The British Museum
One of the Greatest Museums in the World. Discover the Ancient Civilisations, Art and Culture
The British Museum
The world’s first national and secular museum, the British Museum, records human civilisations and achievement. This giant temple of culture houses no less than eight million items, making this assemblage of treasures one of the biggest and most comprehensive on earth.
Where do you start? That is what we are here for, helping you manage your time effectively while on vacation. If the prospect of a full-on Guided Tour of the British Museum seems too much, please consider an Expertly Guided Tour of the British Museum as part of our Art and Cultural tour of London. We offer a brief insight tour as part of a Family Tour of London. Your Tour Guide will hit the famous galleries, such as the Rosetta Stone and mummies of ancient Egypt. In any event, we can customise a private tour of London for you.
Founded in 1753 and opened its doors in 1759, the museum marked a change in the access of knowledge. Free entrance allowed people with little or no education the opportunity to change that, and learn, discover and experience the world in one place. Come and learn about the treasures of the British Museum with your private tour guide.
Emporium of the World
Explore histories great civilisations
The Great Court
The first wow factor your will experience is the Great Court. It is astonishing to learn that the Great Court was once a damp courtyard open to the elements. Large doses of funding enabled creating the vast glass roof producing the most extensive glass-covered area in Europe; it is a fantastic engineering piece.
The collection once included natural history objects and the gigantic The British Library; there was not enough space. Those two parts of the original museum moved to their purpose-built structures at The Natural History Museum and The British Library, London. What remains is a vast array of monumental temples, gold, tiffany glass, Roman silver, massive sculptures, Peruvian pottery, Eskimo snow spectacles and world-famous treasures. Touring the British Museum is a real archaeological adventure.
Highlights: The Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone is a slab of granite with three neatly carved bands of different text. Napoleon’s troops discovered it in 1799 after they invaded Egypt. It became a British possession after the ‘Battle of the Nile’.
The three text bands included Egyptian hieroglyphs; the ability to read had been long forgotten, Demotic, a popular everyday Egyptian script, and the bottom Greek. The two decipherable sections were a translation of the mysterious hieroglyphs. The stone slab is the key to understanding the high-brow hieroglyphic writing and reading all the other monuments with this priestly text.
It took scholars nearly 20 years to decipher the hieroglyphs. The French language genius Jean Champollion is credited with the most important discoveries of the language. See the artefacts and hear the story with on a private tour of the British Museum.
Highlights: Elgin Marbles
The ‘Elgin Marbles’ are the Greek sculpture that once decorated the Parthenon Temple in Athens. There is mounting pressure to return the items to the Greek Government. Here is the background story; When Lord Elgin arrived in Constantinople in 1799 Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire, Athens was a backwater, in fact so much so, it was 43rd city of the Empire. Lord Elgin, as a foreign diplomat, toured the region and admired the antiquities, the Parthenon sculpture included. Locals were crushing the marble statues and using the material to make cement and build houses.
To save the precious decorations; Lord Elgin obtained a license from the Imperial Ottoman Government and paid for their removal and shipped them to England; the journey bankrupted Lord Elgin. The decorative elements of Parthenon seen in the British Museum today are sublime and admired globally.
Highlights: Egyptian Galleries
There is a deep fascination with the afterlife, and you cannot fail to be impressed by the lengths the ancient Egyptians went to preserve the human body, in an attempt to have their corpses revived somehow in the afterlife.
In these galleries, you will learn from your tour guide the recipe for mummification, the 70-day process of ritual, drying and wrapping in linen. The older method involved drying the body quickly using hot sand; remarkably, the museum has a human body preserved this way, called ‘Ginger’. Discover the story of ginger with your guide.
Now we travel to ancient Assyria, in modern-day Iraq. The Assyrian Empire was enormous and at one point and covered most the middle east. The Assyrian’s built large cities and beautiful palaces. The heaviest items in the museum are two giant Winged Bulls, magical figures standing guard at the palace entrance. They have human heads of wisdom, enormous wings for speed and bulls body’s for strength. Learn about the story of their journey to England and take a close look at the old text curved on them; it is known as cuneiform and could be an older form of writing than hieroglyphs.
To understand and enjoy the museum, we will book a guide based on your knowledge, time available and whether a child-friendly tour may work for you. Even our professor tour guides can be an advantage when touring with young children or students. Our customisable Art and Cultural Tour of London includes the best museums in London.
Touring and accommodation
The best places to stay in London are Mayfair, St James, and the Royal Borough of Kensington. If you are considering day tours from London, staying further west in Kensington makes sense. Harrods and Hyde Park are close. Staying in Mayfair and St James will give you easy access to Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and high-end shops. The theatre district called the ‘West End’ is a short hop too. Here is our recommended collection of the Best Four and Five-Star Hotel in London.
If this is your first time to England, we would recommend a custom version of your Town and Country Tour; it covers the famous places and allows you to utilise your private driver-guide by getting-off-the-beaten-path. Our Classic tour of Ireland is a good place to start for the first trip to Ireland, and we suggest the Classic tour of Scotland for your first trip to the bonny Highlands. Merging Wales with England makes for a dynamic experience of mountains, stately homes and cosy country pubs.
Discover the Civilisations of the World
Travel in Time and Place on a Guided Tour of the British Museum
- VIP Guided Tours Available
- One of Greatest Museums in the World
- See the Rosetta Stone
- See the Elgin Marbles
- See the Egyptian Galleries
- Expert Guides Available
The British Museum, Great Court
Sutton Hoo Helmet 6th Century
Assyrian Sculpture Circa 700bc
Gold Celtic Jewellery Pre-Roman
Help us make your trip exceptional
Our UK, EU and US office-based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.
Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.
We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.
We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.