British Museum

Museums , History Bloomsbury Free
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(160 user reviews)
211 Love It
Save it
 (Sarcophagus of Nubkheperre © Britta Jaschinski)
1/5
Sarcophagus of Nubkheperre © Britta Jaschinski
2/5
3/5
 (Egyptian statues © Britta Jaschinski)
4/5
Egyptian statues © Britta Jaschinski
5/5

London’s busy home for ancient finds and cultural treasures from across the centuries, discovered across the world

When the British Museum was opened in 1759 it was the first national museum to be open to the public anywhere in the world. It was free to visit (and still is) so that any ‘studious and curious persons’ could pass through its doors and look upon the strange objects collected from all over the globe.

Centuries before television, this was a chance for anyone to stand in front of specimens and antiquities and connect with other cultures, ancient and contemporary. The first exhibits consisted of the collection of physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane – ancient coins and medals, books and natural remains – and through the centuries since, it has become home to the most significant finds made by British explorers at home and abroad, like the Rosetta Stone from Ancient Egypt and the Parthenon sculpture from the Acropolis in Athens.

In recent years there have been campaigns by other nations who want some of their historic treasures returned. (The issue over who has a legal right to the Elgin Marbles was most recently taken up on behalf of Greece by Amal Clooney.) However, the British Museum remains one of the world’s most popular attractions, with six million visitors a year. And although many of its priceless artefacts are protected by glass cases, the museum is anything but a hushed old resting place.

As soon as you walk into the magnificent glass-roofed Great Court you can hear the buzz of students, tourists and Londoners who have just popped in for lunch among the treasures. The British Museum is a working organisation carrying out research and conservation and that’s reflected in the breadth of the collection and the way in which it’s displayed.

The galleries are divided by location and periods in history – Ancient Iran, Greece, China from 5000BC onwards, Roman Britain and so on – and if you’re overwhelmed by the choice, follow one of the free 20-minute spotlight tours led by the guides every Friday, or check one of the free exhibitions dedicated to a specific theme or works of art. There are daily free activities for kids, too, including crafts, activity trails and digital workshops – perfect when there’s a homework project that needs to be fired by inspiration.

Venue name: British Museum
Contact:
Address: 44 Great Russell St
London
WC1B 3DG
Opening hours: Open daily 10am–5.30pm, Friday until 8.30pm. Closed Jan 1, Dec 24–26
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Rd/Holborn/Russell Square
Price: Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions
Do you own this business?
  • ‘Gladiator’ and its prodigal spawn aside, why make a movie about antiquity’s greatest conqueror? Alexander the Great’s 12-year blitzkrieg from Macedonia through the Persian Empire, Egypt and east to India, starting when he was just 20, may be mi...
    Read more
  • Read more

Pick a date

to
  • Sculpture Until Sunday November 27 2016
    Read more
  • Drawing and illustration Thursday September 8 2016 - Sunday January 29 2017 Free
    Read more
  • Performances Sunday September 11 2016
    Read more
  • Performances Sunday September 11 2016 - Sunday December 11 2016
    Read more
  • Thursday October 27 2016 - Sunday February 26 2017
    Read more

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:132
  • 4 star:29
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|160
2 people listening
Theresa Bastin
2 of 2 found helpful

me and my 5 year old love the British museum, because it is for all ages, also it's free. which is great for us. I am a single mum, so I am always trying to find places to visit, because I don't have the money to go to some of the places that charge. I have love going to the museum ever since my primary school took me. the British museum Is great to look round and also fun and educated my daughter, a great place to learn. keep up the great work British museum.

A Marston
1 of 1 found helpful

The British Museum is a fantastic place to lose yourself for an afternoon -- it's like going on a trip around the world… and its wonderful that it is free and accessible to all. They also put on great events related to their special exhibits. My favorite so far was the Day of the Dead event they had with dancers on stilts performing.

Kishma S
Tastemaker

This is a visually stunning museum packed with ancient wonders across the globe.

However, this is not a museum I would recommend for families with toddlers. Although there is a ramp to get up the entrance and free space to store pushchairs in the lower ground floor the layout is not well suited to little legs as a lot of the exhibits are off the grand spiral staircase. There are alternative ways to access the floors but I didn't find it the easiest place to manouver around.

In addition to this, the nature of the exhibits is too complicated for very small children to understand. The exhibits need to be admired and read to be understood which is nhy on impossible when wrestling with a tiny shouting child who is bored of not being allowed to touch or climb on things . I did not come across anything interactive or geared for very small children and I won't make the mistake of bringing a small child again.

I'll visit again when I am child free and I can really appreciate the wonders that this museum contains.

Misha M.
tastemaker

I cannot complain about museums in London, they are free and interesting! I love wandering in this museum on quiet days, it's a nice break from busy central London. I find new things to see every time I go there, I'm telling myself not to take this for granted while living in zone 1. 

Ladyvp
Tastemaker

What amazing museum of all the things we stole over the years! Joking aside I love this museum. I could go back every month and still discover something new. I love seeing the Rosetta Stone! What a thing of beauty. 

elladacas
tastemaker

whats not to like about the Museum .. if you love art and history this is the place for you. everything is here! I've been twice and still havent seen it all lol

Photosbysooz
Tastemaker

The trouble with London is that there are too many amazing things to do and see so that you just don't dedicate enough time really to some of the places that you wish you could. The British Museum is a fine example of this. It's so vast, so informative and best of all, it's free, that you want to just keep returning and seeing more and more.....

From Asian artifacts to Egyption mummies and The Rosetta Stone, there are endless things to explore and amazing historical pieces.

Allow a few hours for a visit, but do return because you simply can't take it all in in one visit. Oh and go see The Elgan Marbles quick, MPs have just proposed a bill to return them to Greece.......  

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Great museum, wonderful exhibitions and shows put on. Definitely worth a visit!

Adrian H
Tastemaker

I am very proud to be a member of the British Museum. This wonderful London institution houses artefacts from all over the globe, especially numerous archaeological finds from the Egyptian empire, which I am personally very fond of.


Throughout the year the museum also hosts a number of special exhibitions, which charge a nominal fee for entry (around £10 to £15 for adults). These exhibitions focus in on specific areas, such as the current exhibitions on 'Sunken Egypt' and the history of Sicily.


The one contentious area of the museum is the continuing housing of the Elgin Marbles from Greece. There have been many petitions over the years to have these returned to their original home and restored to their full glory. Even as a member I would support this as they have always seemed sad and out of place within the museum. 


The free areas of the museum, which must incorporate 90% of the exhibits, make for a great day out and even after 2 years of membership I have yet to see it all. One for all the family.

MooseInLondon
Tastemaker

The British Museum is like an old friend. It may have been a while since you last saw each other, but when you finally meet up it's as easy and relaxed as can be. Amazing exhibits from all around the old Empire and even some that never were. I really enjoyed the Japanese exhibit. They even have little chairs you can borrow so there were people sketching all around the place. Although it was crowded you never felt swept along. 


A great way to spend an afternoon. And free! WIN. 

Mei M
Tastemaker

The British Museum is usually one of the first places people visit in London, and it's a fantastic way to spend an afternoon surrounded by history and curiosities. I still love going there, even though I've already been multiple times. There's so much to see that you will never be able to see everything!


Last time I've been there I've had the pleasure to be showed around by a friend working in archaeology, who introduced me to the Babylonian section. I have to be honest, I remembered almost nothing from that period from my school days, but everything was so stunning that I was excited like a child! If you think how old those sculptures are, and how long they've traveled, it's such a privilege to be able to see them in a museum. 


I suggest everyone to see the part dedicated to the beginning of human writing, so fascinating. 

Daniel L
Tastemaker

Huge collection of mummies and even relics quoted in the bible (cyrus cylinder!). The curation is done tastefully with ample room to browse and fit the hordes of crowds. The ticketed exhibitions are often of high quality and very worth the entry price. Convenient location also means that great coffee spots and food can be obtained nearby (bloomsbury, holborn, oxford street etc.) Also the cafe and store are very good complements to the wonderful museum.

Florian P

I had always wanted to go to this museum  so planned this day during a short stopover in London. I spent the better part of the day there and would go back given a chance. I Egyptian time and did not have time to savor the collection. It was wonderful. I lunched there to save time and would definitely recommend doing that. Very good and a quiet stop for rest without leaving.

Sheens86
Tastemaker

Who doesn’t love the British Museum? I’ve spent many a day just wandering around aimlessly but this Saturday morning visit was to see the Egypt: Faith after the Pharaohs exhibition. Fascinating from start to finish, how the three main religions changed Egypt from the time of the Pharaohs, the wars caveated with the peace and tolerance of each other in the aftermaths. Almost makes one wish it were like that now, as opposed to the way it is.

Anyway, I digress. The museum is a great place for a day with kids, a date or a casual weekend when you have nothing in particular to do!

LoveLondon
Tastemaker

I come here when I have a day free to look and learn. There's so much history and information in this museum. Wonderful place to learn. Each time there's something new or something I haven't noticed before. It never gets boring.

Tom
moderatorStaff Writer

My lasting impression of our visit is that there's not much 'British' stuff in the museum; it's more a collection of artefacts that Britain pilfered from around the world over the ages. That said, it's a very impressive set of artefacts and you can easily spend a whole day exploring for the cost of a voluntary donation and trip to the cafe.

Sylvia K
Staff Writer

As a Classicist my opinion may be fairly biased, but nonetheless, the British Museum remains one of my favourite places in London to visit. It’s easy to forget that this institution is amongst the worlds’ finest and we should certainly not take it for granted. So if you ever find yourself in the vicinity, whether you have half an hour or several to spare, I urge you to journey in. And if you happen to be nearby before the end of February, make sure you look in to see the mummified Egyptian crocodile, Sobek.

K I

A lovely museum to wander around whenever I feel like having a quiet and chilled afternoon. 

Victoria B

Wonderful museum! I have been many times now and always manage to see something new each time. A lot of amazing things to see for free, the paid exhibitions are always well worth it too. The building itself is also well worth a visit.

Grace I
Tastemaker

If you haven't been here since your school trip when you were 15, go back and savour one of the finest museums in the world. You can watch the foreign tourists ooh and aah but you'll be impressed at the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles and the many other wonders of the world that reside in London. The refurbished Sutton Hoo Gallery will remind you why Britain offers some stunning and magical medieval history. The bookstores, cafes and hallways are just plain wonderful too. Truly a great place to wander and think about the world's civilisations on your doorstep.

The Man on the Street

When I was at school I studied Classics. On more than one occasion I was "dragged" to The British Museum. This 

morning (some 30 years later) I almost skipped in glorious autumn sunshine into that same building. I was headed for Egypt: Faith after the Pharaohs.


It's a pretty small but totally satisfying exhibition. Beautifully laid out , it makes the subject matter accessible. Fascinating exhibits are accompanied by an excellent short video that puts the whole thing into context and in some ways summarises what you are about to see. Before leaving I also took in the Silver and Goldpoint exhibition in the drawings gallery , which involved a walk through the amazing collection of Egyptian mummies. 


As I stepped bak out into Bloomsbury I thought how lucky I am to be a Londoner and have this treasure trove on my doorstep. 

Christopher M
Staff Writer

Once again you need a few days to see everything. If you wanted the next best thing to owning a time machine, this is it. A great way to spend a weekend day. 

Sarah R
tastemaker

This has to be my favourite museum in London. Architecturally is beautiful, open and airy. My favourite part is egyptian part, mummies and swords! Amazing. Great for a diferent kind of date , rainy days or when you feel culturaly deprived.

Richard N
Tastemaker

Don't you love the beautiful ceiling when it's sunny out? It's so easy to get lost in this museum, so full of history (not necessarily British history though) and there's always something new to check out. The special exhibitions are always interesting, and the rare artefacts here truly are worthy of inspiration of a thousand art pieces. 

Naomi
Tastemaker

Although I've been living in London for over two years now, I only just took my first ever visit to the British museum a couple of weeks ago and what a total treasure trove I've been missing out on! I feel this is the type of museum I could visit like ten times before I'd even seen all the rooms, let alone started to pay anything much attention! As a massive fan of Egyptian stuff, I can totally confirm that the Egyptian room here does live up to everything anyone has ever said about it!

karen f

Love the space of British Museum - absolutely stunning as you walk in and also in a lovely area tucked away from the main roads.

K M
Staff Writer

Lovely museum you can visit over and over again and see something new each time. Nice to just walk around and sketch

Kritt N
Tastemaker

It's one of the oldest museum in the world with a collection so vast, only a fraction can be displayed at the museum at one given time. It's a big museum so it can take an entire morning or afternoon to explore everything. It covers everything right  from the early human settlers right through to the modern day.


From the millions of objects on display at the British Museum, the key highlights for me has always been the Rosetta Stone, the Mummies in Ancient Egyptian and medieval Japan where you get to see a replica of a small Japanese house.


Many of the artifacts on display are collected from countries and culture from around the globe and keep your eyes peeled for special but temporary exhibitions during  different seasons. These aren't free but missing out these exhibitions won't detract from your enjoyment at all. 


The British Museum never ceases to amaze me and I've been visiting this museum ever since I was a child. It's free, it's educational and a great fun day for the family. 

ShenAndTheCity

I absolutely LOVE the British Museum, definitely one of the best museums I have ever been to. I have been dozens of times and I honestly enjoy every visit. 


My most recent visit was with my dad, sisters and my Nan. We even made packed lunch which we ate in the breathtakingly beautiful main Hall. The museum is suitable for all ages and there really is something for everyone. 


I have traveled down in my 1 hour lunch to explore Ancient Egypt, because I cannot get enough of this magical place! But, you really need to spend all day to see everything. An easy day out, fun fueled, free, educational and truly magnificent.


Ever since my first visit back when I was in Primary school the British Museum has always been a leader on my 'Things to Do in London' list and I genuinely do not think that will change.


#TOTastemaker

instagram.com/shenandthecity

Twitter.com/shenandthecity


Thomas F
Staff Writer

It's always fun to go to the British Museum.

I like to come in, look at the map and decide what part of human history I want to explore. One could argue it's a bit like taking a time machine :)

It's a very fascinating place. A museum easy for all to enjoy and one that is best visited several times, with one new area explored each time.

Some personal favourite include classics such as Egypt and Greece.

Often special exhibitions are hosted that are well worth seeing. I particularly enjoyed an exhibition of Michelangelo’s drawing work a few years ago.

NakedPRGirl Claire
Tastemaker

Holy moly this is a great museum. Don't think you can spin round it in a couple of hours, for this bad boy, you'll need a full day. It's nestled in the most unsuspecting place just off Tottenham Court Road and its superb. I must confess I never quite managed to make my way all the way around it, but the rooms I did see were magnificent with particular mention of the Rosetta Stone and the Egyptian Rooms. And all free. I need to go back, immediately.

Jason T
Staff Writer

So much to see, so little time

Still my favourite museum in London, immersive, educational and FREE! I keep going back time and time again, never boring always captivating.

You don't need to be a tourist to enjoy it, a must see when in the London.

Simon C
Staff Writer

I love the British Museum, from the amazing exhibits through to the beautiful architecture. It is a serious museum of course, with the most incredible exhibits from across the centuries, the range is good enough to satisfy any school curriculum and beyond. Personally, I enjoy just popping in, meet a friend or colleague for coffee in the Grand Hall, indulging the atmosphere and architecture. Yes, it is touristy, but you can lose yourself immersed in the culture that prevails. Very pleasant, a special and magical place.

Mr

Many of the most amazing objects in the history of the world are to be found hear.  Its impossible to see the hole thing in one day. Its defiantly worth getting away from some of the most famous parts so you can experience the huge breadth of this museum in a bit of peace. 

Noel
Staff Writer

A stalwart in museums. Yes it is a huge tourist attraction, but like all of London's museums it has to be visited whether a local or tourist. Amazing place to loose yourself. 

Mary H

I have been to the British Museum several times, at least twenty visits, but there is always more to discover. My first trip was to the Egyptian gallery. I never forgot the wall hangings, the papyrus, the mummies and the jewellery. The other beautiful exhibit that I remember, even now, many years later, was a Sumerian headdress with exquisite gold leaves. Then there were the Native American exhibits, the massive Assyrian sculptures, the illuminated manuscripts, the French coins and miniatures, the Greek statues - and these were but a few of the most striking exhibits. Later I discovered the African masks and the Asian gallery. Recently, I came to the museum in December, and did not go into the Ming exhibition, but found some Ming pieces to see for free in the Asian collection. That collection is not to be missed. There are Hindu, Jain and Buddhist statues and some Ming jewellery and pottery. It was interesting to note that the Ming ladies headdress was an intricate one, made of gold leaves, like the Sumerian headdress I spoke of. I feel as if I have only scratched the surface of this fantastic place, and my ambition is to see more of the collection. I want to spend several days in the museum and really see everything there is to see. It gives an idea of the scope of the collection if I say that, as a reasonably fit person, I am obliged to sit down on one of the may seats available and take three or four rests during the course of each of my visits. It really is so vast. I have never been to the Reading room, that housed so many famous philosophers and writers, during the day. I would certainly love to.

There are many impressive places in London, but this is truly incredible. And it is free.

elizabeth f

The British Museum is the perfect day out for the whole family. The exhibitions are all interesting and there is lots of fun things to do for kids. It's a definite must for anyone visiting London. And it's great that it has free entry, meaning that it us accessible to all!

Victoria A

I love The British museum. There is always so much to see. I really enjoy the guided tour at the  Chinese art section last time. The guided was a good speaker. Very informative, funny ad interesting. Lovely place to visit.

Steven M

Simply one of the best museums in the world giving visitors a tour through man's history and culture. And free except for the special exhibitions.

The café in the old British Library building is great too!

Lisa J

So much to see and so little time. This place will require multiple visits to do it justice!!

carole g

This was the first museum my son (who lives in LOndon) took me when I visited.  It's an amazing space with great collections and English history that gives the viewer so much more than reading a history book!

Colette S

Great for a day out. Wear comfy shoes though. Lots for everyone. My must see section is the Egyptian mummies.

Fiona R

On each visit to London, I have dropped into the British Museum. Its the most wonderful building, full of fabulous items of history and interest. Far too large to do in one visit. Brilliant.And free !

sebastian sasiadek

The world famous British Museum is an absolute icon. As a frequent visitor to BM I had chance to see many great exhibitions and travel in time and space with a ticket for London bus. Past exhibition called "Life and death in Pompeii" was beautifully arranged and let to get into life of real, ancient people who experienced the eruption of the Vesuvius. The building and the Great Court with its spanned roof its worth visit on its own. BM organizes lot of activities for the children which makes it a great place to visit for families, art lovers, travelers and discoverers

Show More