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Visiting the British Museum and the British Library

The tour of the British Museum that RS suggests is about 2 hours in length. The museum website indicates that they offer a "Blue Guide" tour that is 90 minutes long, cost is 8 GBp. The cost is not a concern. We are taking our kids (12 and 16). They can't wait to go see items they have learned about. Is this tour worth going on? How much time would you actually plan for seeing the highlights of the museum indicated in the RS London book?

As for the British Library, how much time would you plan for seeing the exhibition gallaries? We want to see the Magna Carta (I understand one of them is off display right now)and items shown on the map on p.213 of the London book (2007). RS says it takes an hour, is that reasonable?

We have a train leaving from Kings Cross between 12 and 2 (will get tickets in 3 weeks when they become available). Can either of these sites be reasonably done prior to our train?

Thanks for you help,

Posted by
1353 posts

Kevin, the British museum is amazing, and would be a great place to take your kids, but if you are trying to do either the library or the british museum before noon I would say the Library would be your best bet. It's pretty easy to see the highlights at the Library in an hour or so, but I wouldn't try to do the British museum in a morning. If I remember correctly it opens at 10. It will take a few minutes to get in and oriented, and to get an audio guide which I highly recommend. You would feel overwhelmed and rushed trying to see the museum and get to a train by noon.

The good news is that the highlights at the Library are pretty amazing.

Posted by
55 posts

The British Library could be done in an hour and still be enjoyed but you will need longer even than the 2 hours that Rick recommends for his British Museum tour especially as the kids are so excited about it. I would say from 10am to 2pm , with lunch in the Great Court included , should be good.

Posted by
7 posts

I agree that you will need to spend more time at the British Museum. It's incredible. My boys have been there several times on 5 different trips and still can't get enough of it. They offer amazing tours (the Rosetta Stone tour is awesome) and hands on desks for youths. My kids also have enjoyed the Library treasure room and highlights. You can do that fairly quickly, an hour or so. After thinking about this, I'm pumped---we fly out for London Monday!

Posted by
61 posts

In my experience, Rick's tour book tours often under estimate the time needed. But, they are designed to only hit the highlights and move on, and I like to savor a bit more.

Personally, we could have stayed an entire day in the British Museum. It's amazing and the kids will love it, if they don't get too tired! We did an audio guided tour and it was great.

The British Library will not take too long. One hour there was plenty. But, they had a really good cafeteria, so if you did the British Museum first, move on to the Library you could finish with lunch at the Library.