London’s most inspiring libraries

Photo credit: Lottie Cole

January’s not just a month for empty wine glasses and spending hours in the gym – there’s no better time to curl up with some page-turning literature. Revel in what’s left of the winter by delving into West London’s loveliest tucked-away libraries, whether you’re looking to browse books or write your own.

The London Library
Tucked away in St James’s Square, the London Library is a bibliophile’s dream. You might find yourself browsing among the one million bookshelves with president Tom Stoppard or Simon Schama in its softly lit red-carpeted rooms.

The Wiener Library
A library ‘built on the power of truth’, you’ll find one of the world’s most extensive Holocaust archives near to Russell Square. Brimming with original source material collated since its beginnings in 1933, it’s illuminating, enlightening – and a must-visit for history buffs.

The National Art Library at the V&A
The soul of the V&A, this library spans books on craft and design, and as befitting a library for art-lovers, the high windows and swooping mezzanine of the reading room are eye-catchingly spectacular.

The Senate House Library
Sometimes, it’s all about first impressions. And looming Senate House, home to the University of London’s library, is something straight out of a George Orwell novel. No surprise that he actually based 1984’s Ministry of Truth on it.

And if that’s not bookish enough for you, would-be intellectuals or those simply interested in some self fulfillment, should take a look at the Idler Academy’s courses. New Year, new you and all that…

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