Tourist Information Guide

British History Museum in the Centre of London

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The British Museum
The British Museum
The British Museum is not easy to find - this serves to add to the visual impact as you stumble across the regal building with its lines of stone columns and buzz of crowds who flock here from around the world. I challenge you not to gasp as you enter the Great Court where light bounces off the coloured stone walls and floor through the vast glass domed ceiling. This space acts as a gateway to a rambling world of historical sociological artefacts from across the world and throughout history - everything from Egyptian mummies to drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.

On this page we'll give you an overview to the British museum you will also find details on both permanent and temporary exhibitions and tour options and shops. You will find out how to get to the gallery, parking, ticket prices, opening times and places to eat in and around the museum and places to stay nearby.

What to expect at the British History Museum and what makes it special

The British Museum houses more than seven million artefacts that relate to sociological history around the world. Marble columns from the Parthenon to Grecian vases. Throughout history it has acted as a symbol of Britain's colonial successes.

The Great Court of the British Museum
The Great Court of the British Museum

The museum's Great Court that was redeveloped in 2001 offers a stunning setting - the space has a donut-shaped domed glass ceiling with latticed steel throughout. The white ceilings and white walls in the space give it an awe-inspiring other-worldly quality. The museum is a large and rambling space that stretches across four floors and approximately 35 rooms - you can while away hours here getting lost in the rooms that take you throughout history and across the world. It is famed for housing key artefacts from throughout history. These include The Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies including Cleopatra from Thebes and Amarna tablets.

Entrance to the museum is free - you can have a whole day here without spending a penny. There is an extensive programme of events that are held on a daily basis to put the historical artefacts into context. These include the likes of free specialist tours (dealing with a certain theme rather than attempting to cover the whole museum), fashion design classes and kids' sleepovers (for more details, check out the The Official British Museum 'What's On' page.

A children's activity in the British Museum
A children's activity in the British Museum

It is not always easy to figure out how to plan your trip to museum, so it is worth following the museum's advice on how to divide your time whilst you are there. If you plan on making a flying visit to the museum, check out the British Museum's Official Guide to a One Hour Trip to the Museum.

If you are planning on spending a slightly longer amount of time in the museum, see the British Museum's Guide to Visiting the Museum in Three Hours.

Also, if you are coming to the museum with the whole family, it is worth having a look at the British Museum's Guide to Objects of Interest for Children.

Multimedia Guides

There are a range of different guides available at the British History Museum, which will help you on organising your visit around the museum. With the multimedia guide you will have the opportunity to make your way around the museum in a way that suits you and to find the sections of the museum that have the areas that you are interested in.

The guide has the following characteristics:

It gives descriptions and information on over 200 objects in the museum.

There is both audio commentary and images.

The hand-held set that you will be given offers a map so that you can find your way around the gallery more easily.

Tour options include: the Pantheon sculptures, Ancient Egypt and Korea.

The language options available are: English, French, Korean, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Japanese and Mandarin.

A shop in the British Museum
A shop in the British Museum

See the Official British History Museum Website Media Guide Tours page for a guide to how to get the media guides, the prices of the guides and the times at which you can pick up the guides.


There are four different shops at the British History Museum. They are the following: Bookshop, Family Shop, Collections Shop and Culture Shop. Each shop offers a different selection of souvenirs, books and even fashion. For a guide to the shops, what they have to offer, where they are located and the Operating hours, see the Official British Museum website shops page.

Permanent collections

The British Museum is an epic space offering the opportunity to see relics, art and other specimens from throughout history. See above for advice on some of the best ways to split your time whilst you are at the museum.

The collections can be split into the following categories:

  • Leaders and rulers
  • Writing
  • Money
  • Animals
  • Same-sex desire and gender identity
  • Time

The museum does also offer the opportunity to see temporary exhibitions free of charge. These change on a regular basis and it is worth checking out what might be on during your visit. To check what is on at the time when you plan on visiting the museum, see the Official British Museum website events page.

A garden area outside the British Museum
A garden area outside the British Museum

How to get there

The British History Museum is located in the very heart of London. The nearest tube stop is Holborn. On leaving Holborn tube station turn left down High Holborn - this is the large road that sits directly outside the tube station. Keep walking until you see a street on your right called Museum Street. Walk down Museum Street until you reach a square that is directly in front of you - this is where you will find the British Museum. The journey should take you no longer than five minutes.

Tube Tube: Holborn (Red Line / Central Line and Blue Line / Piccadilly Line)

Opening times

The British History Museum is open at the following times:

Monday - Thursday: 10:00 - 17:00
Friday: 10:00 - 20:30
Saturday - Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00

For the Operating hours of the cafes and restaurants in the British History Museum see the information below on places to eat in the British History Museum.

The restaurant in the Great Court
The restaurant in the Great Court

Ticket prices

The National Portrait Gallery is free to visitors.

Places to eat

There are three options for places to eat in the British History Museum: two different cafes and a more formal restaurant. See below for details on each place to eat:

Court Restaurant

The view from the restaurant in the Great Court
The view from the restaurant in the Great Court

The Court Restaurant allows you the opportunity to sit in perhaps the stunning area of the museum. You will sit directly under the court's famous glass roof (see above for more details). It is worth booking a table in this restaurant as it can get booked up rapidly. You can come here for a formal lunch or afternoon tea.

For how to book, menus and prices, see the British History Museum Website Court Restaurant page.

Opening times:

Monday - Sunday
Lunch: 11:30 - 15:00
Afternoon tea: 11:30 - 16:00

 17:30 - 20:30

Gallery Café
The Gallery Café offers more laid back surroundings in which you can affordable and fresh food. They offer hot meals, snacks, pastries and drinks. To see the full menu, check the British History Museum Website Gallery Cafe page.

Opening times:

Month Day Time
January - December Monday - Sunday 08:30 - 18:00


An exhibition room in the British Museum
An exhibition room in the British Museum

Court cafes

Throughout the museum you will see a handful if canteen style cafes where you can grab a sandwich, salad, light meal and hot and cold drinks. There is one café in the North-East corner of the building and one in the North-West corner. For further details see the British History Museum Official Court cafes page.

Opening times:

Monday - Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00

Address and contact details

The British Museum
Great Russell Street

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7323 8181

Email: [email protected]
Website: Official British History Museum Website

Closest tube stop

The nearest tube stop to the British History Museum is:
Tube Tube: Holborn (Red Line / Central Line and Blue Line / Piccadilly Line)

Parking nearby

There is no car park directly at the British History Museum. It is also within the congestion charge zone - if you drive to the museum you will be charged a fee that must be paid for driving into the centre of London. Therefore it is a better idea to take public transport into the museum. If this is not an option for you, the closest car park to the British Museum is located at Bloomsbury Square. For details on the location and prices, see the Official British Museum website transport page

The British Museum is a place to bring the whole family, as there is something here for everybody. Have a look at what options are available to you prior to your visit and plan your trip accordingly - there is a lot to see at the museum, so to avoid getting overwhelmed it is a good idea to use the advice provided above to plan your visit. Once you have everything planned you can simply relax and soak up the history.

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