Highlights of the British Museum or Temporary Exhibition at the British Library ?

So, I’ll be back in London between October 31 and November 2.

The main reason is that we’re going to visit the Harry Potter Studios, as a gift for my eldest daughter’s 12th birthday. Now, it is absolutely impossible for me to go there and not revisit my old haunts.

The programme is almost completely set - it is an extremely short visit - but I still have a couple of hours free for a cultural visit on the afternoon of the last day. I was planning to do a personal version of the “1 hour at the British Museum” tour (more like 2h in my case) until I saw this :cool:. Now I’m at a loss what to do. Which one would you choose, bearing in mind that I’ll be able to do only one ?

British Museum
Pros : Interesting and ideally located on my planned route for that day.
Cons : I’d be happy to see the highlights but I can’t say I’m 100% enthusiastic about it.

British Library Exhibition
Pros : Looks absolutely unique and fascinating.
Cons : More difficult to fit in my planning as it would come at the very end of a day-long walk.

The British Museum is amazing, I recommend seeing it before we’re forced to give it all back.

Get a rosetta stone jigsaw from the gift shop.

I say the British Library. I love the British Museum, but if the subject of English history interests you (as it obviously does) you’re unlikely to ever see a similar exhibition. Plus, it sounds like you’ve already seen the British Museum. It certainly bears revisiting, but don’t pass up the unique opportunity.

Depends on where you’re from and how often you go to London. If this is likely going to be your daughter’s only trip, then the British Museum without a doubt. If it’s going to be one of many trips, then the British Library.

Ask your daughter which one she wants to do.

If you are on your own, the British Library.

If it was me, I’d see the library exhibition, as I’ve been to the British Museum three separate times for a total of about 16 hours already.

Beyond that, I’m kind of fascinated with Anglo-Saxon England of that period, so I’d definitely get a kick out of the library exhibit.

FYI, the Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4 shop (and the platform itself) is right around the corner from the Library at Kings Cross station, so maybe you can work it in easier.

I spent a day and a half in the British Museum recently and still didn’t get to appreciate it all. There’s just so much to see. Unlike the Smithsonian it’s all jammed and packed in; like the Smithsonian it closes far too early. Extend your holiday and do both.

BTW the British Museum has an excellent restaurant at the top of the central thingy.

If you had a half-day or more( or y’know, an entire weekend ), I’d say the British Museum because I love it so. But an hour in the BM is like only getting to have one bite from a great dinner when you’re starving. I’d do the library.

The British Library. Their exhibitions are very good and would take about an hour to see.

It takes all of 5 minutes to walk the British Library from KIngs Cross and Harry Potter thing. The latter is not much more that an opportunity to buy merchandise and taking a selfie photo with an actor dressed as one of the characters. The full Harry Potter experience is out of town at Levesden Warner Bros film studios and takes a full day.

For British Museum you would have to decide exactly what you want to see to get the most out of the time available. It is also not far from Kings Cross, about a fifteen minute walk. One way to do it is pick a few of the objects in this list and go there to tick them off and listen to the podcasts.

Many visitors don’t make it far past Ancient Egypt before they run out of steam, the place is so big.

I’m afraid we can’t extend our stay.

I’ve been to the British Museum a couple of times, but that was back in the mid-90s. My daughters have never been there, though. I may ask them which of the two they prefer, but I suspect I’ll get a big “Meh”. They never like the prospect of cultural visits although they almost always end up enjoying them.

I’d made a list of about 15 objects I wanted to see the day before I read about the British Library exhibition, so I know exactly what to do if we end up going to the British Museum.

As far as Harry Potter is concerned, we’re indeed going for the whole experience, at the Levesden studios.

I’m really tempted by the British Library exhibition, as I love the Anglo-Saxon period. My main concern is how tired we will be because the only way to make it fit in my planning is to put it at the very end of our stay, right before we get the train at King’s Cross. By that time, we’ll have had a full day’s walk behind us, starting at Westminster Abbey. On top of a walk in the Hyde Park area and the Harry Potter visit the day before.

If time is an issue, then one point to consider about the British Library’s temporary exhibitions is that they are usually vast. Huge. Humongous. Endless. They have a lot of space to do them in and the stuff to fill them with, so they don’t go halves on the amount.

You’ll be rushing to do it in even a couple of hours. Goodness knows I’ll be going to see it, but as a local who’ll be able to spare a whole morning or afternoon to it. Yet who will probably emerge feeling that was all just too much stuff …

It looks like the Library exhibition would have what I consider some of the best stuff from the Museum on loan, anyway - the Sutton Hoo and other Anglo Saxon metalwork. Domesday book and various gospels are nice, too.

That’s my thought. I sometimes find that the very best of BL exhibitions really take two visits to do them justice. And all the advance vibes about this particular exhibition are extremely promising. The BL has the best and largest collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and they’ve clearly been able to persuade lots of other institutions to send them their good stuff. It seems extremely unlikely that they’ll go for the less-is-more approach. All the more reason to be excited about it.

But then again, this does depend on one’s level of interest. There doubtless are people who for some strange reason would find a vast exhibition on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts rather dull. Let’s face it, it’s probably the sort of thing you have to want to see to enjoy it.

In which case you won’t have seen all the bits of the BM that have been revamped since the BL moved out. In fact, some of the other bits that have also been redone are the Anglo-Saxon galleries, although, to be honest, that’s one of their less impressive refurbishments.

You mean we won’t see the Sutton Hoo stuff if we go to the British Museum ? That would be a deal-breaker as it was one of the most important items on my short list.
If that’s confirmed, the British Library it will be !

I would wager and it’s just a guess that most of the artifacts will stay at the British Museum. There are hundreds of artifacts from Sutton Hoo, so they’ll likely ship over a few, but I can’t imagine that they would ship the entire collection. I would find it unlikely that the helmet is going anywhere either.

Oh, I doubt they’d let the helmet go.

There is no need to speculate on what the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition is probably going to include as the published design tender included a full list of the proposed exhibits. It would appear that the items from Sutton Hoo will be the belt buckle and the fittings from the sword belt.

Wow, that’s great !

Thanks a lot.

The Library is worth it alone for the permanent exhibition in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery I think, it’s not huge so it won’t take to long to do but is full of absolute treasures.

I’ve been to both, love both. You can’t go wrong with either. People on travel forums have complained about long security lines at the British museum lately, if that’s a consideration. I was there in December, way out of tourist season and no line at all.