Officially the country's most popular tourist attraction, the British Museum opened to the public in 1759 in Montagu House, which then occupied this site. The current building is a neoclassical marvel built in 1847 by Robert Smirke, one of the pioneers of the Greek Revival style. The most high profile addition since then was Lord Foster's popular glass-roofed Great Court, open since 2000 and now claimed to be 'the largest covered public square in Europe'.
One of the most wonderful things about London is that most of its major museums – and many of its smaller institutions – don’t charge an entrance fee, so you can see world-class art and artefacts without getting out your wallet. But nowadays, booking in advance is essential, so you need to get organised and make sure you have tickets even if they are free.
Our list of brilliant, and totally free, art galleries and museums in London covers the four corners and centre of the city, so wherever you live, there’s a gratis cultural experience near you. Go forth and enjoy, and save your pennies for something else.
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