and bookmarks…last time I was there, I picked up some Beatles coasters.
Happy British Library browsing!