The Best Libraries in The British Isles

iStock_antiquebooksThe UK and Ireland have some of the best and most historic libraries in the world. For book enthusiasts, nothing compares to the environment of a beautiful building filled with thousands and thousands of pages to read. If reading an ebook just doesn’t feel quite the same to you, and if you love the smell of tattered books twice as old as you, here are some wonderful libraries you really ought to visit:

1. The Bodleian, Oxford

This very famous library is the second largest in the country, and one of the oldest in Europe but it’s also housed in a cluster of some of the most interesting buildings in Oxford. It’s a true book lover’s paradise. You’ll probably recognise several parts of it as the library has been used in many films, including, of course, Harry Potter. Why not book a room in our Oxford Peartree hotel and spend a weekend exploring possibly the world’s most famous academic town?

2. The Glasgow School of Art Library

The designer of this phenomenal building was none other than Charles Rennie Mackintosh who took night classes in architecture at the Glasgow School of Art some years before he was asked to design their library. If your favourite books are of the art and design variety, you’ll find one of the best collections here. Reserve a room in one of our Glasgow hotels to explore the famous architecture of this great Scottish city.

3. Trinity College Library, Dublin

As the biggest library in Ireland, this one is a must visit for any library lover. With more than 6 million books and a beautiful series of buildings, including the stunning Long Room, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the great Book of Kells, as two of the four volumes are always on display here. Stay in our Dublin City Centre Rathmines hotel to spend many happy hours browsing bookshelves.

girls searching book shelf at a library

4. Cambridge University Library

Another university with a collection to rival the Oxford Bodleian is Cambridge University and its vast complex of library buildings. The massive 8 million piece collection isn’t the only attraction here – this library is different to many others in that the majority of its books are out on open shelves. For easy access to so much world literature, and to explore the rest of this beautiful university town, book a room in our Cambridge Central hotel.

5. Idea Store Whitechapel, London

London is saturated with libraries and you could spend a good few weeks doing nothing but trying to visit them all. But for something a little different, try visiting the Idea Store in Whitechapel. The huge modern building stands out architecturally, as well as for having all sorts of hi-tech facilities and for hosting everything from dance classes to gallery exhibitions to community events. Stay in one of our London hotels for a weekend to include a trip to the library on a visit to the capital.