Sometimes you forget about the treasures you have on your own doorstep. Living in London, it is so easy to do that. There is so much to do, so much to see and the most amazing treasures all over.
The British Museum is one such treasure.
It has been up at least 15 years since I last went there, seeing it as the place that a tourist may visit and there was no need to swing by again. How wrong I was.
We decided to have a “cultural” day out one Sunday and the British Museum came up as an option. And what a great outing it ended up being.
The British Museum was founded right back in 1753 and is located in the centre of London, not far from the bustling Oxford Street and easy walking distance from Tottenham Court Tube. Like all museums in the UK, entry is free although they encourage a donation of £5 via donation boxes dotted around the entrance and through the museum.
The museum is housed in a large and very impressive looking building with long columns. But it is inside that there is a real wow factor. The buildings are dramatic, imposing and a startling mix of old and new effects. There is a huge glass roof covering what must have been an open courtyard the museum buildings faced into. There is a modern central structure and then as one explores you keep coming into massive and equally bold and awe-=inspiring halls and rooms. The use of glass roofs and skylights makes the whole place bright and modern.
One thing that I found really interesting and impressive, other than the remarkable artefacts and displays was the mix of people. The museum was jam packed full the Sunday we went. It was really quite incredible how many people the museum attracts, and is a credit to the vision of the people behind the museum who have made it such an event in both structure and exhibits that they can pull so many people in. The other thing that struck me was how many young people were there, which is also impressive that they have managed to be so interesting and relevant to young people. In fact in the video tour that I made and is posted on YouTube and on the blog, people spontaneously comment about how many young people are in the museum.
There are three major attractions that are the real draw for most people, and on the real “must do” list for most people (and the video tour I did covers these):
– The Egyptian area, which includes the Rosetta stone and various busts and statues from ancient Egypt and the area. This is on the ground floor and the first stop for most people. This is a bright and very impressive area.
– The “Elgin marbles”, which are the hotly disputed freezes taken from the Parthenon in Athens that the Greeks are hungry to have returned to their origin. This is also on the 1st floor. The huge chamber these are housed in dates from the 1930s and is very stunning.
– The “Mummy” section higher up in the museum where there are caskets and mummies. This area gets very packed!
There are also audio tours that one can hire that guides you through the museum, and there are immersion and “eye opener” talks held in the different halls. Also on the website they suggest routes based on how much time you have.
Dotted around the museum are some eating places with the most popular the ones in the large hall / courtyard when you enter.
There are a number of different shops on the ground floor, some selling just postcards through to one that sells resin full size statutes for £10000, and other pricey replicas and gifts.
I was (as you can tell) very impressed and had a great time. I recommend watching the 6 minute video tour on the posting or on YouTube (click here).
You can see the many photos I took that I have on Flickr: click here
My video tour of the British Museum, watch on YouTube (click here) or on the blog post: