The British Museum in central London has been named one of the most must-see places in the world by Lonely Planet.

With "the greatest treasure house of Europe" being home to around eight million items, it’s not easy picking highlights.

But here are five things that need to be seen and show why the museum was chosen for the ultimate travel list.

The Rosetta Stone

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Described as a code-cracking stone tablet that helped to unlock ancient Egyptian secrets, the Rosetta Stone is one of the most famous objects in the museum.

The piece of granite, a broken part of a bigger rock, dates back to 196 BC and was found near the village of Rosetta.

There is a written message - a decree about King Ptolemy the fifth - carved into the stone in three scripts. This has helped experts to understand the system of hieroglyphics used by Egyptians.

The Elgin Marbles

This Is Local London: Greece has laid claim to the Elgin Marbles

Around 30 per cent of the Parthenon Sculptures of ancient Greece are held at the British Museum.

The sculptures were taken to Britain by Lord Elgin, the then British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and given to the museum in 1816.

Parts of the remaining sculptures are held around the world, including at the Acropolis Museum in Athens and the Louvre in Paris.

The sculptures' presence in Britain has been the subject of controversy, with a team of London lawyers, including Amal Clooney, wife of US film star George Clooney, involved in talks with the Greek government about a potential legal bid for the works.

Anglo-Saxon burial relics

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A treasure of riches was discovered in 1939 during the excavation of an Anglo-Saxon burial mound.

Visitors can view gold coins, a sceptre, sword and shield among other objects found at Sutton Hoo in East Anglia.

Great Court

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This two-acre space covered by stunning glass roof is the largest covered public square in Europe.

It took more than a year to complete the glass and steel roof, made up of 3,312 panes of glass, all of which are different.

The space, known as Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, opened in 2000 after a £100 million project to transform the courtyard. It now houses two galleries, education facilities, and eating areas.


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Among the hundreds of mummies in the museum is a four-yard long crocodile.

Visitors can view more than 300 animal mummies, including a bull and a gazelle, and more than 120 human mummies.

While there are just over 40 mummies from Sudan, there is double that number from Egypt in the museum collection.

No mummy has been unwrapped at the museum since the 1790s.