The British Museum is one of the largest museums in the world, comparable only to the Louvre in Paris and the Met in New York. Established around 1750, the British Museum originated with Sir Hans Sloane's 'Cabinet of Curiosities' which he donated to the nation. It's now London's most visited attraction with over seven million objects and a wealth of world history - from Egyptian mummies to Roman sculptures, the Greek Parthenon marbles and the Persian Oxus Treasure (thanks to the British Empire's history of conquering distant countries - there is ongoing controversy about whether some of these treasures should now be returned to where they came from).
But this is no dull, dusty cupboard of old bits and pieces. The British Museum has a wide-ranging program of talks, films, family events, activities for kids, cafes and an excellent shop. The museum is housed in an imposing Greek Revival building dating from the 1850s. In 2000, the space was increased when the wonderful Lord Foster-designed glass and steel courtyard was created. In the heart of this is the famous Reading Room - once home to the British Library - where Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto.
Located in Bloomsbury, the cultural heart of London, the British Museum is easily reached by bus or tube. Tottenham Court Road and Holborn are the nearest tube stations. The courtyard is the nerve-center of the museum and from here you can set off on a series of tours exploring different parts of the collection. Allow plenty of time and wear comfortable shoes. There's so much to see here, you might want to schedule more than one visit.
Address: Great Russell Street, London
Hours: Open daily 10am - 5:30pm