British Museum

The light and airy space of the British Museum’s Great Court, UK
The light and airy space of the British Museum’s Great Court, UK


LOCATION The British Museum is in the Bloomsbury district of central London, England


First opened to the public 1759; Great Court reopened 2000


(4°C); Apr: 50°F (10°C); Jul: 64°F (18°C); Oct: 52°F (11°C)

Although it is not technically a dome, the British Museum’s Great Court, with its spectacular glass roof, is a magnificent interior space. Hidden since 1857, it was opened again in December 2000, following extensive redesign by British architect Norman Foster and the transfer of the museum’s library collection to the new British Library premises at St Pancras. It now constitutes the largest covered square in Europe. A new south portico, pierced by three portals, leads visitors into the enormous court, at the center of which is Sydney Smirke’s round Reading Room, restored to its 1857 decorative style. The elaborately constructed roof is made up of 315 tons of glass, held together by 478 tons of steel.

Practical Information

Getting There and Around Travel into the city center by train or tube from one of London’s airports, or by international rail from Europe to London St. Pancras. The museum is easily accessible by bus or tube. The nearest tube stations are Holborn and Tottenham Court Road.

When to Go Open all year but check and book ahead for major exhibitions.

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