British Museum, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 312 Reviews

Great Russell Street, WC1 +00 44 (0)20 7323 8299

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • British Museum
    by leffe3
  • Egyptian sculpture gallery
    Egyptian sculpture gallery
    by SallyM
  • Egyptian Sculpture Gallery
    Egyptian Sculpture Gallery
    by SallyM
  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    The British Museum

    by spidermiss Updated Sep 17, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The British Museum was founded in 1753. It has one of the largest collections in the world. The collection includes objects from two million years of human history. You can see collections from the Ancient World, The Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

    You can tour around the museum at your own pace or take a highlights tour which are conducted three times a day. There are specialised galleries and eyeOpener tours available.

    On my last visit (July 2010), I visited The Enlightenment Gallery, one of the themed galleries, which is about The Enlightenment, an era where people used reason and experience to understand the world better than before. The exhibits covered a time where people had the desire to learn more and the discoveries and objects proved their quest for knowledge and reason.

    I also visited the Europe 1800-1900 Gallery. There are some interesting exhibits that relate from the Romantic Era up to the Victoria one. There is a feature on nature and its appreciation for The Sublime from a close study of the landscapes.

    I highly recommend visiting The British Museum. There is so much to see and do there. There is something for everybody.

    The musuem is free although a donation is always appreciated.

    The British Museum Inside the British Museum Inside the British Museum Quest for Knowledge, The Enlightenment Gallery Quest for Knowledge, The Enlightenment Gallery
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • easyoar's Profile Photo

    Greek Marbles in the British Museum

    by easyoar Written Feb 19, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The British Museum is particularly well known in Greece. This is because the British Museum contains quite a lot of marble pieces from Greece, and in particular the Elgin Marbles (named after Lord Elgin who "collected" them). The Greeks want these back, but this would cause a bit of a dilemma to the British Museum. Should the repatriate them to Greece, the whole museum would probably empty as every foreign piece (which is most of the museum) was reclaimed.

    Anyhow the Elgin Marbles are displayed as part of a large display, but to be quite honest, my favourite piece was in the room next door, and is called the Nereid Monument. This can be seen in my picture below.

    The Nereid Monument is a tomb and it was built around 380 BC by the Greeks, for a king of the Lycia region (this is in south-west Anatolia - which is in present day Turkey). The monument itself looks like a Greek temple and stands on a large podium. Both the podium and the monument are very well decorated with sculpture. The monument has some impressive mable freizes on it.

    Inbetween the columns are several statues of women, (they are referred to as Nereids) - hence the monuments name. The Nereid Monument has been in the British Museum since the middle of the 19th century.

    The Nereid Monument in the British Museum
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    The British Museum - on the top 5 list.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 5, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The British Museum is one of the most popular and most visited museums in the world. It was founded in 1753 and is the oldest national museum in the world. It was first opened in an aristocratic mansion, but was moved to its current location in 1820s. The oldest part of the museum is the King´s Library. I like the modern addition to the museum, by one of the entrances, it is so symmetric (see my first photo).

    The British museum is massive, it takes most of the day visiting it, I spent 3,5 hours in there. Like with other national museums, one needs to visit them twice, as after a couple of hours one stops taking in more information, which is a shame as these museums are goldmines.

    There is an Egyptian section with all the mummies and Egyptian history. Then there is a section on Ancient Near East. Another section on Britain and Europe. And a section on Greece and Rome. An America and Mexico section. An Asia section. And the Africa section is down in the cellar. So it is understandable that it takes up most of the day to walk through the museum and read up on each section.

    On the 5th floor there is the Japanese section and in the cellar is the Islamic section.

    On the main floor is the Rosetta stone, which enabled the Egyptian hieroglyphs to be deciphered. A replica of the Rosetta stone is in the Library and people are encouraged to touch it. I overheard a conversation at the Library when some visitors thought that this might be the real Rosetta stone and were amazed that it was so poorly kept at the museum ;)

    On the main floor is the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery with the large Egyptian sculptures. It is amazing walking there, surreal really, walking amongst these huge sculptures. This is a very popular photo-stop at the British museum.

    Some sections of the museum are more crowded than others. At the Egyptian mummie´s section it was difficult to move around - on the other hand I was alone in the Islamic section and very few people were in the Japanic section. But those sections were kind of hard to find at the museum.

    Opening hours: daily 10:00-17:30 open longer on Fridays like the other national museums and galleries - from 10:00-20:30.

    Admission: free.

    Photos with flash are allowed. I kind of wish they wouldn´t allow flash as it is a bit disturbing.

    The museum is so big and interesting that I lack words for writing more about it, one has to visit it to experience it.

    The British Museum. The British Museum. At the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery. The Rosetta Stone. The Roman Emperor Augustus 27-25 BC

    Was this review helpful?

  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Uk's Largest Museum

    by sue_stone Written Mar 30, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The British Museum is the largest museum in the UK and one of the oldest museums in the world.

    I read that it is the most visited attraction in London!

    It is free to get in, so if the crowds get too much, or your feet get sore, then you can always visit again and again.

    The egyptian section - with mummies on display is really interesting.

    There is a nice cafe too if you need a caffeine injection.

    outside the British Museum inside the museum my parents enjoying a coffee in the museum
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Love This Museum

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jun 3, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You could spend years in this fabulous museum and still not see everything there is to see. Although there are over 6.5 million objects owned by the museum "only" 50,000 are on display at any given time. There are over 100 galleries spread over several floors.

    You may be best to start out seeing what interests you most or the top 10 highlights which include: Egyptian Mummies, Sculptures of th Parthenon, Rosetta Stone, Nereid Monument, Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, Sutton Hoo Ship Burial, Lewis Chessmen, Lindow Man, Benin Bronzes, and Cassiobury Park Turret Clock. My favorites were the Egyptian Mummies!

    The main collections of the museum include: Greece and Rome, Ancient Near East, East Surope, Medieval and Modern Europe, Treaures of Ancient Egypt, Africa, The Americas, and one of my favorites, Asia.

    There is something here for everyone to enjoy and I'd consider it a must see in London. I'd wear comfortable shoes and allow several hours. Ninety minute tours of the highlights (charge payable) start daily at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. There are free "eye-opener" tours that last about 30-40 minutes, and you can also choose from a variety of audio sets (which I recommend), including one especially for children.

    Hours:

    Daily 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., until 8:30 p.m. every Friday (except Good Friday).

    Since this is a national museum, there is no admission charge, except for some special exhibitions.

    Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this update.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • J.I.M's Profile Photo

    British Museum - Ginger

    by J.I.M Written Feb 7, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is Ginger. Found within the British Museum's Egypt collection, he is apparently the earliest mummified person, though he was not preserved by the typical ancient Egyptian technique (which consisted of removing the individuals organs, drying out the body and filling them with perfumes and ointments before wrapping them in paper). Instead he was simply buried in the hot desert sand with stones placed above him. Because of the conditions, his body dried to a point where bacteria could not eat away at his muscles or skin, so most of his flesh remains intact, albeit in a rather crispy brown form.
    Oh and if you're wondering why he's called "Ginger," well it's because he has red hair! :D

    British Museum - Ginger
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • easyoar's Profile Photo

    Worlds Oldest Public Museum - The British Museum

    by easyoar Updated Feb 16, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The British Museum lays claim to being the Worlds Oldest Public Museum. It has an outstanding collection of items inside from all over the world (some of these are now claimed by the countries they originally came from - The Elgin Marbles from Athens in Greece being a notable example).

    The museum was established in 1753 so is well over 250 years old. The main building you see is newer being built between 1823-1850. For the millennium celebrations, a Great Court was added by Norman Foster, and this is worth seeing in its own right.

    Notable exhibits amongst many are Egyptian Mummies, Greek Marbles, a Peat Bog Man, and a stone head from Easter Island.

    This picture shows the main entrance from Great Russell Street.

    Oh, and the good news is that the British museum is completely free to enter, although they do ask that you make a voluntary contribution, this is entirely optional.

    Worlds Oldest Public Museum - The British Museum
    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • fishandchips's Profile Photo

    British Museum

    by fishandchips Updated Feb 9, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a very well laid out museum with a fantastic ancient civilisation section - a lot smaller than the Louvre (though it's still got 4km of galleries) but with a few key items (if that's your thing!!). The Rosetta Stone is here (bridged the gap of decyphering hyrogliphs as the same notice from the Rosetta hotel was in modern Greek, Ancient Greek & Hyrogliphics), Elgin Marbles and a very large Ramses 2 statue. The Roman & old England section is well done and the library is particularly impressive. The shop here is great with my nieces & nephews all having Sarcophagus pencil cases (they are the envy of their friends at school). Entry is free (donation can be made) and this is a 'have to do' place in London.

    Queing in the Rain
    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    The best introduction to this amazing museum

    by christine.j Written Jan 19, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's easy to spend weeks in this museum and still discover new things. A very good first introduction is the British Museum walk by London Walks. We were taken to some of the highlights, the layout of the museum was explained and at the end we could stay in the museum and see some more. As always, the tour guide stayed for some time and anwered questions.
    The most impressive item in my mind is the Rosetta Stone. A dictionary in stone is amazing and to think that someone was able to figure out what it means is even more amazing.The most touching exhibition piece was a letter by a Roman mother to her son, a soldier stationed in England hundreds of years ago. She is worried that he might be cold, as she heard the climate there was very harsh.
    Mothers really haven't changed at all.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    The British Museum - The Egyptian Section.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 5, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I would say that the Egyptian Section of the British Museum were the most "popular" one. Maybe because of all the films made on mummies. Anyhow it is amazing and morbid as well.

    The mummification procedure in Egypt was removing the lungs, liver, stomach and intestines and preserving them in a jar. The heart was not removed. Then the brain was removed through the nose, but it was not preserved. Then the body was packed in salt and wrapped tightly with bandages. This was done to ensure a good afterlife for the dead.

    The mummies are examined with X-rays and CT-scans as not to cause any damage to the mummies.

    Maybe the best "known" mummy at the museum is the 5500 year old mummy the Gebelein man - see my second photo. It is unbelievably well preserved, and I almost felt badly about his body lying there with all the people watching. He was found in 1896 and had been naturally mummified in a shallow grave - from the direct contact with the hot sand. He is one of the best preserved mummies from Egypt. Before mummification was taken into practise bodies were dried out like this in the sand.

    There were mummified pets there a well, kind of strange seeing a mummified cat. Other animals which were mummified were falcons, bulls and crocodiles - these animals were sacred and regardesd as intemediaries for the gods. Vast number of mummified animals have been found, amongst them birds, but cats are the most common animal mummies - linked to the goddess Bastet - and ibises - linked to the god Thoth.

    This section is the most crowded one at the museum. I was trying to read up on the mummies and learning about them, as I found this so fascinating, but it was almost impossible as more and more people kept coming into this section of the musem, taking photos with flash. The mummies are kept behind glass, so I don´t see the point in using flash. It was so disturbing.

    I overheard a conversation at the Egyptian section - two men were sure these were replicas of mummies. I totally understand that they would think so, it is amazing really that we get the chance to see these mummies up close like this.

    The Gebelein man. Mummies and mummy cases. Mummies. Mummified animals. The mummy of the 17 year old Cleopatra.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Airpunk's Profile Photo

    The British Museum

    by Airpunk Written May 22, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is one of the world's oldest and most famous museums. Dating back to 1753, it houses a large collection of artefacts of human history. Famous collections and artefacts include the Rosetta Stone (which enabled to decipher the egyptian hieroglyphics), its central asian and egyptian collections, the Elgin/Parthenon marbles and the Benin Bronzes. Although the latter two are among the most disputed collections, they attract thousands of visitors every day. Beside that, you will find special exhibtions - I visited one about death and afterlife in different cultures. The reading room in the center of the building was once a center of culture and wisdom used by many historical persons such as Marx, Gandhi and Wells. It lost its function after the big collection of books was moved to the new British Library building but still retains a small collection. The building dates from the mid-19th century and was built in neoclassical style. In 2000, larger reconstruction works were made including the glass dome and the center court of the museum, designed by Sir Norman Foster (Gherkin, Millenium Bridge, Stansted Terminal, ...).

    Please check out my tips regarding egyptian and mesopotamian cultures in the British Museum for further details on this.

    If you want to see everything in the museum, plan several days. Even if you are able to process so much input in such a short time, the collection is too large. For the highlights, plan half a day. Audioguides with different itineraries through the museum are offered. Phtography is permitted in the museum, but may be prohibited on some objects or galleries. The prices in the cafés are quite high, even for London standarts. Entry is free, but there is an admission charge for some special exhibitions and events. The building opens at 9:00, but most galleries are not accesable until 10:00 (as of April 2006). For further details, please check out the website given below.

    The British Museum Easter Island figure in the special exhibition The Elgin Marbles or Parthenon Marbles One of many clocks in the first floor Inner court, glass dome, reading room
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    The British Museum

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Apr 20, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Strange to see a building in the middle of London, that resembles a Greek temple
    The museum’s extensive collection spans two million years of human history. Visitors can ‘travel the world’ through the diverse collection of art and antiquities from ancient and living cultures. World-famous objects include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Sculptures, and Egyptian mummies. In total there are 7 million objects in the museum.

    Hours:
    Daily: 10AM - 5.30PM

    No admission fee.

    The British Museum On the cover of a language instuction record
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Durfun's Profile Photo

    Excellent collections

    by Durfun Written Feb 24, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This museum is world-renownewd for the breadth & depth of it's collections. Artifacts cover all major civilisations known.

    The building is huge, with maps etc available so that you know where objects from different areas & cultures can be found.

    You could also walk around at random, but I strongly urge you against this as you can easily get sidetracked and distracted by looking at other things! Of course there is no harm in this, but surely anyone is likely to have a stronger interest in a select few treasures, to begin with. This way you can approach walking around in a methodical way, to get the most out of your trip.

    Do not even assume you'll have enough time to go through the whole place - that is simply impossible! On the contrary, in attempting this you'll get disoriented, confused & bored!! Bored because you might think things are starting to look similar, thus blurring the uniqueness & differences between objects. And yet, nothing in here is boring.

    If you have the time, several visits to the museum are recommended. This will help you digest the material, thus linking gaps in your knowledge & forming map maps.

    You'd be amazed, in awe of the things here, impressed by the objects from far away places or countries, often opening your eyes to how advanced some places were, thus dispelling any prejudices or pre-conceptions you might have had.

    The Egyptian collection here, along with various sarcophagi & mummies is very impressive.

    So is the Indian collection, including loot from the days of the British Raj. There are large gold banqueting sets, and even the gift Mahatma Gandhi presented Queen Elizabeth II upon her coronation!

    Amongst the prized collections here are the Elgin Marbles from Athens - always a controversial subject, arousing strong feelings as to where these should rightfully be. However, from an educational & informative point of view, the collection & explanations are superb. Even without seeing the real Parthenon, you get a very good idea of how things were made, put together, the history, background, etc. Of course, you then follow-up your interest by visiting Athens, and everything will make perfect sense.

    The Assyrian collection is awesome, with huge gates, wooden bearded sentries, etc. This is about the Southern Iraqi culture! I never even knew about all this. Excellent displays.

    Then there is the Roman stuff, Chinese objects, African, Aztec, etc.

    So, in summary, decide what interests you most, and seek out those sections first.

    Entry is free, however special exhibitions have fees.

    The Great Court & Reading Room, forming part of the central lobby designed by Norman Foster is magnificent. At 2 acres, it is the largest covered public square in Europe, opened in 2000.

    Hours: 1000-1730 Mon-Sun, late Thu & Fri till 2030!

    Front of the Museum Great Court & Central Reading Room Parthenon pediments - Dionysos & Athena Parthenon friezes Assyrian opbects from Balawat
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • alza's Profile Photo

    Vikings: life and legend

    by alza Written Jul 11, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I went to the British Museum for the first time this June, specifically to see the Elgin Marbles.
    On arrival, in front of the museum, I saw a replica of a Viking ship that really caught my attention: it splashed colour and dynamism on the overall Greek architecture scene. "Vikings" was a temporary exhibition that closed during my visit to England in June but I chose this photo as the main one for my page about the British Museum.

    Inside, the heart of the Vikings Exhibition was a long Viking warship known as Roskilde 6, excavated from the Roskilde fjord in Denmark in 1997. Remains of the original ship were re-assembled in London to the full size and shape of the original, for display in a steel frame, Although regretfully, I couldn't visit "Vikings: life and legend", I took notes inside so that I could explain my main photo a bit.

    Roskilde 6 has been dated to around AD 1025, the high point of the Viking Age when England, Denmark, Norway and possibly parts of Sweden were united under the rule of Cnut the Great (aka Canute). It was almost certainly a royal warship, possibly connected with the wars fought by Cnut to assert his authority over this short-lived North Sea Empire. Cnut the Great died in Shaftesbury, U.K., in 1035.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Britannia2's Profile Photo

    British Museum

    by Britannia2 Updated Dec 15, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The museum was founded in 1753 and its collection spans over 2 million years. The most impressive thing for me here was the actual building - re-built internally recently it is certainly very impressive inside.
    My first visit was rushed and we very near closing time but the exhibits we did see were interesting and well presented.
    The ground floor cafe does let the museum down and is reminisant of a school dining room - also very expensive food and drink so buy locally before or after your visit.
    Free admission although special exhibitions are £8.
    Good disabled access but pre-book car parking.

    Inside the British Museum Inside the museum Naomi Campbell in gold
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: London

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

42 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near British Museum
4.5 out of 5 stars
1 Review
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
1 Review
0.1 miles away
Show Prices

View all London hotels