With about five million visitors each year, the British Museum is without any doubt London’s most important tourist attraction. It is very close to Russell square, not too far from the National Gallery. It was founded back in 1753 and opened for the public for free 6 years later. The collection has grown considerably during the years, basically as a result of British Imperialism. Today it covers a huge period of history (over 7000 years): ancient Egyptians, Greeks, China, Middle Age…and the list goes on.
The Roman Collection – Source: www.londontown.com
The place is huge so you have different options when visiting; the entrance is free, just like the National Gallery you pay for the extras (such as the iPad tours) and the temporary expositions, which are generally worth the little supplement. You can reserve a couple of hours and have a general view or stay there the whole day (it opens from 10.oo A.M. to 5.00 P.M.) and have lunch inside, the restaurant has very reasonable prices. You can also make some focused visits, depending on what interests you the most; there are 15 free tours of individual galleries per day (eyeOpener tours) and Highlight tours (paid separately).
Of course it’s always busy, but if you want a little more time to browse at leisure, try to pick an “off-time” when school groups likely won’t be there. This avoids the general frustration that comes when you visit such a musuem. You can spend hours there and probably not see everything. If you like taking pictures, take a spare battery with you, because you will need it. You definitely should not miss Rosetta’s stone (the key to ancient Egypt’s writing system) and the Bust of Ramesses the great on the ground floor, while on the upper floor do not forget to check the Egyptian mummies and different artifacts from Anglosaxon England.
Rosetta’s Stone – Source: www.britishmuseum.org
If visiting with children it might get more complicated, since they tend to get tired pretty quickly. You might want to cut your visit in two days, check our what they like the most or hire the activity packs for each area. It is basically a backpack of the area of your choice with different activities inside for the kids to follow. They ask a ten pounds deposit. The museum encourages the parents with small children to bring their strollers in and use it during your visit. It would make your time much easier.
The museum is always crowded, but you can avoid the peak hours, especially when the students are visiting in groups. If you wish, you can hire a guide throughout the collection:
Please check with your Bicentennial Concierge for further information.