Enlightenment Gallery

Out-of-hours tours – postponed

Ticket prices

Adults: £30
Members: £27

Children must be accompanied by a paying adult
Age under 5: free (no booking required)
Age 5–15 years: £15

Concessions (students, jobseekers, disabled visitors): £27
Disabled visitors' assistant: free (no booking required)

Out-of-hours tours are currently on hold.

We'll update this page to let you know as soon as this option becomes available again.

In the meantime, there are many ways to enjoy the British Museum from home.


About Out-of-hours tours

Experience the highlights of the collection in private with our volunteer-led out-of-hours tours.

Whether you want to navigate the history of the ancient Greeks or walk in the footsteps of pharaohs, immerse yourself in humanity's greatest civilisations without the crowds.

  • Each tour is limited to a maximum of 20 places per session.
  • Each tour begins at 09.00 and lasts for an hour, including time at the end for you to take photographs.
  • To join the tours, please come to the main entrance on Great Russell Street (WC1B 3DG) at 08.50 with your email confirmation.
  • Please note that due to essential maintenance works the North lift will be out of service from 13 January 2020 for 10 weeks. Therefore the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China will not have level or lift access.
  • Please note that wheeled cases and large items of luggage are not allowed on British Museum premises.
  • Cloakroom facilities are not available on these tours.
  • If you wish to bring a group of 10 or more people or arrange a special out-of-hours tour, please refer to our Travel trade tours page.

Advance booking essential

An introduction to the British Museum

Explore the oldest space in the Museum and discover the history of the collection in this special guided tour, before the galleries open to the public.

In Room 1 (Enlightenment) and Room 2 (Collecting the world), you can learn how the world was understood by Europeans in the 18th century. You can also trace the beginnings of the British Museum and the development of the extraordinary collection. This tour provides a wonderful introduction to the Museum before you explore other galleries in the Museum after the tour.

Galleries on this tour:

  • Enlightenment Gallery (Room 1)
  • Collecting the World (Room 2)


An introduction to ancient Egypt

Enjoy exploring one of the most iconic spaces in the Museum and discover the fascinating history of ancient Egypt in this special guided tour, before the galleries open to the public.

In the Egyptian sculpture gallery (Room 4), you can see impressive statues of kings and gods, monumental tomb architecture and ancient tomb reliefs spanning 3,000 years. These include the imposing, colossal bust of Ramesses II, the Gayer-Anderson Cat and the world-famous Rosetta Stone – the key to deciphering hieroglyphs. You can learn the importance of large-scale sculpture in ancient Egyptian temples and tombs, and get the perfect introduction to this unmissable collection.

Gallery on this tour: Egyptian Sculpture Gallery (Room 4)(Opens in new window)

An introduction to China

Journey through China's extraordinary culture in this special guided tour, before the galleries open to the public.

In the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia (Room 33), you can gain an insight into the development of Chinese civilisation, from 5000BC to the present day. This beautifully refurbished space was reopened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2017. From exquisite Ming dynasty blue and white porcelain to delicate painted handscrolls and magnificent Tang Dynasty tomb figures, this introductory tour will give you a deep appreciation for some of the magnificent objects on display.

Gallery on this tour: Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia

An introduction to ancient Greece

Embark on a guided journey through ancient Greece exploring some of the extraordinary highlights of the Museum's exceptional collection. Uncover fascinating finds from this ancient civilisation, including spectacular painted Mycenaean and Greek pottery, bronze armour and iconic works from across the Mediterranean. You'll see iconic sculptures from the Parthenon and splendid tombs from ancient Lycia in modern Turkey.

Galleries on this tour: 

  • Greece: Mycenaeans (Room 12b)
  • Athens and Lycia (Room 15)
  • Greece: Parthenon (Room 18)