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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 artifacts gathered from every continent, it’s unlikely 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-traveled, 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 your fingertips in one of the many object handling sessions throughout the various galleries. There’s no need to make 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 December 24, 25 and 26, and January 1. 

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. 


Guide to Exploring around The British Museum


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Best Lodging Options Near The British Museum

See all 17,347 Properties near The British Museum
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London ¥15,562
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, England
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps 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 Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes.

    SACO Fitzrovia ¥12,077
    SACO Fitzrovia

    SACO Fitzrovia

    21 Tottenham Street, London, England
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in London City Centre, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of The British Museum, Great Ormond Street Hospital, and Piccadilly Circus. Hyde Park and London Eye are also within 2 mi (3 km). Goodge Street Underground Station is only a 2-minute walk and Warren Street Underground Station is 7 minutes.

      Morgan Hotel ¥10,565
      Morgan Hotel

      Morgan Hotel

      24 Bloomsbury Street, London, England
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in London City Centre, this hotel is steps from The British Museum and Oxford Street. Russell Square and Royal Opera House are also within 10 minutes. Tottenham Court Road Underground Station is only a 5-minute walk and Holborn Underground Station is 7 minutes.

        ME London ¥24,953
        ME London

        ME London

        336-337 The Strand, London, England
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps from Lyceum Theatre, The Strand, and Aldwych Theatre. Covent Garden Market and Royal Opera House are also within 5 minutes. Temple Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 7 minutes.

          Grange White Hall Hotel ¥9,384
          Grange White Hall Hotel

          Grange White Hall Hotel

          2-5 Montague Street, London, England
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in London City Centre, this hotel is steps from The British Museum and Russell Square. Oxford Street and Royal Opera House are also within 15 minutes. Russell Square Underground Station is 6 minutes by foot and Holborn Underground Station is 7 minutes.

            Studios 2 Let Serviced Apartments - Cartwright Gardens ¥10,397
            Studios 2 Let Serviced Apartments - Cartwright Gardens

            Studios 2 Let Serviced Apartments - Cartwright Gardens

            36-37 Cartwright Gardens, London, England
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in London City Centre, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of University of London and British Library. The British Museum and Oxford Street are also within 1 mi (2 km). King's Cross St. Pancras Underground Station is 6 minutes by foot and Russell Square Underground Station is 6 minutes.

              Jurys Inn London Holborn
              Jurys Inn London Holborn

              Jurys Inn London Holborn

              50-60 Southampton Row, London, England
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of The British Museum and Oxford Street. St. Paul's Cathedral and London Eye are also within 2 mi (3 km). Holborn Underground Station is only a 2-minute walk and Russell Square Underground Station is 8 minutes.

                The House of Toby ¥6,631
                The House of Toby

                The House of Toby

                61-65 Swinton Street, Kings Cross, London, England
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Russell Square, The British Museum, and Oxford Street. University College London and Financial District are also within 1 mi (2 km). King's Cross St. Pancras Underground Station is 6 minutes by foot and London King's Cross Station is 6 minutes.