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It is also home to some of Britain's most celebrated museums, including the must-see British Museum. Despite an understandable popularity with students, tourists and day trippers, vast sections of Bloomsbury retain a quiet, residential feel year round and throughout the week. Jul 01, 2021 British Museum With more than six million visitors trooping through its doors annually, the British Museum in Bloomsbury is Britain’s most visited attraction. You could spend a lifetime in this vast and hallowed collection of artefacts, art and age-old antiquity, and still make daily discoveries. Free wifi is available for all visitors to the Museum. Please connect to 'British Museum WiFi' only. You'll be required to supply your full name and email address before using the service. Free wifi is funded by the Mayor of London and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Connectivity is supported by the Daisy Group.
Enjoy the best of London's culture completely free; from the many world-class free exhibitions London has to offer, to stunning art galleries and historic houses. Entry to the permanent collections of these museums and galleries is free; while charges may apply for special exhibitions. Novation push 2.
With so many free attractions in London to explore, including many of the city’s wonderful museums and galleries, it’s no surprise London is one of the world’s capitals of culture!
Find plenty of ideas below, ranked in no particular order.
1. British Museum
Retrace the history of humankind through the British Museum’s amazing collection of artefacts from all over the world. Access to the permanent collection – including highlights such as the Rosetta Stone and Parthenon sculptures – is free.
2. National Gallery
Discover more than 2,000 paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century at the National Gallery. See works by western European masters of painting such as Da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio and Van Gogh.
3. Museum of London
The history of the city is at your feet at the Museum of London. Enjoy the interactive displays and follow the evolution of London from prehistoric times, through the Middle Ages and the Victorian era, up to the present day.
4. Royal Academy of Arts
5. Natural History Museum
Wander through the spectacular halls of the Natural History Museum, as you discover fascinating exhibits from the natural world. Marvel at dinosaur skeletons or gawp at Hope, a giant blue whale skeleton.
6. Science Museum
Experience the wonders of science first-hand with the Science Museum’s interactive displays. Showcasing more than 15,000 objects, the permanent collection includes must-see exhibits such as Amy Johnson's Gipsy Moth plane.
7. IWM London
Discover the troubled history of modern war at the Imperial War Museum. Interesting displays guide you through the stories of modern conflicts, from the First World War to the present day.
8. National Maritime Museum
Set in historic Maritime Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum showcases Britain’s naval history, from sea battles to exploratory expeditions. See ancient maps and ship models, and don’t miss the iconic uniform Nelson wore the day of the Battle of Trafalgar.
9. Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum hosts one of the greatest collections of art and design objects in the world (more than 2.3 million items, to be precise). Discover its beautiful galleries and retrace the history of creativity through fashion, furniture, sculpture, photography, jewellery and more.
10. Tate Modern
See how a power station has been transformed into London’s centre for modern and contemporary art at Tate Modern. Find world-class paintings, photographs and performance art, embrace the stunning view of the river from the gallery’s cafe, and explore the famous Turbine Hall, which has hosted large-scale installations.
11. Tate Britain
Find some of the best of British art from 1500 to today at Tate Britain, including the world’s largest collection of works by JMW Turner. Follow the Walk Through British Art rooms and see stunning paintings by Gainsborough, Whistler and Bacon.
12. Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre
Did you know London has a Roman amphitheatre? Be wowed by this ancient relic, which was found by archaeologists working on the site of the Guildhall Art Gallery in 1988. Entry to both the gallery and the amphitheatre is free.
13. Wellcome Collection
Discover what it means to be human through the Wellcome Collection’s jam-packed displays of science, medicine, life and art objects. Become immersed in a host of Insta-worthy and quirky exhibits, including those that play on the senses.
14. Queen's House
15. Sir John Soane's Museum
Explore Sir John Soane's Museum, the former home to the architect of the Bank of England. His historic house contains a wide collection of paintings, architectural drawings and antiquities, plus the original sarcophagus of Seti I.
16. Horniman Museum and Gardens
Head to the quirky Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill to encounter an eclectic collection of musical instruments, anthropology and natural history. Here, you'll find a gigantic overstuffed taxidermy walrus and a rather ugly merman, two of the weirdest things to see in London.
17. London Mithraeum
18. British Library
Delve into some of the world’s most important literary treasures at the British Library, the UK's national library. Marvel at the historic manuscripts, discover a rare example of Magna Carta and take a look at Shakespeare’s First Folio.
19. National Army Museum
Find out about Britain's army at the National Army Museum. Relive the history of the armed forces, from the British Civil Wars to the modern day, through thousands of inspiring objects in five galleries.
20. Royal Air Force Museum
Retrace the history of aviation at this fascinating London museum. With a huge amount of aircraft memorabilia under one roof, the Royal Air Force Museum gives a spectacular account of man's desire to take flight and the scientific advances to make it real.
21. The Wallace Collection
Be amazed by The Wallace Collection's precious collection of 18th-century French paintings, together with works by Titian, Canaletto and Rembrandt. The superb building, situated just off Oxford Street, is a treasure in itself.
22. Museum of London Docklands
Learn all about London’s history as a port with the Museum of London Docklands’ exhibits. The interactive displays recreate life at the height of London’s 19-century naval supremacy.
23. V&A Museum of Childhood
Visiting the V&A Museum of Childhood is like being a kid again, for one day. Discover a wide collection of childhood objects from the 1600s to the present day: toys, games, dolls and more. Closed for refurbishment until 2022
24. Bank of England Museum
25. Whitechapel Gallery
Head to the Whitechapel Gallery for cutting-edge contemporary art by emerging and renowned artists. In addition to the exciting programme of exhibitions, the gallery hosts talks, events and workshops.
26. Serpentine Galleries
In the middle of Hyde Park, the Serpentine Galleries (Serpentine Gallery and Serpentine Sackler Gallery) are two exhibition spaces devoted to displaying international contemporary art. Every summer, a new Serpentine Pavilion is set up in the Serpentine Gallery’s garden, showcasing the talent of a specific artist or architect.
For more inspiration, take a look at our guide to London's best museums, top galleries and the latest London exhibitions, ranging from art exhibitions to museum exhibitions. And make sure to keep an eye out for fun and quirky museum lates.
You'll also find more cultural events with this what's on guide and pick of things to do this weekend.
If you're looking for 'museums near me', download the Visit London app for more ideas on the go.
The British Museum is free – well, sort of. This post is a guide to visiting the museum and it explains which exhibits are free and which require a ticket.
WHAT CAN YOU SEE FOR FREE?
This section will go into detail about all of the exhibitions and galleries you can see for free at the British Museum.
You won’t need to pay admission for any of these exhibits, but you can make a donation if you want to support the museum’s mission.
Every permanent gallery at the British Museum is entirely free to visit.
This includes exhibition areas covering art, culture and other subjects from Africa, the Americas, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece/Rome, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
There are also a few areas dedicated to specific themes such as money, the enlightenment, life and death, notable collections from around the world and more.
These galleries are open from 10:00 – 17:30 (10 am – 5:30 pm) every day with an extended opening until 20:30 (8:30 pm) on Friday nights.
The Great Court
This is the main court of the museum, and it is where you will find things like the information desk and the collections shop.
The Great Court also has a cafe that you can visit if you get thirsty or hungry during your visit to the museum.
Although there are restrooms in other areas of the building, this is probably the easiest place to find if you need to use a bathroom.
The Great Court is open from 9:00 – 18:00 (9 am – 6 pm) each day with extended openings until 20:30 (8:30 pm) on Friday nights.
Some of the limited exhibits and displays offered at the British Museum are actually free for all visitors.
These attractions change from one year to the next, so it will be important to check what’s on at the British Museum for more details.
As of right now, visitors can expect exhibitions about subjects such as currency in games, postcards, Rembrandt, Captain Cook and more.
Temporary exhibitions at the British Museum change every few months, so it’s best to check their website for the most up-to-date list of what’s on.
Currently, there are two paid exhibitions on offer and 5 free limited displays.
Edvard Munch: Love and Angst
(April 11th – July 21st, 2019)
This is the largest Edvard Munch exhibition that the UK has seen in 45 years, featuring a lot of his most notable work, including displays covering his most influential piece “The Scream.”
The gallery will attempt to give visitors a look into the mind of an intriguing artist, potentially helping guests understand the inspiration for his art.
- Tuesday – Sunday: £17/Adults £14/Teens, Students, Disabled
- Monday: £14/Adults £12/Teens, Students, Disabled
- Visitors under the age of 16 get in for free
Purchase tickets or learn more.
(May 23rd – August 26th, 2019)
Discover the history of the art form known as manga, a visual narrative art similar to comics that has taken the world by storm.
This is the largest exhibition of manga art to ever be seen outside of Japan.
It includes a lot of notable pieces that tell the story of how this storytelling craft developed into a global phenomenon over the years.
- £19.50/Adults £16/Teens, Students, Disabled
- Free for visitors under the age of 16
Purchase tickets or learn more.
(April 12th – July 18th, 2019)
This free exhibit covers symbolism in art, beginning with the literary movement in France and culminating in visual arts such as the work of Edvard Munch.
Reimagining Captain Cook
(November 29th – August 4th, 2019)
Discover a side of this historical figure that is oft forgotten as the art of Pacific Islanders depicts a very different view of Captain Cook in this free gallery.
The World Exists to be Put on a Postcard
(February 7th – August 4th, 2019)
Find out how the world of postcards has changed over the years to subvert expectations and promote various political/social issues with this free exhibit.
Rembrandt: Thinking on Paper
(February 7th – August 4th, 2019)
The following free exhibition marks the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, providing a unique look at rarely seen prints and drawings that reveal the artist’s thought process.
Playing with Money
(April 18th – September 29th, 2019)
Take a look into the world of toys, modern board games and even role-playing games to discover the role of money and economics in gaming at this free exhibit.
In addition to all the fantastic artwork on display at the British Museum, there are also some pretty fun things to do with your family.
This section will cover the kid-friendly activities available at this museum.
Samsung Digital Discovery Centre
This area of the museum includes a lot of digital equipment provided by Samsung which breathes new life into the world’s history and cultures.
Visitors can enjoy fun games on tablets, get a full 360-degree digital view of notable historic artifacts, and use technology to create a variety of art.
Although each of these activities are free, some may require a passport, national ID or driver’s license as a deposit.
Learn more about the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre.
The British Museum provides a number of fun activities for families that are available every day.
Parents who are looking for something fun to do with their kids might want to consider an activity trail, gallery backpacks, art materials (crayons, pencils, pads), or a family guide to the museum.
For more information about these activities, make sure to visit the Families Desk in the Great Court.
There are also special museum events aimed at families. Check the British Museum family event schedule for more details.
PUBLIC TOURS OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM
Below are the regular tours offered by the museum. We also offer our own tour on Fridays.
Daily Eye-Opener Tour
These tours run every 15 minutes between 11:00-15:45 (3:45 pm) from different areas of the museum.
The tours are completely free to follow, are held within one of the free galleries, and typically last 30-40 minutes each.
Because there are so many offered throughout the day these brief, faster tours are perfect to take if you’re short on time and keen on learning more about the artifacts in a specific room.
- Cost: Free
- Length of tour: 30-40 minutes
- Time of tour: Several times, daily
Lunchtime Gallery Talks
The Lunchtime Gallery Talks are held on Tuesdays-Fridays at 13:15 (1:15 pm) in one of the many galleries. They last 45 minutes and range immensely.
For a full list of all the Lunchtime Gallery Talks offered, see their upcoming calendar. The talks are led by one of the museum curators or a guest speaker.
- Cost: Free
- Length of tour: 45 minutes
- Time of tour: Tuesdays-Fridays at 13:15 (1:15 pm)
These tours take place every Friday evening as an accompaniment to the late night open hours. They last 20 minutes each and run on the hour and half hour between 17:00 and 19:30.
The topics change every Friday, but each focuses on a particular time period or theme. Click here for the weekly schedule of Spotlight Tours.
- Cost: Free
- Length of tour: 20 minutes
- Time of tour: Friday evenings
Around the World in 90 Minutes
This signature tour covers several highlights from each of the free galleries.
Learn about the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon frieze, and the Lewis Chessmen, amongst many other things.
The tour aims to educate guests on important artifacts from various cultures around the world.
At 90 minutes long, this is by far the longest tour offered by the museum. It is also the only paid tour, costing £12 per person.
Book your place in advance online.
- Cost: £14 per person
- Length of tour: 90 minutes
- Time of tour: 11:30 and 14:00
VIP Early Bird Tour
If you want to visit the British Museum before it opens, this tour offers early bird access which will allow you to avoid all the crowds and see some of the most notable exhibits before everyone else.
VIP guests can expect this tour to cover subjects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Egyptian Sculpture Room, the Parthenon Marbles and many other exhibits in this museum.
Availability is very limited and group sizes are limited to just 20 people, so you should purchase tickets as soon as possible if you’re interested in this tour.
- £89/Adults, Students £79/Children
- Hours: 8:45 am – 11:30 am
- Duration: 2 ½ – 3 hours
- Purchase tickets or learn more.
Finally, the British Museum also offers an audio guide which can be picked up from the audio guide desk in the Great Court.
The guide costs £7 and is available to use until 30 minutes before closing.
Unlike the staff-led tours, the audio guide allows guests the freedom to pick which galleries or specific objects they wish to learn about.
In total, there are 260 expert commentaries that are available in several different languages.
The audio guide also features an interactive map of the museum, making it easy to navigate the many different galleries.
For a free audio tour alternative, check out the excellent Rick Steves audio guide.
If you want to save money on the paid exhibits at the British Museum, there are a few different options to consider.
This section will provide details about each of the discounts available on special and limited exhibits.
2 For 1 Deal
This is one of the best ways to save money on limited exhibitions at the British Museum.
How To See The British Museum In Four Visits Pdf Free Download Windows 10
The 2 for 1 program allows visitors who use National Rail to purchase two tickets for the price of one.
All you have to do is use the rail for transportation to the museum and you’ll be eligible for the discount.
Since tickets cost between £17-£19, that is what you can expect to save on admission using this method.
For more information, read our post covering the 2 for 1 deal in London.
National Art Pass
If you live in the UK, you might want to consider getting the National Art Pass for access to special limited exhibits.
Each of the paid exhibitions at the British Museum are included at a 50% discount with this museum pass.
The National Art Pass is valid for an entire year and it is valid at more than 240 museums.
Prices start at £70 for adults, £45 for people under 30 and £115 for families.
Become a Museum Member
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Visitors who plan on going to the British Museum more than once over the course of a year may want to think about becoming a museum member.
Membership is valid for an entire year, and it includes admission to all limited and special exhibits for free.
Members also receive access to exclusive lectures, tours, parties, and out-of-hours visits.
Prices start at £64 per year for adults and £44 for anyone under 26.
Come on a Discount Day
Every now and then, the British Museum will offer discounts on their paid exhibits, but only during specific dates and times.
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The Edvard Munch exhibition currently offers discounted prices on Mondays, allowing visitors to save at least £3 on tickets.
How To See The British Museum In Four Visits Pdf free. download full
If you want to take advantage of this deal, make sure to check what’s on at the British Museum for details about the attraction you want to see.
Use a Tourist Pass
Every now and then, some London tourist passes offer discounts on temporary exhibits at the British Museum.
These services allow you to pay one flat price for a variety of different activities. If you plan on going to a lot of popular attractions, this is a great way to save money.
You can also get skip-the-line privileges at some locations, making it both faster and easier to get inside.
For more details about this opportunity, make sure to read our post covering London tourist attraction passes.