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
4.6 / 5
based on 1,008 reviews

Very knowledgeable guide and fabulous museum

Guide was very good and the tour was very informative and interesting -it whet our appetites to discover more treasures in the museum on our own. There were supposed to be more people on our tour but they did not show up so we had the guide all to ourselves for the tour! Guide was very patient - I had to use a wheelchair as I had a broken foot and could not walk up all the stairs so we used the lifts where we could. I believe her name is the Italian version of Valerie. Lovely young woman and a credit to your tour company.

London: British Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by

Melissa was wonderful, providing an interesting & entertaining tour!

We had our 9 year old and 15 year old daughters on the tour with us. Melissa did a great job answering all their questions and making the tour interesting to both of them, while at the same time making sure that the adults also were engaged and learned a lot. I would recommend the tour to anyone with an interest in truly appreciating all the unique items on display at the British Museum.

Brilliant guide - great knowledge, timing and sense of humor

The guide was great. We learned so many things - was amazing. He made the point of contacting me via Whatsapp to get details on the meeting point (which I didn't read of course). The telephone number for enquiries was easily found on the app and the operator made a great deal at answering me very quickly (help, can't find the guide). I'd recommend anyone to do this tour.

London: British Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by

Roberta was enthusiastic, highly knowledgeable, charming, and great!

We totally enjoyed our time with Roberta at the British Museum and would highly recommend her. She was inspiring and very knowledgeable about the works — and welcomed some of us “chiming in” with more bits of info. One can imagine that some tour guides might find this tiresome— but she was totally charming!

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