Best Bookish Places in London

London is a city teeming with literary history, which means that it’s also teeming with books. From the old to the new to the watery, these are a few of my favorite bookish places to explore in London.

British Library

Friends know that I call the British Library my BFF. It is probably one of my favorite museums, period — just off the main tourist road enough to feel like your own, but still with plenty to spend your time on.

The permanent exhibition (Treasures of the British Library) is a free mini-museum stuffed with amazing artifacts. They have one of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, Handel’s Messiah (actually written in Handel’s handwriting), Jane Austen’s writing desk, Beowulf, and loads of illuminated manuscripts from around the world.

Their special exhibitions are also not to be missed, so definitely check their website before you go to see what’s on. The larger exhibitions (which span several rooms) tend to cost an entrance fee, but the smaller ones are normally free (located across the hall from Treasures of the British Library).

And don’t miss the shop! You could easily spend many hours (and many quid) in the little bookshop alone. It is a wonderful, dangerous place.

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work
Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work