The British Museum
One of the largest museums in the world, the British Museum is a treasure trove of artefacts from civilizations across the globe and across history, from Ancient Egyptian mummies to Ancient Aztec turquoise masks.
The British Museum was originally founded by Sir Hans Sloane in the 18th century, developed and extended from that period to the present day as the British Empire expanded across the world. It now houses over eight million artefacts. Free to enter, the British Museum is often held up as one of the UK’s most beloved institutions and contains objects from nearly every major human civilization to exist on the planet. If you’re pressed for time there are a handful of objects you’ll absolutely need to see, including the Rosetta Stone, which was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the Elgin Marbles, originally a part of the Temple of Parthenon in Athens.
Set in the heart of Bloomsbury, the British Museum is within close distance of the University of London, including University College London, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Birkbeck College and the striking Senate House building. Bloomsbury is renowned for its intellectual and cultural heritage and was famously home to a number of writers and thinkers, including Virginia Woolf and George Orwell, who loved to visit the many pubs in the area. A short walk through Bloomsbury will take you to Euston Road, where you’ll find the British Library, the largest library in the world in terms of catalogued items.
Oxford Street and Regent Street
If you’re after some retail therapy, the British Museum is within easy reach of the cosmopolitan shopping area surrounding Oxford Street and Regent Street. All the main high street shops from Primark to H&M can be found on Oxford Street, while Regent Street and Carnaby Street boast a number of excellent high-end boutiques and tailors. If you continue to walk down Regent Street you’ll find yourself in Piccadilly Circus, with its famous neon signs and video displays, leading to Shaftsbury Avenue and the theatres of the West End.
Places to stay
Bloomsbury is a charming and leafy place to stay, close to nearly all of London’s main attractions. There’s a variety of accommodation options near the British Museum, from luxury hotels overlooking Russell Square to elegant rooms in Euston. And if you’re travelling on a budget, there are plenty of cheap hotels within easy walking distance.
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