National Poetry Library
Tue 12 noon – 6pm, Wed – Sun 12 noon – 8pm. Closed Mondays.
Spend time among the stacks in our sanctuary for lovers of poetry
Housing the world’s largest public collection of modern poetry, the National Poetry Library, on Level 5 of the Royal Festival Hall, is free to join.
A vital resource for the poetry community since it was founded by the Arts Council in 1953, the library counts many esteemed poets among its fans.
After it was opened by TS Eliot and Herbert Read, Seamus Heaney cut the cake for the move to the Southbank Centre in 1988, and Ted Hughes spent time here researching the anthology Rattle Bag.
In recent years the library has hosted a residency with the celebrated poet and playwright, Inua Ellams, and commissioned a new exhibition by South Korean artist Joo Yeon Park
Our address is: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
- The nearest tube and train stations within 5-7 minutes walk are Waterloo (Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee and Waterloo & City lines) and Embankment (District & Circle lines).
- There are also lots of bus routes with stops 2-5 minutes from our venues. For more information on getting here by road, rail or river.
It’s free to join and all you need to bring with you is:
a photo ID such as a passport or driving licence
a bill from the last 3 months with your name and address on it (a bank statement or a utility bill for example)