Self-guided school visit – Primary

Monday to Friday, 12:00–13:00 or 15:00–16:00
Additional times may be offered subject to availability: please contact us to enquire
A small group of children seated in the Entrance Hall, one raising his hand
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We're gradually reopening to keep everyone safe however, our onsite Schools Programme remains closed until further notice. We are exploring ways to support schools during this time and will update these pages with further information as plans progress. In the meantime, you can explore a wealth of online learning resources on our website and keep up to date with us on Twitter.

Self-guided visits to the Library are available throughout the year. This flexible option enables teachers to lead a group themselves, taking in different parts of the Library’s public spaces and the permanent exhibition in our Treasures Gallery along with changing displays in our Second Floor Gallery.

Self-guided visits can be booked in their own right or combined with a workshop session. Visit slots last for one hour, must be booked in advance and are offered subject to availability of our spaces. 

New self-guided supporting resources are available onsite to support and enrich your visit.

What you can expect to see during a self-guided visit

The British Library is a thriving hub of activity every day, with visitors coming for a huge range of purposes such as to research new ideas, revise for exams, meet with friends or find inspiration in our exhibitions and from the building itself. We believe that seeing this busy space in action is a valuable part of any visit for a group of learners.

Your learners will gain an appreciation of the Library’s building and architecture, both inside and out. They can see the seven-story King’s Library Tower that runs through the centre of the building, wonder where all the books are kept and view a myriad of art and sculpture dotted around the public spaces. 

During your visit, take time to see some of the Library’s most precious items on display in the Treasures Gallery. The gallery houses a wealth of beautiful illuminated manuscripts, maps and music; an abundance of sacred texts; important historical documents such as the Magna Carta with rare and ornate books and objects such as Jane Austen’s writing desk, as well as sound recordings and much more. There are also two temporary displays in the Treasures Gallery for your learners to see.

What's on?

Second Floor Gallery

Exquisite Patterns: Japanese Textile Design, 14 February - 17 May 2020

Practical designs produced by kimono merchants to lavish commercial publications: this display highlights the creativity and skill of artist, designer and publisher through a selection of superb images reproduced from the British Library’s collection of Japanese pattern books.

Lower Ground Floor

Sound Gallery

From birdsong to beatbox, we have over 7 million sound and video recordings in our archives. Experience some of these for yourself – all hand-picked by staff and guest curators.


Age group: All Primary year groups
When: Monday to Friday, 12:00–13:00 or 15:00–16:00
Additional times may be offered subject to availability: please contact us to enquire
Length: 1 hour
Group size:

Maximum group size: 35

Key skills: Cross-curricular
Price: Admission: Free entry
Where: British Library St Pancras
Enquiries: (0)20 7412 7797
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