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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. 

There are heaps of wonderful ways to get the most out of The British Museum. Here is a list of some of the most popular:

If you're chasing more activities, examine our London things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around The British Museum


Map

Best Lodging Options Near The British Museum

See all 16,827 Properties near The British Museum
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London ¥18,668
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.

    The Strand Palace Hotel ¥19,935
    The Strand Palace Hotel

    The Strand Palace Hotel

    372 The Strand, London, England
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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

      St Giles London - A St Giles Hotel ¥11,363
      St Giles London - A St Giles Hotel

      St Giles London - A St Giles Hotel

      Bedford Avenue, London, England
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oxford Street and The British Museum. Russell Square and Queens Theatre are also within 15 minutes. Tottenham Court Road Underground Station is only a 3-minute walk and Goodge Street Underground Station is 6 minutes.

        Mimi's Hotel Soho ¥11,303
        Mimi's Hotel Soho

        Mimi's Hotel Soho

        56-57 Frith Street, London, England
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oxford Street and Queens Theatre. Piccadilly and Leicester Square are also within 10 minutes. Tottenham Court Road Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Leicester Square Underground Station is 6 minutes.

          Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras ¥7,657
          Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras

          Point A Hotel London Kings Cross – St Pancras

          324 Gray's Inn Road, London, England
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of British Library and The British Museum. London Transport Museum and St. Paul's Cathedral are also within 2 mi (3 km). London King's Cross Station is only a 5-minute walk and King's Cross St. Pancras Underground Station is 5 minutes.

            Club Quarters Hotel, St. Paul's ¥10,210
            Club Quarters Hotel, St. Paul's

            Club Quarters Hotel, St. Paul's

            24 Ludgate Hill, London, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in London City Centre, this hotel is steps from St. Paul's Cathedral and London Stock Exchange. Old Bailey and Museum of London are also within 10 minutes. Blackfriars Underground Station and St. Paul's Underground Station are within a 5-minute walk.

              Generator London ¥8,021
              Generator London

              Generator London

              37 Tavistock Place, Russel Square, London, England
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in London City Centre, this hostel is within a 10-minute walk of Russell Square and British Library. The British Museum and BT Tower are also within 1 mi (2 km). Russell Square Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and King's Cross St. Pancras Underground Station is 8 minutes.

                My Bloomsbury ¥13,206
                My Bloomsbury

                My Bloomsbury

                11-13 Bayley Street, Bedford Square, London, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in London City Centre, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Oxford Street, The British Museum, and Russell Square. BT Tower and Queens Theatre are also within 15 minutes. Goodge Street Underground Station and Tottenham Court Road Underground Station are within a 5-minute walk.