Last fall I visited the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum in Athens, an experience that left me both in awe and wanting more as the Greek capital only has ownership of about half of what remains from this famous site. The other half of the “Parthenon Marbles” reside in London, having been acquired by British Lord Elgin in the early 1800s and later given to the British Museum. While the actual ownership remains a highly contested hot topic today, my recent visit to London was an opportunity to see the “other half of the puzzle,” filling in the blanks of what I was so captivated by in Athens.
Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg as the British Museum calls itself “a museum of the world, for the world” (from a time when the British Empire ruled the world), with a collection that spans Africa, the Americas, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. As you can expect, the museum offers something for everyone, as well as many reasons to return time and time again.
- The Parthenon Sculptures – a personal must-see and well worth it as the collection includes pieces from one of the most iconic buildings in Ancient Greece – panes from the Parthenon frieze, metopes and an up-close-and-personal look at pediment sculptures including Demeter, Dionysus and Aphrodite
- The Rosetta Stone – while it’s also the name of a popular language learning software, the actual Rosetta Stone (which dates back to 196 B.C.) served a similar purpose as it was the key to deciphering ancient hieroglyphics thanks to the stone’s repeated text in modern Egyptian and Greek
- Admission is free – the British Museum is one of the many UK National Museums that doesn’t charge visitors to enter (although some special exhibits may require a fee), which is especially nice since it would be impossible to see the entire museum in one visit
- Other free stuff too – the museum offers free eye-opener tours throughout the day, lunchtime gallery talks and spotlight tours on Friday nights, plus you’ll also have access to free Wi-Fi in case you want to look up more info or instantly share your museum pics on social media
- The gorgeous Great Court – beautiful and bright, this central atrium space gives an impressive first impression of the British Museum and is the perfect spot to browse its gift shops, stop for a coffee break at one of its cafes or enjoy lunch at the restaurant on the upper floor