The British Museum was super cool...and it's free!
My wife really loves mummies for some reason, so the museum was a must-see on our London itinerary. The Egyptology wing was amazing, as were the Greek sculptures and Roman pottery. We took selfies with several sarcophagi. Their extensive collection of Ming vases was quite beautiful as well. It was also really awesome seeing the Rosetta Stone in person.
I could write pages and pages about this place, but the bottom line is, just go. You won't regret it.
This is where you want to go.
If you go to one museum in London, go here.
You can't do it all in one day. So much to see.
You get lost in the history, very interesting.
I particularly like the Egypt / Pharaohs part!!!
And, I also liked the displays of the first money ever used.
Place is baller - BIG TYME.
The British Museum is another one to check off on your London musts list.
I suggest reserving at the bare minimum two hours of your time to get a better experience of this museum as there are so much to see and appreciate. We had plans later in the afternoon so we unfortunately had to rush through everything.
Be prepared for many groups of children. While we were there we saw several groups of students (full on classes) in uniforms observing, taking notes including clusters of foreign students. They were all very well-behaved although we did see some isolated on "time out".
Although donations are encouraged it's hard to believe all of these artifacts and bits of history are available to be viewed by the public for absolutely nothing.
I'd give the British Museum 4 stars alone for the amazing architecture and use of natural light in the main atrium. Even on a grey day it's really bright and airy here. The exhibits are also excellent, obviously. Only criticism is that it's often super-busy, but that's to expected given that it's so awesome and free. The little cafe on the upstairs section of the atrium is worth a visit when your legs inevitably get tired.
This museum occupied my companion and I for a full half-day. There were so many things to see, so we decided to just see the highlights, by only going to the rooms that were recommended by the map.
Still, things can be overwhelming, and there are so many things that fascinated me. Mummies, slabs of Assyrian stone, busts of Egyptian pharaohs, and so much more. What's better, is that this place is free!
The crowd can be thick at times, but that just means one needs to wait a little bit to the side, until everyone else in the room disappears and you can quietly admire the Rosetta Stone, all by yourself, for the next 14 seconds.
An absurd amount of fascinating artifacts, all well researched with interesting and enlightening information about every single piece.
It's free for everyone.
Amazing place. I was really lucky to live only a 2-3 minute walk away when I was in London so I had the chance to keep going back - and that's definitely needed, since there are so many things to see, and new temporary exhibits are always popping up.
There's always a huge crowd of people around the more famous artifacts such as the Rosetta Stone - beware of giant student groups - but other than that, if you go on a weekday, the crowds aren't /too/ bad. I especially like the Japanese exhibit because it's a) a little hard to find and therefore b) usually very quiet and serene. There's also a good amount of things to see in there (love the fans!) and everything's labeled properly.
Best of all, it's free!! Would definitely recommend.
The British Museum is amazing!
It can seem really hectic as you approach the gates but once you get through it's quite serene and livley. It's nice to hang outside on a sunny day. But don't sit on the steps! It's not allowed.
Once in the main entrance walk through to the Great Court. It's beautiful and aweing. I always like pausing for a while there, it's so stunning.
The permanent displays are free, although a donation is always welcome to keep this institution running. These include the Egyptian displays, the Elgin Marble and many, many more.
But then there are also the temporary exhibitions which are very popular. Always fascinating, intriguing and well themed. Book in advance though because of their popularity or you could find it's sold out on the day you visit - as I did when I attempted to go to the current Viking exhibition.
Its really Aamazing place
An excellent museum The British Museum, it really is. AND ITS FREE, I mean who can complain about that? Of course donations are encouraged, welcomed and should be given.
The covered courtyard is impressive and really well done. The building in the centre blends in very well, I think anyway. I've no doubt when it was first mooted and completed it would have had a it's critics.
The catalogue of artefacts they have on display here is immense. The Egyptian section is excellent. The Greek section also amazing. Everything was excellent, there is no point in me reeling off all the parts we went to. My partner mentioned that the Egyptian section was better than the museum he was been to in Cairo.
The staff were also great too. I was here with a crutch and at times a staff member would see me and show me to the nearest lift for me to use instead of the stairs.
If you are in London and trying to decide which of the many attractions to go to, I recommend that The British Museum should be top of your list.
I think I may have to become a member after all. Beautiful building and the setup and lighting etc is just right for enjoying their exhibits.
A truly tremendous experience if you like museums and reading / listening about the history of the world. Admission to the museum is free. Be prepared to spend at least one full day, if not several more, depending on your level of interest in reading all the plaques around the exhibits. Many of the worlds historical treasures such as the Rosetta stone and others are displayed here.
Great museum to explore
definitely one of the places to visit if coming to London as a tourist, it can get very busy in the summer of course, but there is so much rich history and so many interactive parts to the museum that it is a must!
Wow, such a spectacular museum...focusing on human history and culture, this museum has a ton of items spanning the centuries and the continents. Due to time, I wasn't able to enjoy this museum as much as I would have liked (I was there for 2 1/2 hours and still needed much more time to see everything!).
The Rosetta Stone and Parthenon Marbles are some of the most controversial pieces in the museum and definitely worth seeing. Give yourself a lot of time to really enjoy everything since there is a lot to see and experience.
Where else can you see the Rosetta Stone, ancient European artifacts, Meso-american antiquities, and amazing artwork from all over the world. I had a lovely time. The cafe is good and the English food is not as bad as everyone says it is. I have not seen all the museums in London, but I am sure this is one of the best.
You should go there.
So I'm the 500th review for this place and I'm one of a very few that isn't going to give it 5 stars. That isn't because there aren't parts of this museum that are absolutely magnificent. As a lover of clocks and watches I particularly enjoyed that section, along with the gallery that traced the history of money.
What I had a hard time with, both as a lover of art and of ancient history, was seeing that most of the Parthenon's panels were here in an odd and disembodied form. Stolen from Athens ages ago, those of us who've been to the Parthenon have had to mentally imagine the panels that are here in London over there. These pieces, along with most of what was looted from Egypt, should be returned to their countries of origin, where they were taken from without lawful agreement.
It will be when such a consummation, devoutly to be wished, occurs that the British Museum will not only be a good museum, but a great one, that leads by principles, not sentiment.
Easily one of the simplest museums in the world to navigate, free, with a well lit centre court that brings order and balance to it all.
Based on the exhibits, the crowds, easiness of navigation, I would have given this place four stars. The reason I want to give the fifth one is because the British Museum offers access to nearly all of the exhibits free of charge. Yes, when you walk in they ask you to make a donation (most people drop a few bucks in when they leave), but they don't pressure you to do so.
The Rosetta Stone was a hugely popular exhibit. Although my favorite was definitely the Assyrian Exhibit - it's so well displayed that I could almost imagine myself in ancient Assyria.
They did sell maps at the door for £2, but you can get free ones for £1 a little ways in. A lot of people do return them so that they can be reused, so make sure to take good care of them. If there are a few key things you want to see here, than 1-2 hours is plenty of time. However, if you're as excited about everything as I was, you may need more than four hours easily. If you're debating between doing anything in London and a trip to this museum, make sure you choose this. Best part of my trip by far!
British Museum in London reminds me a lot of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY and of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow - unparalleled art collections spinning centuries of history and human development presented in a simple, yet labyrinth-like format helping the visitor to not just look at the historical objects but to experience time and space of long-long ago. If you have a spare day, I highly recommend getting lost amongst the exhibits in this absolutely fabulous museum.
I usually like browsing through the Greek collection, following spending time amongst the mummies and devoting a half-hour or so to partaking tea and finger sandwiches at a café upstairs. If you are not a tea person, the Museum Pub across the street has really good ale.
While I have been to the British Museum several times, I am yet to absorb their entire collection. Overall, a magnificent museum experience!
Disorganized with signs of directions everywhere.
The stairs and elevators were hard to find.
It's very hot indoors.
But the China gallery was very impressive.
Everyone was interested in the Japanese Sex Exhibit, but there was too many people on the queue that I ended up not going.
Went to see the Pompeii exhibits especially and it was excellent. I think it has now finished, which is a pity. There was a charge to get into the exhibition.
The rest of the museum is free and has First Class exhibits. Well worth a day out.
Obviously there are a lot of important pieces here. But this museum experience wasn't great.
1) inside of the museum, you can buy maps for 2£. Thirty steps further into the museum, you can get a free map, 1£ donation requested. And my 2£ map was horrible!!
2) I've been walking around London for three days. My feet hurt. There is a significant bench shortage here. When you can find one, it's packed. They have stools in one area, that you can unfold, and return...but what??
3) Restroom shortage. One was closed. The remaining isn't enough.
4) Rooms were clearly numbered by a crazy person. I'm not kidding: the ground floor consists of rooms 1-4, 6-24, 26-27, and so on. Someone had too much ale before numbering these rooms.
5) The lighting is so dark, you can barely see many of the artifacts. And I'm not talking about delicate, light-sensitive objects. I'm talking about stone, gold and other objects that would be lit up like a science experiment anywhere else.
I'm not saying to skip this museum, but I would go with un-tired feet and the energy to endure it.
I'm not really sure I can put into words just how much I love this place and why. I am constantly in awe every time I walk up the entrance steps and into the dream like great court.
I can remember back to before it was built, when it was just an overgrown garden courtyard. Now it is a marvellous space that has brought the museum and antiquities into the future.
The British Museum has the most fantastic galleries. Even if the exhibition doesn't appeal to you, there are literally THOUSANDS of objects to amaze you. Although the exhibitions are always good. From Pompeii to the Terracotta Army, this museum always secures the most exciting and goose bump inducing spectacles.
This just has to be hands down the best museum in the world. I urge you all to become members and support it to keep being wonderful. The members' only events are fabulous too! You get to come late, have a glass or three of wine and wander around without all of the hubbub and tourists.
They also put on lectures and performances for members throughout the year. Hearing a jazz band play in the Indo/China wing whilst having a glass of champagne can't help but make you feel like you're back in the 1920s or in an episode of Poirot or something!
If you're in London visiting, GO! If you're a Londoner, GO MORE!
This is by far the best thing that the city has to offer.
The British Museum - Culture and art at its finest!
I travel to London almost annually and find myself at the British Museum attending one of their exhibitions and strolling through the galleries. My favourite is the Chinese and Asian galleries. What an extensive and comprehensive collection from early China BC to more recently.
The Egyptian exhibit is phenomenal too.
The entrance fee is donation based, which is great, and I always donate!
This is a must visit, for local and tourists alike!
Thanks to the complete debacle in getting to Greenwich, we ended up with only about 2 hours to explore this wonderful museum. But because entry is free, yes F-R-E-E, any amount of time is well-spent.
In our brief visit, we had a chance to see just portions of the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian collections. While my husband was enthralled with the Rosetta Stone, I particularly enjoyed the mummified kitties!
Allow at least a day to experience this museum, otherwise, grab a guidebook and choose only what's at the top of your list. It's easy to get side-tracked. Definitely a must see for any museum lover. I'm just a museum liker.
From the Rosetta stone to Chinese uniforms the British Museum is a true treasure chest. I love it and oftne go for lunch.
Just one artifact here would merit an entire exhibit in the States.
I love museums and make a point of visiting them frequently on vacation. But I've never seen anything that rivals the British Museum.
A million mummies!
Creepily preserved human bodies!
Massive Assyrian statues!
Priceless Greek statues!
Everywhere you turn, there's something amazing to see. It's as if most of the world's great civilizations got together and sent their treasures here. (Except that various explorers and conquerors stole them, so there's that.)
I spent close to five hours here and barely scratched the surface. Simply amazing.
AND IT'S FREE.
Protip: Check the stairwells to see if you can track down one of the free folding stools they provide. It makes it much easier to explore when you can sit down now and then.
This museum is pretty awesome, there's everything from art to mummies to random old artifacts. However, the only item I wanted to see in the entire museum (the Lycurgus Cup) wasn't on display. What a shame!
They have wheelchairs available for free, and while getting around is tricky in one, it's possible.
You say you love Antiquities??? Well Guvnah I have the place for you.
The British Museum has the most amazing collection of Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Levant, Roman, Greek....blah blah blah.....pieces.
Large pieces some that are humongous.
I really loved the Rosetta stone and all of the mummies and their sarcophaguss.
Prepare to spend at least 3-4 hours for a minimal experience.
Any single wing of the British Museum would suffice as a world-class treasury in its own right. To have it all in one place ... to stroll around the corner and see the freaking Rosetta Stone (not the language software package to help you impress foreign girls, the actual stone), pop down another hallway to find exceptionally preserved mummies, manuscripts and artifacts from all over the world and all over time ... It may well be the best of them all. You will need far more than a single day to appreciate the entire collection, so pick what you're most interested in and get started early.
Just to throw out a few highlights we enjoyed in particular:
1. They do have the vast majority of the surviving statues from the Parthenon. While it's simultaneously impressive (because of the number of statues) and depressing (because of the amount of damage), it's also hysterically funny to read the museum guide where the UK justifies why it is that they happen to possess so many priceless Greek treasures. The argument essentially boils down to "You know what, Greece? We bought these statues fair and square from the Turks when they'd conquered your butts, and we're keeping them. And besides, you'd have just screwed it up anyway." It's as if Italy was displaying artifacts from the White House, and since they'd gotten them from the UK when the British were busy burning down Washington DC in 1812, they considered it completely legitimate. I'm not taking sides on that debate, but it is definitely some amusing literature.
2. The Assyrian and other Mesopotamian collections are the best and most complete I've ever heard of, bar none. These civilizations get short shrift because they just don't have the religious fanbase they used to, but it's definitely worth a look at the era's cultural syncretism and dynamism (by syncretism and dynamism, I of course mean that cultures and religions steal from each other all the time and then insist they did nothing of the sort).
3. In honor of my wife's late grandmother, we had a very nice high tea in the museum's cafe. I'm no judge as to whether or not it was particularly good quality, but the tea tasted great and the food was exactly what one would expect to be served at said tea. A touristy but fun experience.
The first thing is that this place is free to enter, so there is absolutely no reason for you to not stop by this famous museum. We only came here for the first time with about 1 hour to spare. The guided map shows you the essentials that you have to see before you leave, which is completely doable within 1 hour. We saw amazing artifacts and arts from all over the world. The museum itself is divided based on region and continents in the world. If you have not been to any museum yet in London, I would recommend to start with this one as the overall museum is well-designed, even for those who are usually not fans of museum tours. I highly recommend this place to kick off anyone's visit to London!
This is one of the top museums in the world. IN THE WORLD. All those stories I heard when I was a kid and what I learned in school about antiquities held at this museum were all true. What an amazing collection of Egyptian artifacts, Greek, and East Asian items! Seeing the Rosetta stone for the first time was absolutely cool. It was smaller than I anticipated, but amazing nonetheless. The Elgin Marbles were quite a sight, as I imagined them on the Parthenon. All of it entirely cool.
Unfortunately, I was only able to spend about 2.5 hours at this museum, which clearly requires at least a full day or more to appreciate its items and history! Hopefully the next time I'm in London, I can spend a bit longer at the Museum!
Don't do what my family did and only spend an hour and a half here, spend at least three hours! The artifacts here are amazing, and you can learn so much about the world.
We got an audio tour, but it really was useless, as there weren't many things that had an audio sign next to it. The Egyptian exhibit was my favorite- they have real life mummies and sarcophaguses! You also can't forget the Rosetta Stone- that's something that I will never forget, ever.
It really was amazing, even coming from a teenagers point of view. Sometimes, though, it was a little boring when you were reading about things you've spent the last five years studying about. But seriously, ah-may-zing.
When we got our audio tour, the man who rang us up was very kind and polite, but the man who gave us our audio tour was very sarcastic, edgy, an disrespectful. That was the only thing that was pretty bad, but service is always one of my stars.
The gift shop was probably one of my favorite parts of the museum. They have everything there, from computer cases to Chapstick to books to calendars- you get the point. My sister and I both got something- her a Rosetta Stone stress reliever and me some cute cartoon chap sticks! In the end, we walked out really happy.
A very fun museum! i would recommend starting at the top and working your way down. As the cool Mummy's and things are up the top, and i was too tired after spending 3hours there to actually venture up that far.
I will definitely be going back to see the mummy's at a later stage.
Also another quick tip, the grounds surrounding the Museum are beautiful and there are quite a few places to sit and eat, so i would recommend bringing a packed lunch and sitting in the grounds to eat it before venturing in.
LOVE the British museum - it's a massive maze of wonderful historical artifacts, and I honestly can't believe that it's free. It's a must see if you're in London, and absolutely if you're a fan of museums. Definitely allocate a good chunk of the day to spend here, because you're not going to want to leave!
You can buy an audio tour or a special map/tour guide, but I would pass - the audio tour seemed to highlight random things on display, and the voice tended to drone on for a lot longer than it needed. Much better to just get lost in the museum and read the placards yourself. They have an awesome selection of Egyptian and Mesopotamian artifacts, as well as some great Greek and Roman displays.
The gift shop is really cool and has all the fun tourist miscellanea that you could want.
Im still amazed at how amazing and wonderful the museum was. The Egyptian artifacts mummies, and other figures and statues are the best part in my mind...and best of all its all free (of course you should always make a donation of course).
If you are in London it is worth checking out without a doubt, there are audio guides that are very handy and in many different languages to choose from as well. As always get there early to avoid crowds it does get Very busy.
The Met's (slightly evil, but equally very grand) twin across the pond. I came in here expecting to find it deeply problematic, what with the whole colonial "we stole everything you see here" thing. But instead I got an audio tour and proceeded to get verklempt at the beauty and grandeur of it all. NAY, at the beauty and grandeur of HUMAN CULTURE ITSELF. Because it really is phenomenal; the British Museum really captures something amazing. It's more than the sum of its (stolen, ahem) goods.
I did the Ancient Egypt and Korea tours (paid for by Korean Air? honestly, that Korean section was a bit strange - though I did betroth myself to a moon jar, oh, how I love that moon jar) and I honestly felt tears springing in my eyes. The tours are so well done: they give you tiny maps and little accompanying music to guide you to your next stop on the tour, it all feels very Star Trek. They invite you to examine the item, and they teach you about it (without overwhelming you).
I ditched the audio tour and then wandered through the Africa section - another area I thought would be problematic. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at their presentation of contemporary African art; emphasizing the innovative and new, rather than the whole "this is Anansi the trickster god, and this is a clay pot, THE END" narrative, which I usually find in Western museums.
My only two, relatively small critiques:
- I went on a Monday, 2pm, in the dead of summer and it was PACKED. It was almost unvisitable, it was so incredibly, densely packed with touristy humanity. I don't know if this ever lets up (I expect not), but imagining this place with some breathing room - aaah. *That* would be heaven.
- There was almost NUFFIN' on the Pacific. And I KNOW the British colonized those islands as well. So why nothing on Polynesian/Micronesian/Melanesian cultures? So sad.
Oh yes, and it's free. Which is interesting, from a meta perspective.
Okay, yes. Five Stars, Three Hundred Sixteen Reviews. We get it, the British Museum is the bomb diggity. It's been drawing locals and tourists alike for centuries, is filled with anything you can imagine, YES, the Rosetta Stone, and is beautifully designed. Let me give you the run down on the things to consider in your visit, even though it's going to be as much five-stars for you as it was for me.
1. Temperature outside. The building is old, poorly heated and insulated. Prepare with layers!
2. Lines! I'm not sure if it would be better to turn up early in the morning, but the crowds are crazy. Wear comfy shoes, and be prepared to stand around waiting for the "money shot," especially of things like the Stone.
3. Organization. So many galleries, so many things to see. Pick a route, or figure out where you want to go, because wandering means getting stuck among the tourists (or, for you tourists, among yourselves!)
Other than that, enjoy, soak it in. The British Museum is the best history in the world, all set up and ready for you to enjoy.
I love that this place is free. I'm not a huge museum person, but I spent several hours wandering the halls of the impressive building. There were staff members wandering around answering questions as well.
If you're in London for a while, stop in, even for an hour if you can. It's well worth it.
This is quite a museum. And it's F-R-E-E!
The collections here are extensive, and are very often presented beautifully, such as the Egyptian collection. They also have a clock room that's unlike anything I've ever seen--just cool clock after cool clock after cool clock. That room both looks and sounds amazing.
You could easily spend hours here, so it's a good thing they have a cafe here with tempting baked goods. There are also multiple gift shops that serve as their own form of entertainment.
There are free tours available, as well, but the timing and topics are very specific. So you might target a specific tour, or just see what's on when you show up.
Be sure to say hi to Cleopatra!
This user has arrived from Qype, a European company acquired by Yelp in 2012. We have integrated the two sites to bring you one great local experience.