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

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
4.3 / 5
based on 2,333 reviews

Really enjoyed our trip to London and our package we purchased. We wanted to do the London Eye and hop on hop off bus - the river cruise was an additional extra thrown in and ended up being the highlight. We ended up walking most of the way around the city, only using the bus twice - both times to go just one stop. Magnificent views from the London Eye - but the cruise was just wonderful. We went from Tower Bridge to Westminster. The guy speaking was really funny and the facts super interesting. The baileys hot chocolate on board also delicious. Would absolutely recommend.

A great way to hit the highlights of London, either to get oriented for a trip of several days, or when you just have a very limited amount of time. Bus was comfortable, guide was knowledgeable, and there were plenty of opportunities to get on and off. It was easy to get the tickets online, and the mobile ticket scanned easily and effortlessly. There was a live guide on one audio channel, and recorded tour highlights in many languages on other audio channels. The guide supplied decent enough earphones.

This is an excellent tour if you don’t have too much time to see the museum. The tour guide Melisa was wonderful, very knowledgeable and kept us engaged the full two hours. The time went really fast. I highly recommend this tour especially with Melisa.

London: British Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by

Wonderful way to experience such a beautiful place. Down side if it’s raining and all seats are taken on the bottom row you will have to sit in wet seats which is certainly uncomfortable especially on extremely cold days.

Serena our tour guide was prompt, friendly and super knowledgeable about almost everything we asked but especially about Egyptian art. I fell in love with EGYTIAN AND ASSYRIAN art.

London: British Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by