British Museum
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British Museum: Tours & Tickets

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Top sights in London

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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

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.

Parthenon Sculptures
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.

Mummy of Katebet
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.

Japanese Samurai Armor
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.

The Royal Game of Ur
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.

Our insider 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 should I visit?
    Open daily 10:00AM to 5:30PM, closed December 24, 25, 26 and January 1.
  • Is it expensive?
    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 information

    • 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

Overall rating
4.6 / 5
based on 1,008 reviews

Three day ticket was good value for money

We were a group of four, with 3-day tickets. We saw everything we wanted to see. The life commentary on the red tour was instructive and fun. The river cruise to Greenwich was included, again, the commentary was interesting. The traffic in London was bad due to roadworks, but the tour buses made a good job of it. However, we were not informed in time that one of the stops was not open, and so we had to walk back a while to get where we wanted to be. There had been a lengthy raft of instructions, as well as a change of bus, and so what was being said may have made sense to the staff, but we did not hear it. That was the only negative of the three day experience.

Great tour, but watch the timing at the end of the day!

We really enjoyed the tour itself - there were adequate buses and the guides were informative and entertaining. The issue we had was that we didn't know in advance that it was the last round of the day, so when the bus ended its route, we, along with many others, were stranded far from where we needed to be. We were lucky that one amazing tour guide happened to be heading in our direction, so she brought us along with her to the subway (the tube), rode with us and showed us where to get off.

A superb overview tour of the British Museum.

The tour guide (Natacha) was superb, both in the clarity of her explanations of what we were seeing, but in the wisdom she displayed in how the objects fit together historically. It was an outstanding experience. We could never have navigated this incredible and complex museum without her help.

London: British Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by

Good way to get the overall feel of the city.

Even though our trip was somewhat interrupted by major protests on the streets Big Bus did there best trying to navigate the unexpected road closers. We have been on other tours they offer in other city’s and have always had good service.

Lovely food, well presented in a delightful setting

Really enjoyed the afternoon tea at the British Museum. We were well looked after and the food was delicious. The Court Restaurant is a great setting within the museum enabling you to enjoy the overall buzz and ambience.

Afternoon Tea at the British Museum Reviewed by