13 million pieces of culture, art and history are held in this extraordinary museum, where architecture, cultures and exploration all collide spectacularly. The British Museum is one of the most well thought out, carefully presented and pretty museums I have ever visited, and just like the Natural History Museum, the majority of it is free, and great to include on a cheaper London visit.
The Great Court is probably the most famous of the sections in the British Museum, and the iconic tessellated lattice ceiling that hangs over the huge internal courtyard that surrounds the Reading Room is my favourite part. This courtyard is actually the largest covered courtyard in Europe at the moment! You can find Egyptian statues and Roman busts sharing galleries, as well as 19th Century totem poles from the wilderness of North America and Anglo-Saxon memorial stones. Everything, from everywhere, from every time period - that's how I would summarise the British Museum.
The British Museum is certainly not a museum focused on British history, but instead was founded as a universal museum, to celebrate cultures from all over the world. You can find pieces from every culture possible, past and present. I think it's the type of place that's impossible to truly appreciate in one visit. By the time you have spent four hours wandering through history and exhibits, you are more than likely half exhausted, and more than likely only half way through the museum. I visited the museum two days consecutively, and was able to enjoy each of the parts that I saw without being too overwhelmed.
Happily, the museum is surrounded by some of my favourite of London's little gardens, namely Russell Square, Bloomsbury Square Garden and Bedford Square Garden. I so so wish there was more of these types of gardens in London. There are a lot, but more would be even better! With these gardens London can feel natural, and beautiful, whereas at times it can feel a bit concrete and grey.
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