Start the tour inside the magnificent Great Court at the British Museum
near Russell Square and Holborn tube stations. Designed by Foster + Partners, this two-acre space – enclosed by an enormous glass ceiling – was opened in 2000 and is the largest covered public square in Europe. In Robert Smirke’s original design for the museum, he had wanted the area to be a garden – but the space was lost in the 1850s when the Reading Room and a number of bookstacks were built to house the museum’s library department. It was only in 1997, when the library was moved to British Library building in St Pancras (a 20-minute walk away, if you have time), that plans were put in place to re-open the court to the public.