Explore the building
Tour our Grade I listed London building.
Tour the British Library to learn about the design and architecture of our building, the artwork hidden in its nooks and crannies and what goes on behind the scenes.
Ever noticed the fossils buried in our courtyard? Or that our building actually resembles a ship?
Take a peek inside...
Want to find out more? Book a tour.
Architecture and design
Explore the architecture of this Grade 1 listed building.
Look out for some of the techniques used in the Entrance Hall to make the building welcoming for visitors.
Discover how the Reading Rooms were designed to reflect the people who use them.
Discover the secrets of these stones in the amphitheatre area of the Piazza.
This 12-foot bronze statue in the Piazza depicts Sir Isaac Newton in the search for knowledge.
Next to the main staircase hangs this tapestry made up of seemingly random fragments and figures. What does it all mean?
In this etching on the Second Floor, two expressionless women walk past a set of Michelangelo drawings. What’s going on?
When looking at this bronze bust of the writer Virginia Woolf outside the Rare Books and Music Reading Room, you may be taken aback by her aghast expression.
Look at this bronze sculpture for long enough and you’ll be transported to the rugged beauty of the southwest coast of England.
At the heart of the building, a tall glass tower – the King’s Library – houses the collections of King George III.
Beneath your feet...
Did you know that beneath the main library are five levels of basement? Reaching 24 metres below ground – the equivalent of an eight-storey building – they are as deep as the Victoria line, which runs alongside them. Down here is where the majority of the building’s collection items are stored.
If our air con unit fails, it's all down to these nine buckets of ice...
Fire and water are the nemeses of the British Library and we do everything we can to keep them away from our collections.