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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 artefacts gathered from every continent, it’s unlikely that 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-travelled, 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 in the palm of your hand during one of the many object handling sessions throughout the various galleries. There’s no need to make a 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 24, 25 and 26 December, and 1 January.

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

You'll find it hard to believe how many things there are to do at The British Museum. Here are some suggestions to get you going:

Examine our London things to do page to learn about more activities in the area.


Guide to Exploring The British Museum


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Top Hotel Deals

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Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London €173
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

200 Westminster Bridge Road, London
     
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    Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps away from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Westminster Underground Station is 6 minutes.

    The Strand Palace Hotel €121
    The Strand Palace Hotel

    The Strand Palace Hotel

    372 The Strand, London
       
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      Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Covent Garden Market and Piccadilly Circus. London Dungeon and Big Ben are also within 1 mi (2 km). Charing Cross Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 6 minutes.

      The Principal London €189
      The Principal London

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        Bloomsbury convenience

        The Grosvenor Hotel €133
        The Grosvenor Hotel

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        101 Buckingham Palace Road, London
           
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          Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Victoria Palace Theatre, Buckingham Palace and St. James Park. Big Ben and Sloane Square are also within 1 mile (2 km). London Victoria Rail Station is only a 2-minute walk and Victoria Underground Station is 2 minutes.

          Mondrian London €149
          Mondrian London

          Mondrian London

          20 Upper Ground, London
             
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            Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Royal National Theatre, Tate Modern, and Southbank Centre. London Dungeon and St. Paul's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Southwark Underground Station is 8 minutes by foot and Blackfriars Underground Station is 9 minutes.

            St Giles London - A St Giles Hotel €95
            St Giles London - A St Giles Hotel

            St Giles London - A St Giles Hotel

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              3.6
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              Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of The British Museum, University of London and Russell Square. University College London and Leicester Square are also within 15 minutes. Tottenham Court Road Underground Station is only a 2-minute walk and Goodge Street Underground Station is 5 minutes.

              Assembly Hotel London €117
              Assembly Hotel London

              Assembly Hotel London

              27 - 31 Charing Cross Road, London
                 
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                Located in London City Centre, this hotel is steps away from London Coliseum and Leicester Square. St. Martin-in-the-Fields and National Gallery are also within 5 minutes. Leicester Square Underground Station is only a 2-minute walk and Charing Cross Underground Station is 5 minutes.

                LSE High Holborn
                LSE High Holborn

                LSE High Holborn

                178 High Holborn, London
                   
                  3.8
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                  Located in London City Centre, this guesthouse is within a 10-minute walk of The British Museum, Royal Opera House and Russell Square. Covent Garden Market and London Coliseum are also within 10 minutes. Holborn Underground Station is only a 5-minute walk and Covent Garden Underground Station is 6 minutes.