How Long Does It Take To Walk Around The British Museum
With so much to discover, you could spend a week walking around the British Museum and not see it all!
Make a day of it by stopping off at some of the cafes and restaurants at the British Museum, including afternoon tea at the Great Court Restaurant*.
You can also pick up gifts, books and more at the ground floor Great Court Shop and Collections Shop.
A Spectacular Archeological Discovery
1937 discovery of an Anglo-Saxon ship dating from around A.D. 600 was an astonishing find of royal treasures. The 88.5-foot long ship was an archaeologists dream, packed with treasures, including gold jewelry, Byzantine silverware, a magnificent casket and an iron helmet. It may have been the burial place for an Anglo-Saxon king.
Why Its Must See: The objects on display are exquisitely crafted and tell us much about Anglo-Saxon England and that the great treasures, epic travels and larger-than-life warriors of the poetry of that time were not far from reality.
What to Look For: Made of iron and covered with copper panels that show a range of scenes, the Sutton Hoo helmet is one of only four surviving helmets from the period. It has a distinctive shape and a menacing face-mask with copper eyebrows that are inlaid with silver wire and garnets, ending in a silver boars head.
Nearby: Even if you are not interested in clocks, Rooms 38 and 39 house wonderful timepieces that are likely to leave you marveling. Make sure to find the 1589 Carillon Clock that plays music written by Martin Luther, and the 1585 Mechanical Galleon, which has miniature soldiers striking bells and firing guns.
The Seven Wonders Of The British Museum
Every single object at the British Museum has a story to tell cut to the chase and track down our seven favourite things to go and discover
The British Museum is free. Hurrah! That means you can visit it as often as you like and can pop in for just a few minutes if you happen to be around the Holborn area. But with so many rooms, exhibits and eras to get your head around, it’s easy to get museum-overload and duck straight into the shiny gift shop for cover. To help you make the most of your visit, we’ve picked our seven must-see objects at the British Museum that you’d be mad to miss. Think of this of as your BM check-list and go get history-hunting.
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Japanese Galleries At The British Museum
Now, Japan is really a fascinating country. In many respects, it is a world leader when it comes to technology. But, on the other hand, the countrys society still very much respects its traditions and customs that go back centuries. Therefore, visiting Japanese galleries is well worth your time. Because they have items from prehistory, modern times and everything in between.
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The thing that is hands down the best Japanese exhibit in the museum is the suit of real samurai armor from the 17th century. How cool is that?! You can easily imagine a warrior who puts honor above all else in it. Really is a vivid example of how majestic samurai were.
Most Underrated Pieces To Check Out
If you still have time and energy after youve had a good look at the five must-see pieces mentioned above, take your time to meander the galleries in search of the three following pieces recommended by Michael. They may not be well known, but they are certainly worth a few minutes of your time or more.
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Whats Your British Museum Visiting Strategy
Youll need one. Without a guide, the British Museum is overwhelming. The building was completed in 1852, and since has had alterations with levels and galleries added. The result is multiple levels across different halls. Simple navigation can be a complicated exercise as not all staircases and elevators go to all levels.
We had three hours together and I wanted to make the most of every second. So, we started off in the Enlightenment Gallery. First stop is the bust of Hans Sloane and a brief history of his bequeathment that lead to the establishment of the British Museum.
Take your time to explore the Enlightenment Gallery. Its the period of time where learning flourished across Europe.
Its here you can find a replica of the Rosetta Stone. Caroline explains the history of the Rosetta Stone, its role in the modern understanding of Egyptians hieroglyphs and how it came to rest in the British Museum. As I listened intently, I took the chance to run my fingers over the engraved message, wondering what it must have been like to discover such an artifact.
We quickly move on.
We walk and talk. New words have begun to enter my vocabulary. Which prompts several questions. What or who is Mesopotamia? Were subsequently educated in the complicated history of Assyrian kings and the battles fought across lands of what is modern day Iraq.
Department Of The Middle East
With a collection numbering some 330,000 works, the British Museum possesses the world’s largest and most important collection of Mesopotamian antiquities outside Iraq. A collection of immense importance, the holdings of Assyrian sculpture, Babylonian and Sumerian antiquities are among the most comprehensive in the world with entire suites of rooms panelled in alabaster Assyrian palace reliefs from Nimrud, Nineveh and Khorsabad.
The collections represent the civilisations of the ancient Near East and its adjacent areas. These cover Mesopotamia, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, Anatolia, the Caucasus, parts of Central Asia, Syria, the Holy Land and Phoenician settlements in the western Mediterranean from the prehistoric period and include objects from the 7th century.
The first significant addition of Mesopotamian objects was from the collection of Claudius James Rich in 1825. The collection was later dramatically enlarged by the excavations of A. H. Layard at the Assyrian sites of Nimrud and Nineveh between 1845 and 1851. At Nimrud, Layard discovered the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, as well as three other palaces and various temples. He later uncovered the Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh with ‘no less than seventy-one halls’. As a result, a large numbers of Lamassus, palace reliefs, stelae, including the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, were brought to the British Museum.
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British Museum Opening Hours And Tickets
The British Museum hours are from 10.0017.30 daily and until 20.30 on Fridays. Note the museum is closed on closed 24, 25 and 26 December, 1 January and Good Friday.
British museum tickets: Free. Advance bookings are recommended book your timeslot here. There is no charge to enter the British Museum and view the main collection however you may need to pay to view special exhibitions and a small donation is encouraged.
Tip Be prepared to queue to enter the museum. There are strict security measures in place. You may not bring large items of luggage to the museum.
More information on the British Museum website
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Below is one of my from outside the British Museum. After the tour, I sat for about 30 minutes and just took in what I had learnt. I felt enlightened and even a bit emotional. It wasnt overwhelming, it was liberating.
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Things To See At The British Museum
It may be called the British Museum, but most of the objects have been loaned from other countries or purchased from private collections. You also cant escape the fact that many were claimed by underhand tactics of the British Empire, leading several countries to demand the return of their artefacts. Since there are 7 million objects here, weve selected the top things to see at the British Museum.
The Rosetta Stone: Not just an expensive language guide, you know. The ancient translation tool is written in both Egyptian and Greek, and is the reason we can read hieroglyphics. Carved in 196BC, it also happens to be the British Museums most visited object, so youll need to be patient to get to the front.
Easter Island moai: Easter Island is a bit of a trek, but since the British Museum has one of the famed heads in its collection, you only need go as far as Bloomsbury.
Egyptian mummies: The British Museum has a long history with mummies, having hosted Tutankhamuns treasures in 1972. Today, you can find sarcophagi, the mummy of Katebet, and mummified pets, including cats and fish. Dont get any ideas from that last one
Aztec serpent: A fascinating lot, were the Aztecs. When they werent busy indulging in ritual sacrifice, the Aztec created beautiful objects, like this stunning double-headed serpent mosaic. Find it on the ground floor of the British Museum.
Olduvai stone toolShrine of AmaravatiSamurai armour
Must See Artefacts At British Museum In London
You have probably heard of the British Museum and its collections.
If youre visiting London, the museums in that city should be high on your list of things to see. Not only are they some truly remarkable institutions with fascinating exhibits from all over the world and from pretty much all fields and historical periods, but most of them are also completely free to enter! Obviously, there may be some special exhibitions in them that will require you to purchase a ticket, but the majority of these huge buildings will still remain accessible. They may ask you for a small donation, though, but thats still way below what youd expect to pay to visit a museum of this level of quality.
Abundant Historical Significance
Chief among these institutions is the British Museum, a place famous all over the world for its abundance of spectacular items of crucial historical significance. I was in London recently and couldnt wait for an opportunity to go and visit it. It is an absolutely enormous building with so many different items that you could easily spend days there and still not see everything. Still, some exhibits are more impressive than others . So heres a list of ten things you really have to see in the museum. Hopefully, it will help you experience the museum in its full glory if youre short on time or maybe have just one day in London.
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Where To Eat In The British Museum
After all of these years, one thing we have yet to do is dine in the Great Court Restaurant . The museum stays open until 8:30 p.m. on Fridays so it would be nice to tour it before or after dinner here under the magnificent glass roof. They also serve afternoon tea and lunch.
The central rotunda also has a simpler, grab-and-go Court Café with tables at which to sit and eat among the impressive interior architecture. We have grabbed several items from there over the years, especially drinks, and have always been more than satisfied.
And, the Pizzeria is a new addition off of room 12.
However, there are also quite a few places to eat within walking distance of the British Museum including many fish and chips shops in Bloomsbury. Last time, we tried Alens, and it was great.
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Facts About The British Museum In London
The British Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world and houses a lot of interesting artifacts. Its collection is said to span more than two million years of human history. Like any old establishment, it also has a few quirky secrets and factoids that make it special. Thus here are ten facts you may not know about the British Museum, one of Londons top tourist attractions.
The Great Court at the British Museum in London. Photo Credit: © Diliff via Wikimedia Commons.
1. The British Museum is the oldest museum in the world
The very first national public museum ever built was the British Museum. It was opened in 1759, twenty years before the prestigious Louvre Museum was opened in France and twenty-two years before the Habsburg Royal family in Vienna, opened the Belvedere Palace to the public of Austria.
2. The British Museum birthed the British Library and Londons Natural History Museum
The British Museum is the permanent home of more than eight million artifacts, originating from every continent in the world. Its collection once grew too large to handle, forcing the Museum to open a separate site in South Kensington to house its natural history specimens. This site was known as the British Museum until 1992 when it was renamed as Londons Natural History Museum.
3. Three of the most popular exhibits at the British Museum are the Oxus Treasure, the Rosetta Stone, and the Elgin Marbles.
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The British Museum London Guided Tour
2 hours, 30 minutes
1 – 8 participants
On this 2.5 hour private guided museum tour, visit one of the worlds largest collections of artifacts at the British Museum. Our engaging tour guides will take you through a curated selection of cultural and artistic works, sharing the history that will help you understand and appreciate a small portion of the 8 million items at the British Museum.
Top Exhibits And Galleries
The British Museum is huge and features tons of fascinating exhibits and galleries. When you get to the museum, spend a few minutes studying a map of the museum to give you an idea of where everything is located.
Start your visit by viewing the famous Rosetta Stone. This iconic exhibit is located in Room 4 in the Egyptian gallery, which is right near the entrance of the museum. While youre there, be sure to check out the Mummy of Katabet, a mummy with an elaborate headdress and real rings.
You also wont want to miss the Ancient Greece and Rome Galleries. These galleries are on the ground floor, and they contain ancient sculptures, vases, exhibits on Alexander the Great, and more.
The most famous sculptures in this gallery are the stunning Elgin marble Parthenon sculptures. Youll find these sculptures in Room 18.
If youre interested in European history, head to the British Museums European galleries. There, youll see objects dating back to Medieval Europe.
One of the most famous exhibits in this part of the museum is the Lewis Chessman set. These 82 chess pieces date back to the twelfth century, and theyre made out of walrus ivory and whale tooth.
The European rooms also feature antique clocks and watches, Italian Renaissance-inspired vases, and twentieth century Art Nouveau pieces.
You can also learn more about Middle Eastern history in the Middle Eastern galleries. These galleries include pieces from Ancient Iran, Ancient South Arabia, and Mesopotamia.
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Sutton Hoo Mask And Ship Burial Collection
Location: Room 41 Upper Floor
Discovered in 1939, the Anglo-Saxon artefacts discovered at Sutton Hoo are perhaps the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in Britain. The Sutton Hoo collection includes this incredible and iconic ornate mask as well as hundreds of other items found well preserved over 1,500 years in 20 burial mounds.
A guided tour of the Ancient Britain section of the British Museum inspired our visit to the site of Sutton Hoo in Suffolk north of London.
Europe And Britain Gallery
Upper floor, Room 49 and Room 41
Frequently, when we refer to ancient civilisations, we are in awe of how much they accomplished and how artistic they were. Britain and Europe are often overlooked in comparison, but the European continent has much to offer, even if the artefacts are slightly more modern than those from the old world.
A great example is the Roman Empire, which at one point stretched all the way to the British Isles. There are various artefacts found across the country linked with the Romans, including jewellery, weapons, tiles, and much more.
The Mildenhall treasure is a prime example of how skilled and artistic the Romans were in the 4th century AD. The treasure consists of about 34 individual pieces, including silver bowls, spoons, and a great dish. The details on the great dish show different Roman Gods, such as Bacchus and Neptune, accompanied by other mythological creatures.
The artefacts were unearthed during WW2 and declared a treasure trove by the British Museum in 1946.
Sutton Hoo Treasure
Another fascinating find occurred in 1939 in Suffolk, when amateur archaeologist Basil Brown uncovered the famous Sutton Hoo treasure.
Under a large mound of earth, he discovered a ship containing many other pieces, including coins, parts of armour, weapons, and more. The Sutton Hoo Ship burial is believed to be the final resting place of Raedwald, an Anglo Saxon King. He died in 624, his body is thought to have been dissolved by the acidic soil.
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Can You See The British Museum In An Hour
Yes. Entry to the British Museum is free so there are no ticket queues. However, these days, its advisable to also plan time to pass through a security check prior to entering the museum . We arrived 15 minutes before the museum opened on a Sunday and sped right through but there were substantial queues when we left a few hours later.
Its layout is conducive to touring highlights in an hour, though I would strongly recommend at least two inside.
As you walk in, there are a couple of large Information Desks with free floor plan maps in many languages. Many of the objects highlighted here are already highlighted on the maps, too.
What are your best tips for visiting the British Museum with kids or without?