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National Library of Scotland

Scotland’s largest library is free to use. Don’t miss its exhibition of one of the world’s most important literary archives.

The National Library of Scotland is the country’s information hub for the study of its history and culture. It houses millions of items including priceless manuscripts, books, maps and archive film footage.

Among the collections are the earliest books printed in Scotland, more than 32,000 films covering over 100 years of Scotland’s history, and current information in many research fields. Rarer pieces include one of the only complete copies of the first printed book, the Gutenberg Bible of 1455, and the last letter by Mary, Queen of Scots, written just six hours before her execution.

Anyone can peruse the library’s collections and use the reading rooms. To do so you need a library card. This can be obtained on the day of your visit. Just go to Readers’ Registration with proof of your identity and address. You can also register online beforehand to speed up the process when you arrive.

The Visitor Centre is a good place to start your visit. You can browse the online collections, find out how to use the building, and unwind in the café. Then, visit the Discovery Area that contains a selection of the library’s holdings.

While you are in the building, inspect the free permanent and temporary exhibitions on the ground floor. Stop by the John Murray Archive, a permanent collection spanning more than 200 years of this renowned publisher’s history. The collected works include manuscripts, private letters and business correspondence with some of the world’s greatest thinkers and writers, such as Charles Darwin, Lord Byron and Jane Austen. For details of the temporary exhibitions, visit the library’s website.

The National Library of Scotland is located on George IV Bridge, an elevated street close to the city center that’s served by several bus routes. It’s advisable not to come by car as nearby parking is hard to find.

The library is open every day except Sunday. Check the library website for opening times.


Guide to Exploring around National Library of Scotland


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Best Lodging Options Near National Library of Scotland

See all 2,992 Properties near National Library of Scotland
Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel ¥6,193
Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel

Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel

Grosvenor Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Haymarket, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and Princes Street. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Usher Hall are also within 15 minutes. Edinburgh Haymarket Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Waverley Station is 26 minutes.

    Jurys Inn Edinburgh ¥7,116
    Jurys Inn Edinburgh

    Jurys Inn Edinburgh

    43 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Old Town, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Museum of Childhood, Princes Street, and Royal Mile. Real Mary King's Close and St. Giles' Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 29 minutes.

      Point A Hotel Edinburgh Haymarket ¥5,067
      Point A Hotel Edinburgh Haymarket

      Point A Hotel Edinburgh Haymarket

      152 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Haymarket, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), Usher Hall, and Royal Lyceum Theatre. Princes Street and George Street are also within 15 minutes. Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 6 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Waverley Station is 22 minutes.

        Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel ¥9,628
        Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

        Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

        61 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from Grassmarket, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, and Scotch Whisky Experience. Greyfriars Kirk and Royal Mile are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 10 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 18 minutes.

          Apex Grassmarket Hotel ¥11,148
          Apex Grassmarket Hotel

          Apex Grassmarket Hotel

          31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Grassmarket, Royal Mile, and Greyfriars Kirk. Scotch Whisky Experience and The Hub are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 11 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 17 minutes.

            YOTEL Edinburgh ¥7,015
            YOTEL Edinburgh

            YOTEL Edinburgh

            Erskine House, Queen Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in New Town, this hotel is steps from Assembly Rooms, Princes Street, and George Street. Princes Street Gardens and Scott Monument are also within 10 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is 12 minutes by foot and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 23 minutes.

              The Balmoral Hotel ¥20,776
              The Balmoral Hotel

              The Balmoral Hotel

              1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
                 
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in New Town, this luxury hotel is steps from Waterloo Place and Princes Street. Scott Monument and George Street are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 4-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 24 minutes.

                Motel One Edinburgh-Royal ¥10,585
                Motel One Edinburgh-Royal

                Motel One Edinburgh-Royal

                18-21 Market Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from City Art Centre, Princes Street, and St. Giles' Cathedral. Real Mary King's Close and Royal Mile are also within 5 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley Station is only a 3-minute walk and Edinburgh Haymarket Station is 24 minutes.