The Best Libraries in London to Enjoy as a Family
For many families, reading a bedtime story is an intrinsic part of the daily routine, but if you and your brood love literature, then you will want to incorporate it into your holiday. 1 March is World Book Day, offering the perfect excuse to indulge your passion. As well as a wide selection of bookshops, London is home to some wonderful libraries, which can be enjoyed by the whole family.
The Poetry Library
The Poetry Library is housed within the Southbank Centre and is the perfect setting in which to foster a love of verse in your kids. As well as an incredibly comprehensive collection of poetry spanning 1912 to the modern day, there is a cosy reading den where children can get comfortable with a book.
A wide selection of special events and workshops are on offer at The Poetry Library, helping to bring the words to life. Be sure to check the schedule in advance and visit Tuesday to Sunday between 11.00 and 20.00, as the library is closed on Mondays.
Barbican Children’s Library
You can’t beat the Barbican for a venue that will cater to the whole family, as it encompasses multiple performance spaces and libraries. The kids will love exploring the dedicated children’s library, where they can read books and get recommendations from staff, as well as participate in age-specific activities, including rhymetime for the under-fives.
Open Monday to Saturday, hours vary throughout the week.
The British Library
What book lover could not be enchanted by the second biggest library in the world? You and your family will be overwhelmed by all the gems to be discovered at The British Library. Many of its most noteworthy books and manuscripts are on display, meaning you can go and gaze upon such historic works as the Magna Carta and original copies of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground by Lewis Carroll.
The British Library also plays host to many exhibitions and has many treasures such as the Magana Carta and Jane Austin's notebook. The British Library is open seven days a week, although times vary.
Bibliotheque Quentin Blake
Quentin Blake provided the endearing illustrations for many of Roald Dahl’s books and it is his ethos for fun and learning that is found at the children’s library named after him. Bibliotheque Quentin Blake sits inside the Institut Francais and is a cosy and practical environment for reading and exploring the world of words. The large mural painted by Blake himself will welcome you and your family to this extraordinary space.
Open daily from 10.00 to 21.30.
The impressive Edwardian façade of Highgate Library in Camden is the first thing that strikes you upon visiting this venerable temple of books. It has been enticing literature lovers since 1906 and continues to do so to this day. Its collection is vast and special sections dedicated to not just children’s, but also young adult fiction means that everyone will be able to find something they are excited to read.
Open at varying times on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
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