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How Much Does It Cost to Visit the British Museum?

Updated: April 2, 2024

The British Museum is free – mostly.

This post is a guide to visiting the museum and explains which exhibits are free and which require a paid ticket.

As a local walking tour guide with Free Tours by Foot London, I get asked this question a lot.

I'm also known as the Museum Guide, so this is kind of my thing.

And, in the video below, I take you on a virtual tour of the highlights of the British Museum.

How to Get There

To reach the British Museum on Great Russell Street in Central London, you can use the Tube and get off at Tottenham Court Road station. 

From Tottenham Court Road station, it's a short 5-minute walk to the museum's main entrance. 

You can also take public transport, such as bus routes 14, 24, 29, 73, 134, or 390 to get closer to the location.

If you're driving, there are paid parking spots nearby.

British Museum Opening Hours

  • Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur, Sat, Sun: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM

Last entry is at 4:00 PM, and on Fridays, it's 7:30 PM.

If you want to see everything, consider spending 2-3 hours inside the British Museum. 


This section will go into detail about all of the exhibitions and galleries you can see for free at the British Museum.

We have a separate post on the highlights of these galleries.

You won’t need to pay admission for any of these exhibits, but you can make a donation if you want to support the museum’s mission.

To visit the museum, it's best to book your free ticket in advance if you want to guarantee your free entry.

Or you can take a tour with us.

Walk-up entry doesn't guarantee you will be admitted as the museum is currently limiting the number of visitors to allow for social distancing.

That will likely change at some date, but for now, it's best to book in advance.

 Book your free tickets here. Simply pick the date and time you'd like to visit. 


  • You can book up to a maximum of eight people.
  • Once you book your tickets, they will be emailed to you. You must show your ticket at the museum so either print it or be able to show it on a device.
  • Arrive at the time stated on your ticket, as the museum can't guarantee admission before or after your allotted time slot.

Permanent Galleries

Every permanent gallery at the British Museum is entirely free to visit.

This includes exhibition areas covering art, culture, and other subjects from Africa, the Americas, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece/Rome, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

If you want to make sure the galleries of interest to you are open (they close periodically for maintenance) check here.

There are also a few areas dedicated to specific themes such as money, the Enlightenment, life and death, notable collections from around the world, and more.

These galleries are open daily from 10.00 to 17.00 (10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with an extended closing on Fridays when it stays open until 20:30 (8:30 pm).

Learn about Late Fridays at this and other London museums from our post Things to do in London at Night.

The Great Court

This is the main court of the museum, and it is where you will find things like the visitor information desk and the collections shop.

The Great Court also has a cafe that you can visit if you get thirsty or hungry during your visit to the museum.

Although there are restrooms in other areas of the building, this is probably the easiest place to find if you need to use a bathroom.

The Great Court is open daily from 10.00–17.00 (10 am - 5 pm) with extended closing on Friday nights at 20:30 (8:30 pm).

Free Limited Exhibitions/Displays

Some of the limited exhibits and displays offered at the British Museum are actually free for all visitors.

These attractions change from one year to the next, so it will be important to check what’s on at the British Museum for more details.

  • Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors, and Heroes (until Feb 24, 2024)
  • Pharaoh: King of Egypt (until Oct 6, 2024)
  • Egyptian Hieroglyphs: Unlock the Mystery (until Feb 18, 2024)
  • Feminine power: The Fivine to the Femonic (until Aug 10, 2025)
  • Botanical Drawings by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues (until Jan 28, 2024)
  • Gesture and Line Four post-war German and Austrian artists (until Apr 1, 2024)


Temporary exhibitions at the British Museum change every few months, so it’s best to check their website for the most up-to-date list of what’s on.

These special exhibitions require tickets.


If ever there was a historic structure synonymous with London, it's Stonehenge. This exhibit has new finds as well as other objects that are on loan for the first time!

You'll see stunning gold jewelry, the Nebra Sky Disc, the world's oldest surviving map of the stars, and a well-preserved 4,000-year-old timber circle dubbed Seahenge.

An exhibit not to be missed. It runs until 17 July 2022.

Ticket Prices:

Monday - Friday

  • Adults £20/ Seniors (60+) £20/
  • Students and 16–18 years £18 (2-for-1 tickets on Fridays)/
  • Under 16 free when accompanied by an adult
  • Disabled visitors £18 (Assistant free, booking required)

Saturday and Sunday

  • Adults £22/ Seniors (60+) £22
  • Students and 16–18 years £20
  • Under 16 free when accompanied by an adult
  • Disabled visitors £20 (Assistant free, booking required)

Purchase tickets or learn more.

Feminine power: the divine to the demonic

Explore the role that goddesses, witches, and saints have played in forming our understanding of the world.

You'll see sculptures, sacred objects and art from the ancient world to today.

Ticket Prices:

Monday - Friday

  • Adults £15/ Seniors (60+) £15
  • Students and 16–18 years £13 (2-for-1 tickets on Fridays)
  • Under 16 free when accompanied by an adult
  • Disabled visitors £13 (Assistant free, booking required)

Saturday and Sunday

  • Adults £17/ Seniors (60+) £17
  • Students and 16–18 years £15
  • Under 16 free when accompanied by an adult
  • Disabled visitors £15 (Assistant free, booking required)


In addition to all the fantastic artwork on display at the British Museum, there are also some pretty fun things to do with your family.

This section will cover the kid-friendly activities available at this museum.

Samsung Digital Discovery Centre

This area of the museum includes a lot of digital equipment provided by Samsung which breathes new life into the world’s history and cultures.

Visitors can enjoy fun games on tablets, get a full 360-degree digital view of notable historic artifacts, and use technology to create a variety of art.

Although each of these activities are free, some may require a passport, national ID or driver’s license as a deposit.

Learn more about the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre.

Daily Activities

The British Museum provides a number of family-friendly activities for their fun that are available every day.

Parents who are looking for something fun to do with their kids might want to consider an activity trail, gallery backpacks, art materials (crayons, pencils, pads), or a family guide to the museum.

For more information about these activities, make sure to visit the Families Desk in the Great Court.

There are also special museum exclusive events aimed at families. Check the British Museum family event schedule for more details.


Below are the regular tours offered by the museum. We also offer our own tour on Fridays.

Daily Eye-Opener Tour

These tours run every 15 minutes between 11:00-15:45 (3:45 pm) from different areas of the museum.

The tours are completely free to follow, are held within one of the free galleries, and typically last 30-40 minutes each.

Currently, tours are limited to eight people, based on a first-come, first-served basis. Capacity will be increasing gradually over time.

Find out more information here.

Because there are so many offered throughout the day these brief, faster tours are perfect to take if you’re short on time and keen on learning more about the artifacts in a specific room.

  • Cost: Free
  • Length of tour: 30-40 minutes
  • Time of tour: Several times, daily

Spotlight Tours

These tours take place every Friday evening as an accompaniment to the late night open hours.

They last 20 minutes each and run on the hour and half hour between 17:00 and 19:00.

The topics change every Friday, but each focuses on a particular time period or theme. Click here for the weekly schedule of Spotlight Tours.

  • Cost: Free
  • Length of tour: 20 minutes
  • Time of tour: Friday evenings

Around the World in 70 Minutes

This is the only paid tour and you must book in advance. It's well worth it!

This signature tour covers several highlights from each of the free galleries.

Learn about the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon frieze, and the Lewis Chessmen, amongst many other things.

The tour aims to educate guests on important artifacts from various cultures around the world.  

  • Cost: £14 per person
  • Length of tour: 70 minutes
  • Tours take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11.30 and 14.00.
  • Each tour has a capacity of 8 people.
  • Recommended for adults and children aged 12+.
  • Book your place in advance online.

Desire, love, identity: an LGBTQ tour

This tour is an exploration of objects in the collection that are related to themes of desire, love and identity.

Note that this unique tour frequently books up.

Currently, the tour schedule is every day 14.30–15.40 (2:30 pm-3:40 pm) from 29 Apr 2022 - 27 May 2022.

  • Each tour lasts for around 70 minutes.
  • Tours are free but booking is strongly recommended.
  • Each tour has a capacity of 8 people.
  • Recommended for adults and children aged 12+.
  • Check the website for dates and to book your post.

Out-of-hours tours

These volunteer-led tours take place before the museum is open to the public. Groups are currently limited to 12 people.

This is a wonderful way to experience the highlights of the collection with the museum all to yourself!

Tours include introductions to British Museum, ancient Egypt, China, the ancient Greek world and Life and death in ancient Egypt.

Tours run daily from 08.50–10.00. You must book in advance.


  • £33 Adults
  • £30 Concessions: students, disabled visitors
  • £16.50 ages 5–15 years
  • Free for under 5s and disabled visitors' assistant (no booking required)
  • Book your tickets here.

Audio Guide

The British Museum also offers an audio app you can download onto your iPhone or Android to use at your own pace, even before or after your visit to the museum.

The audio app offers several self-guided tours with each exploring a theme such as Top Ten objects to ancient Egypt. Each themed tour is between £1.99 - £2.99.

The audio app covers 250 objects in the permanent galleries and is available in several different languages.

The app also features an interactive map of the museum, making it easy to navigate the many different galleries.

For a free audio tour alternative, check out the excellent Rick Steves audio guide.

Ways to Save on Admission

If you want to save money on the paid exhibits at the British Museum, there are a few different options to consider.

This section will provide details about each of the deals available on special and limited exhibits.

2 For 1 Deal

This is one of the best ways to save money on limited exhibitions that require tickets at the British Museum.

The 2 for 1 program allows visitors who use National Rail to purchase two tickets for the price of one.

All you have to do is use the rail for transportation to the museum and you’ll be eligible for the deal.

Since tickets cost between £20-£22, that is what you can expect to save on general admission using this method.

For more information, read our post covering the 2 for 1 deal in London.

National Art Pass

If you live in the UK, you might want to consider getting the National Art Pass for access to special limited exhibits.

Each of the paid exhibitions at the British Museum are included at half the cost with this museum pass.

The National Art Pass is valid for an entire year and is valid at more than 240 museums.

Prices start at £73 for adults, £45 for people under 30, £110 total for two adults at the same address and just £10 to add a child to your pass.

Become a Museum Member

Visitors who plan on going to the British Museum more than once over the course of a year may want to think about becoming a museum member. Prices start at £69 per year.

Membership is valid for an entire year, and it includes admission to all limited and special exhibits for free.

Members also receive access to exclusive lectures, tours, parties, and out-of-hours visits.

Visit on Event Days

Every now and then, the British Museum will offer deals on their paid exhibits, but only on specific dates and times.

If you want to take advantage of this deal, make sure to check what’s on at the British Museum for details about the attraction you want to see.

Use a Tourist Pass

Every now and then, some London tourist passes offer deals on temporary exhibits at the British Museum.

These services allow you to pay one flat price for a variety of different activities. If you plan on going to a lot of popular attractions, this is a great way to save money.

You can also get skip-the-line privileges at some locations, making it both faster and easier to get inside.

For more details about this opportunity, make sure to read our post covering London tourist attraction passes.

Tips From Locals and Travelers

Although we do our best to provide as much information as possible about the British Museum, there's always a chance that we might have missed something important to your decision making process.

Thankfully, we have a Facebook Group known as London Travel Tips with over 150,000 users, and they often answer questions about this and other museums in the city.

Here are a few of the more helpful comments:

This is a common question, and the reality is that it was a lot easier to do this back before the pandemic, but it's still entirely possible if you're visiting on a weekday.

The only time you'll probably have to wait in a queue for a while is during weekends. That said, many members of our group insist it's still easy to get inside on the day of your visit.

Also, while we obviously hope you'll choose to support our website, it is true that some websites will try to upsell you on things you don't want or need. All the more reason to seek the opinion of less biased travelers and locals!

If you're looking for a place to eat, it seems pretty clear that most members of our group highly recommend the restaurant inside the British Museum.

Given how much walking you'll be doing while you're here, it does make sense to save some energy and just grab a bite to eat while you're here.

Caroline offers some excellent advice, insisting that it's easier to get into the museum on busy days by using the entrance at the back.

Most people don't even realize there is another entrance, so you can usually save a lot of time by using the back entrance.

If you're visiting with kids, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • There's so much to see at the British Museum that you could spend an entire day there alone and still miss out on a lot of excellent exhibits.
  • This museum is very large, and it's not as big of a hit with children as the Natural History Museum.
  • Most people spend at least 3-4 hours wandering around this massive building, so it's unlikely you'll have the energy to see another big museum on the same day, especially with children in tow.

For more advice, make sure to check our London Travel Tips group on Facebook and consider asking a question if you still need help planning out your day at the British Museum.

About The Author

Jessica O'Neill

I'm Jessica O'Neill, and I am an expert in London's museums and culture. I love sharing my knowledge with my tour guests and my viewers on my YouTube channel, The Museum Guide. Read More... I first moved to London more than a decade ago to complete an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies at UCL, and continued my studies in memorials and contested heritage at the PhD level. I specialise in private tours of the East End, the British Museum, the National Gallery, and all kinds of oddities, medical history, and macabre history. I run the London Urban Oddities Facebook group. I hope to see you there! You can arrange a private tour with me by getting in touch with , or visiting my website at The Museum Guide.
Updated: April 2nd, 2024
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