British Museum, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 295 Reviews

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

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  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    The British Museum

    by spidermiss Updated Sep 17, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    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.

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Love This Museum

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jun 3, 2011

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    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.

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  • Balam's Profile Photo

    British Museum

    by Balam Written Mar 5, 2013

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    You can easily spend all day if not 2 days walking around the British Museum, there are shops that sell food but a sandwich was about £4 so cheaper to go out for lunch and then come back in. Entrance is free!

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  • J.I.M's Profile Photo

    British Museum - Ginger

    by J.I.M Written Feb 7, 2005

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    British Museum - Ginger

    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

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  • easyoar's Profile Photo

    Worlds Oldest Public Museum - The British Museum

    by easyoar Updated Feb 16, 2005

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    Worlds Oldest Public Museum - The British Museum

    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.

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Uk's Largest Museum

    by sue_stone Written Mar 30, 2004

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    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.

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  • fishandchips's Profile Photo

    British Museum

    by fishandchips Updated Feb 9, 2006

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    Queing in the Rain

    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.

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    The best introduction to this amazing museum

    by christine.j Written Jan 19, 2008

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    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.

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    The British Museum

    by Airpunk Written May 22, 2006

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    The British Museum
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    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.

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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    The British Museum

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Apr 20, 2009

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    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.

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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    The British Museum - on the top 5 list.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 5, 2013

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    The British Museum.
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    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.

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  • Durfun's Profile Photo

    Excellent collections

    by Durfun Written Feb 24, 2010

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    Front of the Museum
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    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!

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  • viddra's Profile Photo

    The British Museum

    by viddra Updated Mar 31, 2007

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    The British Museum is one of the world’s greatest and most famous museums. It was established in 1753 by Sir Hans Sloane, a physician and scientist who collected a great deal of literature and art. It opened to the public in 1759.

    The museum houses ten departments and, since 1973, part of the British Library.

    It has 4km of galleries and more than 6 million objects covering the story of human culture from its beginning to the present. Some of the highlights include Egyptian mummies and exhibits on Roman and Anglo-Saxon Britain, China, Japan, India, and Mesopotamia.

    Opening hours:
    Mon-Sat: 10.00-17.00
    Sun: 12.00-18.00
    Closed: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, May Day

    Admission free!

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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    The British Museum

    by Paul2001 Updated Aug 11, 2012

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    An Ancient Greek Temple
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    The British Museum should interest anyone with even a slightest interests in anthropology or archeology. There is so much to see here that there is something that might perk the curiosity of anyone who walks through its doors. However I should warn you that the British Museum is a big rambling place that can be visited in just a few hours visit. The collections spans such a wide variety of cultures and topics that it can seem overwhelming. Highlights include the exhibits on the Ancient worlds of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Asia and the Americas. Knowing in advance that I could not possibly explore the whole museum in just the three hours that intended upon spending there, I instead concentrated upon the Egyptian, Greek and Roman collections. This means I was able to take in such notable pieces like the Rosetta Stone, Lord Elgin's Marbles, the huge collection of marbles and a wide variety of Ancient Roman artifacts. Sadly I did not take in any of the Asian cultures exhibits. Regretably so since I have developed an interest in Indian art in particular since my visit to the British Museum. It is also advisable to visit this museum with lots of energy. I did not as I had arrived in London from Toronto just 7 hours before my visit and was somewhat jetlagged.
    During my second visit in 2010, I was much more energized and really enjoyed my visit. I was able to comfortably visit all of the galleries that I intended on when I set out touring the musuem. I still found the place to mind boggling. There is no way one can visit it all in one day and if you do what I did, chart in advance what your interests are and aim for them, you will enjoy yourself throughly. Oddly enough I ignored the exhibits featuring North American native peoples. I guess I can see all want of these here in Canada.
    At the time of my first visit to the British Museum I had never visited a museum of this scope in my life. 21 years later, having journeyed through 30 countries and having visited countless museum, I have concluded that this is certainly the great archeological museum in the world. Some call the greatest museum in the world of any kind and this is quite possibly true.
    The British Museum is opened seven days a week. You pay by way of suggested donation which should be about 5 pounds. Since my last visit there are been the addition of a new cafeteria which was decent.

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  • Turska's Profile Photo

    Lots to see

    by Turska Written Nov 19, 2009

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    Look up!
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    I think everyone knows the place.
    It´s free,witch makes it nice to pop in.We did visit there twice,since there was no reason why we should have seen it all at one time.
    Peole say,that you shouldn´t try to see all in it,and pick just some places,because it´s huge.And they say you need so much time to see it.
    I think it debends of you.We love museums,but we don´t feel necessery to read every little info written about those things,and we can watch enough in short time.In fact-i don´t understand why i should keep on stearin one object for many minutes?I can do that sometimes,when there´s something very different.And maybe we did do it more when we strted travelling,but now we have seen so many museums,that we feel like we know enough with a short look.Something very different-like mummys take time of course.
    But in a nutshell-we did use only about 3½hours,and watched every room at the museum (some little ones were clodes,but otherwice).
    And we liked the museum.Someone thought we didn´t when we were so fast..

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