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

Readers at desks in the Maps Reading Room

Maps Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic books and journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

If you need help, ask our Information Specialists at the enquiry desk or contact the Maps Reference Service Team.

We offer a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
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

Blog posts

London’s Royal Parks

Thursday, April 9, 2020

With spring in full bloom and Easter Bank Holiday approaching it can be tempting to go out for a stroll or even an Easter picnic. However, with the current pandemic you may consider the British Library Digital Collections instead which...

Georeferencing through Self-isolation

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

As many of you will be stuck indoors over the coming weeks, why not think about contributing to the British Library Georeferencer project, we'd be very grateful for your time! The app has recently been upgraded with a lovely new...

Hospitals under the microscope

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Collection of London Maps and Plans assembled by Frederick Crace is one of the Library’s treasures and offers an unparalleled overview of the history of London’s topography up to the mid-19th century. The collection contains a significant number of...

3D historic globes - quiz answers!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

In my last post I posed a set of tricky (or maybe not so tricky) questions on five of our 3D historic globe models. So how did you do? Find out below. Blaeu's terrestrial globe (1621) Where is the Le...

More blog posts

Projects

Georeferencer

Help us make our maps fully searchable and viewable using online geotechnologies.

Off the Map: Videogame & Interactive Fiction Design Competition

A videogame and interactive fiction design competition for UK higher education students

All projects

Library experts

Tom Harper

Curator, Antiquarian mapping

Dr Gethin Rees

Lead Curator, Digital Mapping

Case studies

More Case studies
…King George III’s Topographical Collection is a truly amazing collection in the British Library…

Maps, the Italian Grand Tour and the King’s Topographical Collection

…...Discovering a lost 15th-century city...…

Using our maps collection: Diana Newall, art historian

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 our maps-inspired range

Maps and the 20th century

A global story of the most turbulent century in history through its most powerful and important object: the map.

£20

Cross Stitch Map

A world map printed on cross stitch fabric and mounted on a wooden frame.

£25

Globe Light Orange

See the world, see the light. A bold and elegant globe light.

£85