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“Captain Cook exhibition - Fascinating”
Review of British Library

British Library
Ranked #58 of 1,854 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Open to all visitors seven-days-a-week, this superb building by Sir Colin St John Wilson offers events, special exhibitions and a Treasures Gallery that displays over 200 items, including Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible and lyrics by the Beatles.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Stairs / lift, Lockers / storage
Reviewed 6 August 2018

For over a decade I've been dropping into the British Library to study, see the permanent collection, use the loos, get a drink, see the exhibitions, pass a bit of time. The building is consistently immaculate, well managed, and carefully curated. Every exhibition I've been to has been a delight.

The Captain Cook exhibition was really something else. Many of the art and writings had been brought back from his voyages and are therefore rare and fragile. It was a privilege to see them. The commentary on the effect of his journeys on the peoples he met and their effect on him was thoughtfully done. The final section on Cook's death was intriguing and should be shown to anyone learning about how different agendas and limited evidence can distort events and perceptions.

My favourite bit is always riding the Library's escalators, though. I just love the narrow little ones!

1  Thank Kathryn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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90 - 94 of 3,602 reviews

Reviewed 5 August 2018

We spent one hour and a half/two hours at the guided visit. Amazing things to know about as well as amazing, witty and funny guide. It is actually whorthy despite of the fact that it isn't that popular for tourists.

1  Thank mliporac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2018

We went to this comprehensive exhibit on the three voyages of Captain Cook, who is a rather controversial figure in world history. He explored vast reaches of the South Pacific including New Zealand, Hawaii, Australia, Fiji, Tahiti, as well as the northern Pacific. The exhibit uses maps, journals, videos, original drawings and ethnographic items brought back from his journeys to tell the complex story of his life and the cross cultural exchanges (good and bad) that resulted from his exploration. If you have any interest in the history of exploration, the South Pacific, ethnology or geography, this is an exhibit not to missed.

1  Thank daanddo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2018

We were in the UK for 2 weeks and in London for the last 4 days of our trip staying literally across the road from the library in the Premier Inn. While on our trip, we had visited all kinds of great places - castles, naval exhibits, WW2 exhibits, etc. I'd not planned to visit the library despite it being so close but on the last day in London, my wife suggested I take the kids (7 and 15) to the library while she packs. I'm glad I did!

The building itself is spectacular with the center column of books being a very impressive centerpiece. But the thing to see is the special collections exhibit. And in fact, of everything we saw on our trip (the Mary Rose, Bletchly Park, numerous castles) i open with the the jaw dropping display at the library.

Walking into the display room and seeing Da Vinci's actual notebook had be doing a double take that only countinued as I looked at works from the great composers, the Bronte's, the Beatles. The Magna Carta exhibit is fantastic...hard to believe it was/is THE Magna Carta! But the best was for last in the scared texts section. Fragments of a bible from 3...yeah, 3. A book from 8...as in the year 8! I've visited many Roman ruins and marveled at them but understand how stone survives. But paper??! Just jaw dropping.

The kids weren't impressed but they did like the gift store :) If you're in London though, do not miss stopping in for the exhibit. It's free and only takes a short while to go. Your mind will be blown at the presentation.

2  Thank guppy98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 August 2018

On a visit to the library I was impressed at how easy it was to find the book repository. Following our arrival at Kings Cross Underground Station we were pleased to note that TFL had even provided directions as to which exit to use.
Our visit was inspired by the a la mode Windrush exhibition, that, while interesting my colleagues and I found quite prosaic.
However, our biggest disappointment was the exorbitant prices relating to refreshments and I assume this was inspired by Wallace D Wattles who provided the inspiration for the title of this review.

Thank Salsri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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