Five visitors on a morning tour in the Enlightenment gallery.

Out-of-hours tours

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)

Our volunteer-led out-of-hours tours allow you to experience the highlights of the collection in private.

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 with an out-of-hours tour.

  • 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 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.

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Galleries on this tour

A visitor looking up at a statue in the Enlightenment Gallery from below

Enlightenment gallery (Room 1)

In this gallery, you can explore the Enlightenment – an age of reason and learning that flourished across Europe and America from about 1680 to 1820. 

Yellow vase with narrow neck, decoration in blue.

Collecting the world (Room 2)

This room celebrates some of the collectors who, in different ways, have shaped the British Museum over four centuries, along with individuals and organisations who continue to shape its future.

Hippocamp pendant made of gold, emerald, enamel, pearl.

The Waddesdon Bequest (Room 2a)

The Waddesdon Bequest is a collection of exceptionally important medieval and Renaissance pieces, as well as a number of 19th-century fakes. Together, they paint a fascinating picture of the development of the art market in the late 19th century.


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.

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Gallery on this tour

Bust of Pharaoh in the Egyptian sculpture gallery, lit up.

Egyptian sculpture gallery (Room 4)

From the golden age of the Fourth Dynasty to the fall of the empire, travel back through 3,000 years of Egyptian history and come face-to-face with the Rosetta Stone and the Statue of Ramesses II.

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.

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Gallery on this tour

Red and blue jar with lid and yellow dragon open mouthed travelling across.

Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia (Room 33)

This gallery, which reopened after a major refurbishment in 2017, explores the cultures of China and South Asia through a range of magnificent objects.

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.

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Galleries on this tour

Gold goblet

Greece: Mycenaeans (Room 12b)

The Mycenaean period of the later Greek Bronze Age was viewed by the Greeks as the 'age of heroes' and perhaps provides the historical background to many of the stories told in later Greek mythology, including Homer's epics.

Greek relief panel from the Harpy Tomb, 470BC – 460BC.

Athens and Lycia (Room 15)

Following the defeat of the Persian invasion of Greece in 480BC–479BC, democratic Athens built up a powerful maritime empire. In an age of prosperity, Athenian artists flourished and Athens' distinctive painted pottery was exported all over the Mediterranean world.

Statue sitting and leaning back, naked, hands and legs removed.

Greece: Parthenon (Room 18)

The Parthenon was built as a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. It was the centrepiece of an ambitious building programme on the Acropolis of Athens.