An Alternative End to the Week

Many people in London, after a long week in the office, look forward to a Friday night as it symbolises the start of the weekend and often the opportunity arises to meet with friends, family or colleagues for an evening in a lively nightspot or a chic restaurant to laugh away the stresses that may have been encountered throughout the week.  Sometimes, however, it is possible to enjoy some alternative evening entertainment at the end of the week and many attractions in London are open later on a Friday to provide this opportunity. A number of trading stands located throughout the city include guides to local attractions, both in and around London, showing a wide selection of places to visit whether looking for a modern, cultural or historical outing.

Picking up your guide to the British Museum London from one of these stands will inform you of the Friday late opening of the British Museum, the perfect chance to do something different alone or in a group.


The British Museum, London

Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first public museum in the world and since it opened has provided free admission for all, making it a very cost-effective attraction. Millions of studious and curious visitors flock through the doors of the British Museum daily to see the vast collection of world art and artefacts that are housed in the Museum from all areas of the globe. Every Friday (except Good Friday) the British Museum is open late until 20:30 with spotlight tours being provided by volunteers at various displays throughout the Museum.

  • The Parthenon spotlight tour – this tour begins in room 18 where you can meet you guide and they will present you with a thorough history of the Greek Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena, and in room 18 there is an exhibition of original sculptures that once decorated the Parthenon of Athens. There are video displays explaining how these sculptures were placed on the temple, pieces of architecture and fragments of the original building and there is also a touch tour that includes a model and plaster casts of original architecture for visually impaired visitors.
  • The Rosetta stone spotlight tour – on display in the Egyptian sculpture room 4 is the Rosetta stone, a valuable key for the decipherment of hieroglyphics used in 196 BC. On the Rosetta stone there is an inscription of the decree passed by a priest council affirming the royal cult of the 13 year old Ptolemy V on the 1st anniversary of his coronation. The Rosetta stone inscription is one of a series of inscriptions.
  • The Enlightenment spotlight tour – in room 1 of the British Museum, you can meet your guide who will show you around the enlightenment room and the objects on display that provide an introduction to the museum and its collections. The items in this exhibition are split into 7 sections demonstrating how British people understood the world they lived in in 1680 – 1820. The sections of the enlightenment room are; Religion and Ritual, Trade and Discovery, the Birth of Archaeology, Art and Civilisation, Classifying the World, Ancient Scripts and the Natural World.
  • Death in Egypt spotlight tour – this tour is in room 64 of the British Museum and is an exhibition of death and afterlife for the ancient Egyptians. Objects including mummies, coffins, funerary masks, portraits and other items designed to be buried with the deceased show the extensive funeral preparations the Egyptians believed had to be completed to ensure the transition from earth to immortality.

The 4 above spotlight tours are all free of charge and last approximately 20 minutes each and are suitable for all levels of knowledge as all the information regarding the artefacts is clearly explained.  Many of the museum galleries are also open late on a Friday for you to explore at your own leisure.

As well as these organised tours there are various exhibitions displayed throughout the yearly calendar that can be booked to view in advance. These special exhibitions are free to museum members but have a cost for tickets to non-members and entry to the exhibitions are by ticket only. The costs are reasonable and worth the price as the exhibits are fascinating to see.  Some of these special exhibitions to be displayed include:

  • Ancient Lives, New Discoveries – eight mummies, eight stories
  • The BP exhibition – Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation
  • Drawing in Silver and Gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns
  • Celts: Art and Identity

These exhibitions are also open late on a Friday to make for a more interesting evening.

The Option to dine in the Great Court Restaurant under the magnificent roof of the Great Court is a great end to the evening and you can also choose from an exhibition-inspired menu that is exclusive depending on what special exhibition is on display.  This restaurant is open until 20:00 on a Friday and so is the Court café which offers something different to a full menu and provides the option of a quick snack or coffee including sandwiches, salads and cakes.

So all in all, an alternative Friday night at the British Museum can provide and interesting and educational end to the week, with a dining option amongst the world’s history.

If you are on a city break in London and are staying in accommodation in Piccadilly a short distance away from the British Museum then there are also other attractions and things-to-do that are open later on a Friday night and throughout the weekend that you can enjoy as alternative entertainment, such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, Piccadilly Theatre and a coach tour that takes you around the landmarks of London to see them lit up at night showing the city in a whole new light.

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