The world's oldest museum has no fewer than 6 million items spanning 1.8 million years of world civilization. The collection was started with the bequest of a physician and antiquarian, Sir Hans Sloane, in 1753. In the 18th and 19th centuries travellers and emissaries, such as Captain James Cook, Lord Elgin, Lord Curzon and Charles Townley, added treasures from around the world. The present, Classical style building was completed around 1850. In 2000 the central courtyard was opened as a new public space, the Great Court.
There are three cafes and one restaurant. Picnics can be eaten in the forecourt by the main entrance.
Highlights' tours give an introduction to the collection. The British Museum shop sells reproduction artifacts.
Open 10am-5:30pm daily (selected galleries 10am-8:30pm Thu & Fri).
Great Court: Open 9am-6pm Sun-Wed, 9am-11pm Thu-Sat.
Guided tours at 10:30am, 1pm & 3pm daily.
Location: Great Russell Street, WC1, 020 7323 8000, www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk.