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The British Museum

Originally created as a “cabinet of curiosities,” Britain’s oldest museum has grown into a treasure house of humanity’s greatest achievements.

With a collection of nearly 8 million artifacts gathered from every continent, it’s unlikely even the most seasoned museum-goer can absorb the British Museum in a single day. But don’t let the museum’s size deter you even if you only have a few hours. It’s well worth the visit. 

The museum’s vast collection was originally built up from the donated and acquired collections of well-traveled, wealthy British adventurers during the heyday of the British Empire. Continually expanding to this day, the collections are now arranged along geographical lines. Marvel at monumental relics like the mysterious Easter Island statue and Elgin Marbles. And, join history lovers from around the world as you stand before the Rosetta Stone and the Head of Rameses. 

Step beyond the must-see attractions and explore the quieter galleries that celebrate Oceanic, Middle Eastern and Babylonian beginnings. Hold history in your fingertips in one of the many object handling sessions throughout the various galleries. There’s no need to make reservation in advance, simply drop in to the “hands-on” rooms where staff are available to provide information and answer questions. For those interested in politics, don’t miss the Reading Room where Karl Marx penned The Communist Manifesto.

Merely walking up the broad steps and through the 44 neoclassical columns of the museum building is an experience in itself. Once inside, use the Great Court as a navigation point to the museum’s major galleries. Since its opening in the 1750s, the British Museum has consistently been the country’s most visited museum. It averages 6 million visitors annually and allows research access to its highly sought-after stock of relics. 

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or pressed for time, take one of the free, 30 to 40-minute eyeOpener tours held throughout the day. The museum has cafés, picnic areas and offers fun, educational giveaways for children. The museum is open daily, excluding December 24, 25 and 26, and January 1. 

The British Museum is located near the Bloomsbury Gardens and Russell Square Gardens. The nearest Underground stations are Tottenham Court Road, Holborn and Russell Square. 

Popular Activities at The British Museum

There are heaps of fun ways to get the most out of The British Museum. Here is a list of some of our favorites:

If you're seeking even more options, take a look at our London things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around The British Museum


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Lodging Near The British Museum

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The Strand Palace Hotel $178
Reviewed on Jun 14, 2019
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The Strand Palace Hotel

The Strand Palace Hotel

372 The Strand, London, England
     
    4.0 of 5
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    Very fast and efficient service when I made requests for fixing TV or the sink.

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    St Giles London - A St Giles Hotel

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      Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras

      Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras

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        3.9 of 5
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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        Sea Containers London $168
        Reviewed on Jun 10, 2019
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        Sea Containers London

        Sea Containers London

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          4.6 of 5
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          Superb location, extremely clean, friendly and accommodating staff, great bar on site — and even extremely good value (for London) if you get a decent sale price.

          Kimpton Fitzroy London $219
          Reviewed on Jun 13, 2019
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          Kimpton Fitzroy London

          Kimpton Fitzroy London

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            Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London $150
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            Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

            Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

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              4.4 of 5
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