British Library

London, NW1 2DB

National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to over 240 venues across the UK as well as 50% off major exhibitions.

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Established as an independent institution in 1973, the British Library is the largest library in the world, with well over 150 million items in its collection.

Since 1997 the library has been housed in a purpose-built building at St Pancras in London, and continues to add around three million items to its collection each year.

As a legal deposit library, the British Library is sent one copy of everything published in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. In addition to newly published books, the library is home to several manuscripts of huge historic significance, from Beowulf to the Magna Carta. These and others are on display to the general public at the library's Sir John Ritblat Gallery, which is open daily with no admission charge. The museum also has an exciting exhibitions programme, which draws upon its own collections and loans from elsewhere.

Art we’ve helped buy at British Library

Dating to between 1250 and 1260, the Rutland Psalter is an elaborately illuminated manuscript. Nearly all of its 190 pages are decorated, six with full page miniature illustrations.

The Mervyn Peake Archive is a collection of drawings, poetry notebooks and manuscripts by the artist and author. His illustrations form a significant portion of the archive, including the complete set of original illustrations for Lewis Carroll's Alice books.

Venue information

Opening times

Main building

Mon – Thu, 9.30am – 8pm

Fri, 9.30am –​6pm (Sat until 5pm)

​Sun, 11am-5pm

Treasures Gallery and PACCAR exhibitions

Tue –Thu, 9.30am-8pm, Mon & Fri until 6pm, Sat until 5pm, Sun 11am – 5pm

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)