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British Museum

Museums, History Bloomsbury Free
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(188user reviews)
 (Sarcophagus of Nubkheperre © Britta Jaschinski)
Sarcophagus of Nubkheperre © Britta Jaschinski
 (Egyptian statues © Britta Jaschinski)
Egyptian statues © Britta Jaschinski

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

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.

By: Laura Lee Davies



Address: 44 Great Russell St
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Rd/Holborn/Russell Square
Price: Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions
Opening hours: Open daily 10am–5.30pm, Friday until 8.30pm. Closed Jan 1, Dec 24–
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  • Until Tuesday September 8 2020
  • Thursday April 23 2020 - Sunday July 26 2020

Users say (188)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:153
  • 4 star:36
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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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.

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.

The British Museum is a wonderful venue where you can see the world.  Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria is a fabulous glimpse into an early civilisation that excited the Victorians so much they included artefacts in The Great Exhibition, The clay tablets with their cuneiform script are the key draws, but the decorations and furniture that have survived give a revelatory glimpse into a kingdom that swept into the Middle East and Egypt. The craftsmanship displayed, the volume of artefacts and beauty of this collection are truly awesome.  Afterwards, you can see the Japanese collection, an exhibition celebrating and castigating Cook, Celtic, Egyptian and Roman artefacts including a lorica segmentata. You could spend days here. There are private collections and rooms to explore. You must go!. 


The British Museum is a London institution, if you only have one day to visit don't miss the Egyptian exhibition. On a sunny day the garden in front of the museum is a beautiful place to sit and soak up the sun. 


The British Museum is an iconic landmark, easily accesible in central London and having free entrance on top! Your visit cannot be of only one day - in order to see all the true gems excibited here, you will have to visit again & again as it is massive! The most impressive treasures here are of Greeks & Egyptians. In the middle of the museum, you will find the museum's famous full-of-light yard (architecturaly perfect) that can be your instagrammable moment of the museum!


The British Museum is as fresh and vibrant now as I imagine it was when first opened in 1759. Whether you want columns or coins, reliquaries or the Rosetta Stone, statues or Sloane artefacts, however often you visit, you will always discover new, fascinating objects. When you find yourself in need of a rest, choose either the Great Court to relax or the quieter café. The space is wonderful. The display is wonderful and the experience is wonderful. Oh and don't forget to wonder through the exclusive shop on the right as you enter the museum!


Magnificent building, amazing collection, unmissable landmark.

The British Museum is probably on the top of everybody's London list. It has incredible artifacts (my history books were full of pictures of these, it is a special feeling to see them in person), quirky objects (e.g. seal skin jacket or camera shaped coffin) and perfect fora whole day of exploring and learning.

Apparently they have a mermaid mummy...has anyone seen it? I haven't manage to find it...:)


I loved learning about different cultures here! The museum itself is massive and easy to get lost in. All of the placards for each piece was thorough and interesting.

I was disappointed that it was hard to find my way around or see the 18th/19th century European art (which was closed). The life and death exhibit was great.

My friend took me to the British Museum for an afternoon tea recently, which was very lovely indeed. Situated up the spiralled staircase, the venue is light and airy. All the usual fare – sandwiches, scones, cakes and treats – were absolutely delicious. The tea, too, was good. Although they were out of an elderflower lemon tea that looked incredibly interesting. The clotted cream and jam comes in tiny containers, and we had to ask for more.

Overall, really good and reasonable priced. A nice little treat!


The British Museum is one of my favourite places in London - it's both exhilarating and chilled.  I particularly like the Egyptian collection and the Elgin Marbles - controversial I know...  The exhibits are second to none and the collection is vast.  Open late on Fridays and well worth checking out.

Pharaohs and greeks and vikings (oh my!). The British Museum has it all, from ancient Egyptian tombs to the Rosetta Stone, there is something for every casual fan of history. When I entered the Museum, I immediately began reading everything in sight. It wasn't long before I realized that there was simply too much to absorb in one visit. The British Museum not only boasts a large collection, but some of the most culturally significant items in the world. When planning a trip to the Museum, make sure to give yourself ample time, as you won't want to leave until you discover all of its treasures. 

We are incredibly lucky to have such a great museum on our doorstep in London, and for free. I've always loved the Ancient Egyptian Exhibition and the Hokusai Exhibition is excellent.


The British Museum is an iconic landmark known all around the world. It's surprisingly free considering the priceless historical artifacts it hosts (ex: Rosetta Stone, Ancient Egypt Mummies, historical artifacts from Africa, Oceania and the Middle East).It's size is huge, so consider going around with a map and go on an early morning, as the British is surely not the place where to go for half an hour and then leave. There is not a suggested time to visit it, as it really depends on what kind of history and what part of the world are you interested in, but a kids' all times favorite is surely the Mummies section, especially if they're studying Ancient Egypt of Ancient Roman times in school. An educational space for adults and children alike, the British Museum even host temporary exhibitions, as the amazing Sunken Cities, on display until last November, which was absolutely worth it to the point that I even bought a DVD as a memento. If you're into Japanese painting, don't miss the Hokusai exhibition, on display until 13 August 2017.


Home of the Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta stone, and a WHOLE lot of history! One could easily spend 3 days going through all the exhibits, and the audio tours ensure that you ace all the historical facts!

The museum itself is something for the ages, a beautiful building, with the centrepiece and ceiling of the now covered courtyard designed by Norman Foster + Partners. Consider this evening when it is not a rainy day.

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. 


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. 


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


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.......  


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


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.


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. 


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. 


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.

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.


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!


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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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.

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. 

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. 


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.


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. 


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!

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

Staff Writer

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


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. 

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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