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The British Museum in London is a Perennial Favorite

History, Culture and Art in the Welcoming and Free British Museum in London

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The British Museum - London - UK

The Great Court at the The British Museum, London, UK

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Visitor Essentials

  • Address: British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
  • Telephone: +44 (0)20 7323 8000/8299
  • Opening Hours: 10a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Good Friday, January 1 and December 24-26. Late openings to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday and Friday
  • Admission: Free, though tickets may have to be purchased for some special exhibitions
  • Nearest Underground Stations: Tottenham Court Road on the Northern Line and Central Lines; and Holborn on the Piccadilly or Central Lines are closest.
  • Bus services: Routes 1, 7, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 98 and 242 stop nearby on New Oxford Street
  • Visit their website

Make Time for London's Blockbuster of a Museum

The British Museum in London is the world's largest museum of human history, culture and art. Its treasures include Egyptian mummies, objects from the Mesopotamian Kingdom of Ur, an Easter Island statue given to the museum by Queen Victoria, objects from the Sutton Hoo burial and (at least for now) the Elgin Marbles that once graced the Parthenon in Greece. And the good news, like all of the UK's national museums, The British Museum is free.

The Key to Ancient Secrets at the British Museum

For my money the best object of all at the British Museum is the Rosetta Stone - a decree of Ptolemy, one of the last pharaohs, carved in three languages on a polished black stone. The carving is in hieroglyphics, demotic Egyptian script and Greek. It was the Greek inscription that was used to unlock the mystery of the other writing, including the hieroglyphics, and, therefore just about everything now known about ancient Egypt. A wonder indeed!

More Highlights of the British Museum in London

You could easily spend a week visiting the British Museum and still not see everything. Don't miss these:

  • Roman Britain, including the Snettisham Hoard - a collection of 2,000 year old gold jewelry, considered the "crown jewels" of their era.
  • The African Galleries - stunning newer galleries with ancient treasures as well as exciting examples of contemporary African art.
  • Galleries of the Americas, including Aztec, Mayan, Arctic and Native American exhibitions
  • Holy Land rooms with artifacts of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Hittites, Sumerians, Israelites, Phoenicians, Canaanites and ancient Islamic societies.

Facilities at the British Museum

Museum facilities include:
  • Four shops -
    • The Bookshop - Books on ancient history, archaeology and art history, many written by the museum's own curators
    • The Family Shop - Games, books, dvds, puzzles, souvenirs and educational items
    • The Collections Shop - Souvenirs, replicas, guides, postcards, jewellery, stationery and inexpensive gifts.
    • The Culture Shop - Luxury items including replica sculptures, jewellery, silk scarves and ties
  • Three restaurants and a family picnic area, including:
    • The Court Restaurant - an elegant and somewhat more expensive menu under the spectacular glass roof of the Great Court
    • The Gallery Cafe - Turn left at the main entrance and just keep going. This one, serving sandwiches, desserts, hot and cold snacks and full, hot meals, is my favorite. The atmosphere is quiet and peaceful. Back when the Round Reading Room, in the museum's center court was the main reading room of the British Library, I used to break up my studies with lunch at this cafe.
    • The Court Cafes - two casual cafes on the floor of the Great Court for sandwiches, cakes and light meals.
  • Restrooms on every floor
  • Cloak Rooms and lockers in the young people's areas
  • Two baby feeding rooms and five baby changing areas
  • Access facilities include lifts at entrances and to the galleries and wheelchair availability at the entrances (telephone in advance +44 (0)20 7323 8299 ).
  • Guide and assistance dogs are welcome and museum even has doggy bowls for them (ask at the Information Desks).

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