About the Bodleian Library

One of the great libraries of the world, the Bodleian is a working library which forms part of the University of Oxford. First opened to scholars in 1602, it incorporates an earlier library erected by the University in the fifteenth century to house books donated by Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester. As the largest university library in the UK, and one of five legal deposit libraries, the Library holds millions of printed items as well as manuscripts.

In its reading rooms, generations of famous scholars have studied through the ages, among them five kings, 40 Nobel Prize winners, 26 prime ministers and writers including Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

The Library is located in a remarkable group of buildings which forms the historic heart of the University, and you can explore the quadrangles of these magnificent structures free of charge. Our tours explore our beautiful and historic interiors, which have intricate painted and carved ceilings.

View two stunning panoramas of the historic Bodleian Libraries here.

About the Weston Library

The Weston Library provides a new home for the Bodleian's special collections and its £80m refurbishment was designed to create high quality storage for its collections, to develop the space for both advanced research and to extend public access to the Libraries' treasures. 

In addition to three reading rooms, seminar rooms and study spaces, the library now includes a Centre for Digital Scholarship and Visiting Scholars Centre. The public has access to exhibition galleries, a lecture theatre, the Bodleian Café and The Zvi Meitar Bodleian Shop. 

Options for Visitors

These options are offered subject to availability. Parts of the Bodleian Library site may be closed for University ceremonies and functions. We are open to visitors seven days a week, on most days of the year. See our opening times

For up to date information contact the Venue Services Team on: Tel: +44 (0)1865 287400 

Bodleian Library quadrangles

Explore the quadrangles for free or take an audio tour

Image of the Weston Library

Exhibitions and Weston Library

Visit the Exhibition rooms in the Weston Library to see treasures from the Libraries' magnificent collections.

Divinity School

Visit the stunning Divinity School, the earliest examination hall of the University, and take an audio tour.

Reading rooms

Visit the Bodleian Library's reading rooms. By guided tour only - individuals or groups.

Image of muffins

Bodleian Café

Enjoy a bite to eat at the new Bodleian Café in the Weston Library

Shop floor


Visit the Bodleian Libraries' shops in the Weston Library and Bodleian Library

VAQAS logo
Back to top