We have one of the largest collections of maps, plans and topographical views in the world, numbering some 4.5 million, with a chronological spread of over 2,000 years

Collection guides

How to …

Maps reading room

Maps Reading Room

  • View our extensive open access collection material
  • Access online databases and electronic journals and digitised map collections
  • Use our catalogues to order items from our extensive reference collection

If you need help, ask our Information Specialists at the enquiry desk.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 20.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Mon 10.00 – 20.00
Tue - Thu 09.30 – 20.00
Fri – Sat 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays Closed - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/subjects/news-media#sthash.Wb5AILRq.dpuf

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

A Rare View of the Siege of Boston (1775-1776)

02 September 2015

The British Library is pleased to have a number of of maps and views currently on display in a special exhibition at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library. These maps, which come from the King's Topographical...

20th century maps: internship opportunity

12 August 2015

The British Library's Map Library is offering the following three month internship opportunity for a Research Council funded PhD student. Contribute to a major exhibition launching in November 2016 that will explore key aspects of national and international government policy,...

Revelatory Rivers in Germany and the Holy Roman Empire – Part 1

11 August 2015

The K.Top cataloguing and digitisation project marches ever forward, rather like the Swedish military in this map. The illustration below shows a battle scene, one of several on the map, from the Swedish Intervention during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48)....

The Kangxi atlas in the King’s Topographical Collection

20 July 2015

The following blog focuses on an atlas of China produced by French Jesuits and now in the Topographical Collection of George III. The founding of the Académie des Sciences in Paris in 1666 put France at the forefront of the...

More blog posts

Maps projects

Georeferencing

Crowdsourcing location data to make a selection of its vast collections of maps fully searchable and viewable using popular online geotechnologies.

Off the map

An annual videogame design competition for UK higher education students.

Maps staff expert

Tom Harper

Curator, Antiquarian mapping

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Charles Close Society

Dedicated to the study of OS mapping

Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey for Great Britain

Shop

Art and History of Globes (hardback)

Art and History of Globes

Celebrating the art and history of the globe, this book focuses on the 400 years when the printed globe occupied an important place in the history of European exploration.

£30

Maps: Their Untold Stories

Maps: Their Untold Stories

This magnificent collection, drawn from seven centuries of maps held in the National Archives at Kew, looks at a variety of maps.

£30

Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art

Magnificent Maps Power Propaganda and Art

Magnificent maps, expressing an enormous variety of differing world views.

£20