British Museum
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British Museum: Tours & Tickets

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The British Museum's Collection Highlights

You could spend all day browsing London’s grand British Museum collection, but if you only have a couple hours, here’s the essentials of what to see.

The Rosetta Stone

Soldiers in Napoleon’s army discovered the Rosetta Stone (196 BC), the most critical key to deciphering Egypt’s hieroglyphics, in 1799.

Photo: Carmen Escobar Carrio @flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Parthenon Sculptures

Sometimes called the Elgin Marbles, these 2,500 year-old remnants of ancient Greece have been on display at the British museum since 1817.

Photo: Shriram Rajagopalan@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Mummy of Katebet

She is one of the most studied mummies of modern times. Katebet, the ‘King of the Gods’ sang and performed rituals during temple rituals in ancient Egypt.

Photo: Brian Burk@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Japanese Samurai Armor

The British Museum holds a set of Samurai armor made up from different periods—the cuirass and sleeves is 16th century, helmet, 17th, and the rest, 18th and 19th.

Photo: Ian Davis@flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Royal Game of Ur

This 5,000 year-old game was popular across the eastern Mediterranean, Egypt and Indian. This particular item dates from about 2600 BC and was found in southern Iraq.

British Museum: Our Tips

How long to visit

How do you decide how much time to dedicate to the British Museum? It's difficult to say when faced with such a massive collection. These are just the highlights; you'd barely scratch the surface of all 8,000,000 objects within a few hours time. It is free to enter, so there is absolutely no rush. Ideally, budget for a day spent inside wandering through history.

Do your best to avoid peak times

This means that it will be busiest on rainy days. Try to plan ahead and arrive at the 10:00AM opening.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    Open daily 10:00AM to 5:30PM, closed December 24, 25, 26 and January 1.
  • What is the price?
    Museum entry is free, but prices increase as you add recommended tours and other perks.
  • Will I need a guide?
    A guide is always a good decision in a museum this large. You'll see the pieces that interest you most, woven in with history along the way.
  • How to get there
    The nearest Tube stations are Holborn, Russell Square and Goodge Street, and many buses stop nearby.
  • Additional tips
    • Selected galleries are open until 8:30PM on Fridays.
    • Luggage storage and cloakrooms are available onsite for a nominal fee.

What People Are Saying About British Museum

It was great to have a guide with lot of knowledge

Factual knowledge of the guide was great for me, but my teenagers would have liked more fun with the facts.

London: Highlights of the British Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 08/30/2016

Great tour giving interesting insights into the museum.

There were only five people on the tour, making it a great experience. The guide, Trudy, was incredibly knowledgeable and very friendly, explaining things with a wonderful enthusiasm. It is such an overwhelming museum, so having someone show you the highlights is certainly the best way to get the most out of a visit! A great morning that we can definitely recommend!

Very good tour but stories could have been brought to life a bit more

Super well organized tour and the headsets were definitely needed in a place as loud as the British Museum. Our guide was super knowledgable and pacing/timing of the tour was excellent. To improve would be that it felt too much like a history from school "this happened, then this happened, etc." > I would love to hear some stories to spice things up, or details that would relate life 2000 years ago to today. Just adding more life/spice to the whole thing. Ultimately, that's why I go with a tour guide instead of just walking around with wikipedia on my mobile phone. Could have been a bit more fun.

London: Highlights of the British Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 08/17/2015

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British Museum
Based on 19 reviews by GetYourGuide customers