Timber beams can effectively be reinforced using externally bonded fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. This paper describes a nonlinear 3-dimensional finite element model which was developed in order to accurately simulate the bending behaviour of unreinforced and carbon FRP plate reinforced glulam beams. The model incorporates suitable constitutive relationship for each material and utilises anisotropic plasticity theory for timber in compression. Failure of beams was modelled based on the maximum stress criterion. The results of the finite element analysis showed a good agreement with experimental findings for load-deflection behaviour, stiffness, ultimate load carrying capacity and strain profile distribution of unreinforced and reinforced beams. The proposed model can be used to examine the effect of different geometries or materials on the mechanical performance of reinforced system.