A tour group looking at lintel carvings in the Mexico gallery.

Eye-opener tours

Tour information

All tours run daily.

See upcoming eye-opener tours for times.

Free

Book a general admission ticket and drop in.

Recommended for adults, though children are welcome.

Join a volunteer guide on one of our free eye-opener tours bringing you closer to the collection.

Taking place across the Museum, eye-opener tours provide a general introduction to different parts of the collection through a selection of fascinating objects. Choose from a number of tours, including the civilisations of Mesopotamia, the Islamic world, and Medieval Europe.

How to join an eye-opener tour:

  • Our volunteer-led eye-opener tours are free, just book a general admission ticket and drop in. Tours last 30–40 minutes.
  • See upcoming eye-opener tours for when and where they start. Look out for signs in the gallery too.
  • These tours are generally limited to 15 places per session, depending on the Museum location. Please arrive early at the meeting point to secure a space.
  • These tours are subject to cancellation. Ask at the Information Desk in the Great Court if unsure. 
  • To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit, face coverings are recommended for the protection of yourself and others, unless you’re exempt. Please be considerate of people and exercise social distancing where you can – especially in smaller spaces. Hand sanitiser stations can be found throughout the Museum and we recommend washing or sanitising your hands regularly. See the Visit page for more information.
  • Please do not visit if you feel unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • All measures are subject to change in accordance with government guidelines and Museum regulations.

Eye-opener tours

Tour starts: 11.15
A visitor looking at objects in Room 92

Japan

Meeting point: Room 92
Discover some of the ways continuity and change have shaped Japan's past and present through a selection of beautiful Japanese artworks and artefacts.

Tour starts: 11.30
Visitors discuss the artefacts in Room 17

The ancient Greek world

Meeting point: Room 17
Appreciate the achievements of the ancient Greek world through remarkable sculptures, ceramics and metalwork. Enjoy some of the highlights of the Museum's collection, including the Nereid Monument, a tomb built around 380 BC for Erbinna, a ruler of Lycia (now southwestern Turkey).

Tour starts: 11.45
A group looking at sculptures on display in a gallery.

Ancient Iraq

Meeting point: Room 56
Explore the civilisations of Mesopotamia, a region that saw the development of agriculture, the first large cities and some of the earliest writing.

Tour starts: 12.00
Inside Room 25 the Africa galleries at the British Museum.

Africa

Meeting point: Room 24
Learn about the diverse societies of Africa, past and present. This tour includes objects from various historical periods and from across the continent. It also features several works by leading contemporary artists. 

Tour starts: 12.15
Mother and daughter in Room 33

China

Meeting point: Room 33
China is one of the world's oldest civilisations. Join a tour in The Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery to examine how China has produced a highly distinctive culture, with extraordinarily high quality jade, silk and ceramics and a famous painting tradition that developed in parallel with its calligraphy.

Tour starts: 12.30
Young visitor viewing the displays in the Enlightenment gallery.

Enlightenment

Meeting point: Room 1
Join our volunteer guide in the oldest room in the Museum and investigate the 18th century, an era of new knowledge, scientific discovery, expanding trade and European colonialism.

Tour starts: 12.45
A tour group looking at lintel carvings in the Mexico gallery.

Mexico

Meeting point: Room 24
Explore the distinctive regional cultures, including the Olmec, Maya, Aztec and Mixtec, that flourished in Mexico from about 2000 BC up to the time of European contact in the 1500s.

Tour starts: 13.00
A visitor viewing a limestone Dome-slab early Buddhist sculptures from Amaravati depicting The Great Departure of Prince Siddhartha

South Asia

Meeting point: Room 33
Join our volunteer guide to explore South Asia's long history and diverse cultures. This tour includes a range of fascinating topics, from the Great Shrine of Amaravati through to traditional painted scrolls. 

Tour starts: 13.30
Visitors in room 49 looking into the display cases

Gods and goddesses of Roman Britain

Meeting point: Room 49
Explore daily life in Roman Britain (AD 43–410) through a tour that focuses on objects related to gods and goddesses. You will see spectacular silverware, a treasure hoard and a floor mosaic with an early depiction of Jesus Christ. 

Tour starts: 13.45
Visitors studying the wall reliefs from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II in Rooms 7–8

Assyria

Meeting point: Room 7
The Assyrian empire originated in the northern region of present-day Iraq. Discover the spectacular sculptures that adorned King Ashurnasirpal II’s magnificent Northwest Palace at Nimrud (near modern Mosul).

Tour starts: 14.00
Seven visitors on a tour in the Islamic World Gallery.

Islamic world

Meeting point: Room 41
Explore diverse highlights from the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world, ranging from West Africa to Southeast Asia from about 600 to the present day.

Tour starts: 14.15
A visitor looking at prehistoric coins

World of money

Meeting point: Room 68
Uncover the fascinating history of money from its origins over 4,000 years ago. This tour includes the first coins and paper currency, and ranges from shell money to mobile phone payments.

Tour starts: 14.30
Visitor observing a decorated jar in Room 64. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Ancient Egypt

Meeting point: Room 64
Discover how ancient Egyptian people lived and explore their beliefs about the afterlife. 
Please note: this tour visits displays that include human remains. The British Museum is committed to curating human remains with care, respect and dignity. Find out more about our principles governing the holding, display and study of human remains.

Tour starts: 14.45
Woman looking at the Lewis Chessmen on a red and white chessboard.

Medieval Europe

Meeting point: Room 41
Join our volunteer guide to explore the medieval period through art and archaeology. This tour includes some of the world's greatest medieval treasures, including the Sutton Hoo helmet and the Lewis chessmen. 

Tour starts: 15.15
A visitor photographing himself next to a bust in room 70

Ancient Rome

Meeting point: Room 70
Find out about Rome's extraordinary growth from a small town on the Palatine Hill into a great city controlling an empire that stretched from Spain to Syria and Britain to North Africa.

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