8 Famous Libraries in London You Need to Visit!

libraries in London
Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay/Copyright 2015

For all the bookworms out there, you’ll find a few of the best libraries in London, on the corners of the street, once in a while.

London libraries are stacked with numerous books from emerging writers and famous ones, as well. Even when it comes to aesthetics, every library holds glamour.

Whether it is a free public library or a national library with over one million books, all of them are indeed ideal for a quiet and lovely time when it comes to reading a book. With ancient stairs and vintage decor, and a modern flair for books of literature, London’s libraries are unique and equally intriguing.

Today, we’ve narrowed down the list to a few of the famous libraries in London, which are perfect for discovering a wide range of books as well as for spending quality time reading one. So, without further ado, let’s talk about the most popular libraries in London.

Best Libraries in London –

1. The London Library

Situated at James St. Square, the London Library is one the most traditional and independent libraries in London, which lets its members borrow plenty of books for a long period of time.

Founded in 1841, this library holds a few of the famous writers as members, making it a Shoreditch famous library, which is also among the largest.

libraries in London
Image from the London Library

With over one million books, members have access to a stack of books every once in a while, which comes along with a seemingly cheaper subscription fee. But the benefits you’ll receive are phenomenal, of course.

The library has wooden furniture with tints of red curtains and carpets alongside it, so you can get the vibe of the old ancient times.

This London local library also looks after the authors who are not famous yet or not in the best sellers section. For those new authors, the London Library hosts evening tours and talk shows for an emerging writers program, which provides the new writers with the attention they deserve. It is a lovely form of promotion for authors as well as readers who love experimenting with new books and writing styles.

After all, this library is one of the best libraries in London, where over 8000 books are added every year, along with a huge range in a wide stream of books, especially humanities, and children’s books well. No wonder it is one of the top libraries in London for borrowing a large number of books.

2. The British Library

Situated at Euston Road, the British Library is undoubtedly one of the best libraries in London, and even in the world. It is the national library of the UK, which boasts of being the powerhouse of endless information.

If you’re looking for some obscure information, this place is filled with ancient manuscripts, newspapers, recordings, and also written words of old civilization.

libraries in London
Image from the British Library

With high aesthetic and ambiance value, this place is always bustling with people, waiting to read a book in silence or work on their articles, projects, or other things on a laptop. It is the best public library to visit if you’re willing to be productive or want to focus.

This local library screams success and the best atmosphere, so it is better to grab the opportunity as soon as the library opens.

Being among the best libraries in London, this place has over 60,000 volumes, along with pamphlets and manuscripts, that King George III once collected. Quite interesting, isn’t it?

The library has a six-story tower, which is also made of glass and is inspired by the Beinecke Library at Yale University – one of those picturesque spots to take a picture.

The place also has a coffee shop on the ground floor, so students and working adults often stop by to grab a coffee and work their remaining time inside the British Library.

Even though the library is open to everyone, the reading rooms are exclusively booked for the members only. However, you can still bring your laptop or grab a book to read in utter silence, because this library has got that vibe.

3. National Poetry Library

Located at the Royal Festival Hall of Southbank Centre, the National Poetry Library is the largest which holds special collections of a vast range of British Poetry. If you move up to 5 floors of the Festival Hall, you’ll discover the lovely warmth and lights of the Library nearby, stacked with over 200,000 works of modern British poetry.

libraries in London
Image from the National Poetry Library

It may be one of those aesthetically gorgeous libraries in London, however, it still brings a lot to the table with its lovely atmosphere and quietness in the hall, with a number of the greatest British poetry of all time.

They also provide ideas and advice for emerging British poets, which is a huge support system already.

This library was founded by the famous poet, T.S Eliot in 1953, and ever since so a lot happened and even the location of the library shifted. However, the purpose of the library remained the same, to convey the knowledge of poetry art in London, and encourage fellow young poets in their journey.

It is always best to read the poet’s book right there and finish it before you leave since the atmosphere is calming and wise. Anyone would be lured to take a seat right there and enjoy their afternoon and evening, engrossed in the piece of literature.

4. Senate House Library

One of the best London Libraries you can ever come across in the UK is the Senate House Library. Situated on Malet Street, this library is the main library of the Univerity of London, so technically the students of the university get endless access to these exotic book stacks.

Apart from students, others can also access the library for a day with a day ticket or with summer memberships.

There’s nothing better than reading an indulging book on a warm, fuzzy armchair. Yes, the best part of this library is the cozy chairs, where you’ll be lured to sit all day.

libraries in London
Image from the Senate House Library

The Senate House Library used to be the Ministry of Information during the time of World War II, while also appearing in Batman movies as the Court of Justice, later on. However, this public library has become home to the best author works and of a university with a wide range of books and academic works, as well as study materials.

This authoritative not-so-public library is formed on several floors, from the fourth to the eighteenth, so you can imagine how huge of a library it is for such a London University. No wonder, it is so popular when it comes to the best libraries in London.

5. Bethnal Green Library

Located near the Bethnal Green Station, the Bethnal Green Library has to be one of the most underrated libraries in London, which always deserves a mention amongst the London Libraries.

Being another one of the free public libraries, this place has a remarkable collection of books for a local community library in London.

Just like other libraries like Peckham Library, Wellcome Library, or Bfi Reuben Library, this place needs more recognition. Decked up with glamour and wooden floors with a vintage-themed interior, this place is an ideal spot for studying and focusing on a book in solitude.

libraries in London
Image from Bethnal Green Library

This library is one of those rare places which motivates you to concentrate and study. With plenty of children’s books and famous books like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, this place is among the public libraries with free wifi, free entry, and study rooms, which can be hired with study space for 100 people.

It may not be among the popular London libraries, but surely it is a beautiful library with a range of great books and aestheticism at its peak. No wonder it has made it to its ist despite being not-so-popular.

6. National Art Library

Another one of the greatest libraries in London is the National Art Library, located in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Among the other London libraries, it is one of those spots where you can join the library, free of cost, just with your ID proof and address.

Adorned with art like metalwork, portraits, drawings, and even Japanese art, this place is glamorous.

Situated at Cromwell Road, it is on the first floor of the museum and also has a lot of museum references and artifacts studded at the library. For seeking references, this is the best library for public access to references.

libraries in London
Image from the Victoria & Albert Museum

Among other London libraries, this place prioritizes art decor over anything. There are plenty of study rooms like the Ceramic study room, Architecture study room, and other rooms available if you’re seeking a calm, space to work to read. Even though the place is perfect for working, you cannot bring any food or drinks, as it goes against their policies.

This library is among those few libraries in London, which is open on weekends as well. So, grab your book and work supplies to enjoy a weekend full of productivity or relaxation with the book reading sessions at National Art Library.

7. Kensington Central Library

One of the largest public libraries in London, which is equally large, spacious, and packed with a large spectrum, of books. The Kensington Central Library is a beautiful, wooden-furnished library with wonderful architectural construction and ancient style in the interiors.

Situated in West London, at Phillimore Walk, the library stands at the place where the Grand Old House used to be before it was destroyed by the Blitz. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1960 and was built by E. Vincent Harris, the architect.

After all these years, it still serves as one of the most famous libraries in London, since those old times. Even though it is a public library like most, the large and wide open reading hall is what makes it unique. With an old traditional flair, alongside dark-wooden brushed bookshelves and seats, this place is perfect for reading time.

Even for people who want to work in a calm and peaceful place, this place has to be their go-to library. With lots of great books in stock, both in academics and fiction – there’s no doubt it brings a warm and settling ambiance for study focussed sessions.

8. Maughan Library

Last but definitely not least, Maughan Library is another one of the most popular libraries in London, which is also equally anticipated. It holds the title of the neo-gothic-themed authoritative building, which is accessible only to the students of King’s College London.

Even though the public may visit the library as an open house, yet still you have to be a member to access the diverse range of books kept on its shelves. The Maughan Library is also well-known for its iconic large reading room, which is similar to the one described in Dan Brown’s Bestseller Book – Da Vinci Code.

libraries in London
Image from King’s College London

The aesthetic of the building is outstanding and anyone would be starstruck, simply gazing at the building which is similar in appearance to ‘Dumbledore’s Office’ in the Harry Potter series.

It is a grade-II listed library, built and designed in 1851 by Sir James Pennethorne. Located at Chancery Lane, the library has been active ever since World War II.

Typically, the Maughan Library focuses on the learning and research concepts of academics, since it is the library for the King’s College London Students. The range of books revolves around study materials, manuscripts, and other information-based books on Science, Humanities, History, Computer Science, and Law.


It has been a long yet interesting list of the famous libraries in London. However, there are a few other important London libraries that equally deserve a mention, even though they are underrated. A few of them are – The Canada Water Library, The School of Oriental and African Studies Library, Bfi Reuben Library, and Peckham Library.

Check Out: The 25 Free Museums in London

All of London’s Libraries are elegant, informative, and paced with wisdom. So, if you’re seeking great libraries in the London streets, you’re assured that you’ll find amazing libraries once in a while, in the hidden corners of the street. On those days, when you’re craving a good book or a relaxing work time without interference, visit any one of these libraries to make your day!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here